Squirrel Island, Maine

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Aerial view c.1940s
Rocky coast of Squirrel Island in 1906

Squirrel Island, Maine is a island off the coast of Boothbay Harbor, established as a summer community in 1871. The origin of the name is not related to its squirrel population, since according to island chronicler Charles McLane "[s]quirrels do not inhabit the island (or if they do now, they did not in early times according to local pundits),"[1] but, rather, refers to the shape of the island which, when seen from above, resembles a squirrel holding an acorn.[citation needed]


Farmers and sheep herders have resided on Squirrel Island since the American Revolutionary War.[1] The summer colony was created with the formation of the Squirrel Island Association in 1871, and the subsequent establishment of a village corporation within the town of Southport, the first of a handful of communities so governed in the state of Maine, in 1903.[2] The "village corporation" adds an additional layer of control within the town government to meet the island's unique needs that arise from the fact that most island residents are not year-round residents of the Town of Southport and therefore have no right to vote in local elections.[2] Squirrel Island pays taxes to Southport, a portion of which is rebated for expenditure on the Island, as well as an additional tax (the "Squirrel Island Special Tax"), that is completely locally controlled and spent.

Residents of Squirrel Island are subject to the Laws of the United States, State of Maine, Lincoln County, Southport Island, and Squirrel Island. Additionally, most land parcels are leased from the Squirrel Island Association, subjecting the leasee to land use rules similar to a restrictive covenant or homeowner's association. There are approximately 100 parcels, each with one one-family cottage. Most cottages were first built between the 1870s and 1920s; however, most have been remodeled and enlarged over the years.

Squirrel Island has no industry, and residents must vacate for the winter due to the above-ground plumbing which is drained to prevent freezing. Residents enjoy beaches, tennis, boating, a local restaurant, library, and chapel. All island facilities and equipment (including the mooring fields, floats, tennis courts, beaches, dinghies and kayaks) are maintained by the taxpayers of Squirrel Island for the use and benefit of Islanders and their guests. All residences are private, and there are no medical facilities or stores. Transportation around the island is by foot. Smoking is prohibited except in the private cottages, and the outside use of cell phones is discouraged. The island receives telephone, electric and water utilities via undersea cables and pipes from the mainland. Residents are not allowed vehicles and must walk on a network of paved sidewalks. A ferry boat (the Novelty) runs regular trips from Boothbay Harbor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McLane, Charles (1994). Islands of the Mid-Maine Coast. IV. Rockland, Maine: Island Institute. pp. 95–99. ISBN 0-88448-145-X.
  2. ^ a b Federal Writers' Project (1937). Everett F. Greaton (ed.). Maine: A Guide "Down East". Washington, D.C.: Works Progress Administration. pp. 396–97.

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Coordinates: 43°48′30″N 69°37′50″W / 43.80833°N 69.63056°W / 43.80833; -69.63056