Ragged Island (Harpswell, Maine)

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Ragged Island (Harpswell, Maine) is a privately owned island in Harpswell, Maine, in Cumberland County, Maine, which is geographically within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. It is located at 43°43′39″N 69°56′13″W / 43.72750°N 69.93694°W / 43.72750; -69.93694.

Ragged Island, aerial view


Ragged Island is notable as having been the summer home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and husband Eugen Jan Boissevain from 1933 until her death in 1950. It is now a private residence.[1]

Whatever the history of the island's name, at least one 1790 maritime chart identifies it simply as Cold Arse.[2]

Ragged Island in c. 1920


Ragged Island provides habitat for a large and diverse population of nesting seabirds, including the eider duck, black guillemot, greater black-backed gull, herring gull and osprey. Maine Coast Heritage Trust led an effort to protect the island, and in 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant program awarded a $323,000 Coastal Wetland grant to purchase a conservation easement on the property. The easement, held by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, permanently protects the 76.6-acre (310,000 m2) natural area used by seabirds for nesting on Ragged Island.[3]

Ragged Island, shoreline

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Felstiner, John "There, there where those black spruces crowd." American Poetry Review. June 2007.
  2. ^ Beck, Horace P. (1957). The Folklore of Maine. Philadelphia & New York: J.B. Lippincott Co. p. 13.
  3. ^ Fefer, Stewart. "Two National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grants Awarded in Maine". U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Archived 2009-05-12 at the Wayback Machine January 9, 2008
  4. ^ Milford, Nancy. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Random House, 2001. Print. p. 269
  5. ^ History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine Including Ancient Pejepscot. By George Augustus Wheeler and Henry Warren Wheeler. Published 1878. Full image at books.google.

External links[edit]