History of Eden, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886





Eden, in Hancock County, occupies the northern and eastern portion of Mount Desert Island. It embraces an area of 22,000 acres, about 1,000 of which are covered by water. In the north-west is Western Bay; in the north is Thomas Bay, which receives the waters of the largest stream on the island, North-Eastern Brook. North of this are Mount Desert Narrows, separating the island and the mainland. The principal eminences are Newport Mountain (1,060 feet in height), McFarland's Mountain (764 feet), the White Cap (925 feet), Mount Kebo (405 feet), Interlaken Hill (462 feet), Great Hill (748 feet). Dry Mountain and Green Mountain (1,522 feet), 4 miles S.S.W. of Bar Harbor, are partly in Eden. "The view from Green Mountain is delightful. No other peak of the same height can be found on the Atlantic coast of the United States, from Lubec to the Rio Grande, nor from any other point of the coast can so fine a view be obtained. The boundless ocean on the one side contrasting with high mountains on the other, and along the shore numerous islands, appearing like gems set in liquid pearl, form the most prominent features in the scene. White sails dotted over the water glide slowly along. We know not what view in nature can be finer than this, where the two grandest objects in nature, high mountains and a limitless ocean, occupy the horizon. The name of Eden is truly appropriate to this beautiful place." Twenty miles out on the ocean is seen Mount Desert Rock, with its light-house beaming a fixed white light. In the west are numerous mountains of the island, with bright lakes interspersed, while the Camden Mountains are seen in the distance. It is claimed that Mount Katahdin, 100 miles to the north, and Mount Washington, 140 miles west, can sometimes be seen from this point. Whittier, in Mogg Megone, has a passage on this locality.

Granite, sometimes porphyritic in its character, is the prevailing rock in town. The soil varies from loam to gravel, with some marsh. Wheat, corn, oats, potatoes and barley are all raised to some extent. There are two saw-mills for long lumber, two shingle and two clap board mills. Agriculture and the fisheries are both carried on to a considerable extent; but the chief employment of the people is catering to the wants of summer visitors. Bar Harbor, the principal village, is situated on the east side of the island. It has a fine sea view, extending across Porcupine Island, in Frenchman's Bay, to the rolling hills of Goldsborough. There are beaches near the village; and a high rocky islet near by is the summer residence of General Fremont. About one and a half miles south of the village is Cromwell's Cove, noted for its bold cliff shores, on one of which is the rock-figure called the Assyrian. The Indian's Foot (a foot print in the rock) and the Pulpit are in this vicinity. Four miles south of Bar Harbor is Schooner Head, a high, wave-washed cliff, with a white formation on its seaward side, which resembles a schooner under sail. It is said to have been cannonaded by a British frigate in the war of 1812. About two and a half miles north of Bar Harbor is the little seaport of Hull's Cove. Here is a neat crescent beach, where the Gregoire's dwelt, the hereditary proprietors of most of the region; Madame Gregoire being a grand-daughter of the Gascon noble, Condillac, to whom the King of France granted Mount Desert in 1688. About two miles north of this place, across the promontory, is Salisbury Cove, a port for small vessels. The Via Mala is a long passage in the neighboring cliffs. A short distance eastward from this on the northern angle of the promontory, is the little hamlet of Sand Cliff; and near it are the Ovens, a range of caves in the porphyritic cliffs. All over the island are found elm, birch, maple, cedar, and the evergreens, in large tracts and scattered groups.

The first English settlement of the town was in 1763, by two families named Thomas and Higgins. Eden was taken from Mount Desert and incorporated in 1796. The name was probably adopted in honor of Richard Eden, an early English author. There is also a tradition that its natural beauties suggested its name. [See also Tremont and Mount Desert]. There are Baptist, Episcopal and Union churches in the town. The public library contains about 1,200 volumes. A high school is sustained for a portion of the year. Eden has thirteen public school houses, and its school property is valued at $8,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $196,499. In 1880, it was $177,534. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 16 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,195. In the census of 1880 it was 1,629.

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