Creating Chebeague’s “Center”: A Family Enclave’s Evolution to a Cultural and Economic Hub

Chebeague "Centre" c. 1904 Cleaves Store and Bowen's Sore and Post Office left. CIHS Postcard Collection

In 1874, Chebeague Island had no public boat service to the mainland and had only one store. The incorporation of the Chebeague Wharf and Steamboat Co. changed that when a wharf was built on the land of the heirs of Benjamin Hamilton. Within a few decades, the adjacent area, 2/5 of a mile, became known as the island’s “Center” and was at one time home to a high school, a community hall, a post office, a firehouse, a garage, a variety store, 2 grocery stores, an ice cream parlor, a cottage subdivision, a windmill, a Native American enclave, a clam factory with another steamboat landing, and was the initial location of the U.S. Army when Chebeague was occupied during WW2.
Today, all that remains is a grocery store, a library/hall, a seasonal thrift shop located in the former high school, and a WW1 memorial. During the walk, attendees will learn about the architecture, family connections, development, and eventual decline of the “Center”.

Each attendee, who pre-registers, will receive a detailed illustrated handout about the neighborhood. Attendees will be transported back in time, and after the walk, may never look at the “Center” neighborhood the same way again!


The path from Central Landing to South Road is rough and unpaved. Most of the walk will take place on South Road, which is paved and flat.

Starting Location:

Meet near the shore at the end of Central Landing Rd. and intersection of the path known as Wharf Rd. Please walk down the path of Central Landing Road. Parking is extremely limited. Please park on South Road on inland side of the road heading toward the West End.

Ending Location:

Intersection of South and Firehouse Roads
Intersection of South and Firehouse Roads
Chebeague Island, Maine 04017

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Learn more about SDGs

  • 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 15 - Life on Land

May 4, 2024 / 11:00 AM

Led by: Donna MIller Damon
Organization: Chebeague Island Historical Society
Duration: One hour
City/Town: Chebeague Island
County: Cumberland
Language(s): English