Swan Island, Colonial Pemaquid, Railway Museum


Swan Island is a game preserve located in the Kennebec River at Richmond. Here one finds a large herd of deer as well as other animals. The island is relatively unknown to the public, and therefore quite private. On the island are a number of older homes circa 1700 with one of particular interest in which Benedict Arnold and later Aaron Burr stayed. This island was once a fairly large farming and fishing community of about thirty families. To arrange this trip contact The Department of Fish & Wildlife in Augusta....They will make arrangements with the caretaker of the island to pick up visitors at the dock in Richmond and transport them by boat to the island. The cost for the boat ride and riding tour of the island is minimal. Colonial Pemaquid, which is approximately one and one half hours ride from Richmond, offered students a chance to learn about archeological digs and visit the museum. Contact for this trip is Colonial Pemaquid, Pemaquid, Maine....Pemaquid is open during the summer months.... The cost for entrance to the museum is $.25, although State and Federally funded projects are free.

Swan Island is reached by following Maine Turnpike to the Gardiner Exit and then I-95 to the Richmond Exit and Route 197. From the south travel I-95 from Portland to the Richmond Exit and Route 197. Once your reach Richmond turn left at the bottom of the hill and the parking area is on your right a few feet along the road.

We spent about four hours at Swan Island touring and picnicking. Students saw deer, ducks and other wildlife as well as a large eagle's nest. The island also affords shelters for those who wish to camp. Guides pointed out interesting features of the island as well as answered questions of students and staff.

At Pemaquid students visited the museum which has displays of life as it was in Colonial Pemaquid. Artifacts uncovered in the digs are also on display. Arrangements may be made ahead of time to have a very interesting slide presentation of the digs presented to the students. One should visit the museum before exploring the archaeological digs. The restoration is still in progress and students may actually see the work taking place. A must activity is a visit to the cemetery where old stones give a history of the area. Also Fort William Henry can be visited. Our stay at Pemaquid was two hours in length. Students may wish a snack at the snack bar before leaving.

One may wish to spend a full day at Swan Island, and combine Colonial Pemaquid with Ft. Popham, Popham Beach and Popham Colony for another day's activities. Arrangements may be made for the Ft. Popham visit by calling....Construction of Fort Popham was begun at the beginning of the Civil War and never finished due to the improvement in techniques of building fortifications. It was manned during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I. There are picnic tables available for lunch.

There are many other attractions on the Phippsburg Peninsula. They include: sites of Fort Noble, Dromore Burying Ground, Stonybrook Manor House, Historical Society's Museum, Parker's Head Village, Popham Colony Site and many others. A brochure is available from the Phippsburg Historical Society, Inc., Phippsburg, Maine.

Plan to visit one are in the morning and one in the afternoon. Coming from central and northern areas of the state, it is suggested the Phippsburg visitation be planned for the A.M. and Pemaquid for the P.M. those coming from the south might wish to visit Pemaquid in the A.M. and Phippsburg in the P.M. This eliminates a longer return trip home after a long day.

Another option to this trip might find one visiting Colonial Pemaquid in the morning and the Railway Museum in Boothbay in the afternoon.

Located on Route 21, the Railway Village offers one a view of antique cars and fire apparatus, as well as a country store, doll collection, railway artifacts, school, post office and bank.

Arrangements may be made by contacting the Railway Museum...Group rates are available upon request.

Students are afforded the chance to ride a coal burning locomotive as part of the museum tour.

Colonial Pemaquid
Student Rating - 3.2
Staff Rating - 3.7

Railway Museum
Student Rating - 3.8
Staff Rating - 3.7

*Not visited in 1980

(Excerpt from The Maine Journey Field Trip Guide, 1980, p.23-4.)


Anonymous said...

PLEASE correct your 's on Swan Island piece! I grew up on that pristeen island in the middle of the Kennebec River nestled near the town of Richmond, Maine. My grandfather Parker Blen worked with Steve Powell and was caretaker for over twenty years. The island, now named Steve Powell wildlife management area, is a wonderful tourist destination and campground for many boy and girl scout adventures now that it is a state game preserve. It is NOT the salt water island of a similar but plural name! The name Swan Island was mistakenly interpreted by "those crazy white boys" following the naming by the Native Americans who originally named it SWANGO which means island of EAGLES. Stop looking for the swans and do not confuse everyone by adding the apostrophe S on the end! Thank you most kindly! Terri Blen-Parker

Marc said...

Thank you for the clarification. The original text has been modified to be accurate.