Downtown in the City of Ships: 400 years in 4 Blocks

Uncover American history around every turn in Bath, Maine's downtown.

This fun and fascinating walk focuses on the past 400+ years of the historic and quaint downtown of Bath, Maine, the fifth largest seaport in America during its 19th century heyday. Learn Bath’s story by walking among the charming period buildings, hearing unique stories, and uncovering hidden gems. Led by Meg Barker, the owner of Embark Maine Tours, a walking tour business in Bath, this walk is designed for those who love history and offers something for everyone. You will leave with a new appreciation for Bath, local and American history, plus tips and recommendations for the rest of your day in this charming Midcoast city!

On this walk, you will learn:
– How a million dollar tree tipped the balance in the Patriot cause… then fell into the Kennebec River
– How Boston’s neglect led to Maine’s independence – and ushered a Bath leader to the first governorship
– What a store advertising toothache medicine was *really* selling
– How an enslaved woman running toward freedom found refuge in Bath – and exactly who helped her escape
– How a 24-year-old Brigadier General became one of the wealthiest industrialists of the 19th century – all starting on a flooded street
– How competing views on suffrage and war were brokered by Bath women
– Why a 1960s turning point saved Bath’s 19th century downtown and set it on the course for preservation

The walk will be about 1 mile, lasting 75-90 minutes – depending on the participants’ questions and conversation. The terrain is typical Maine – including brick sidewalks, with some areas of uneven pavement, and one gradual hill. Dress for the weather. Plan to come early for the Bath Farmer’s Market and stay afterward for shopping and a late lunch or early dinner!


There is plenty of parking at Waterfront Park. The route is accessible to wheelchairs, but can be narrow with limited room for passing in some places.

Starting Location:

Meet at the wooden shelter at the south end (closest to the bridge) of Waterfront Park on the Kennebec River in Bath. Your guide will be wearing a green backpack. There should be plenty of parking right there.

Ending Location:

On the Custom House lawn, just 2 blocks from our starting point, in the heart of Bath's business and shopping district.
Custom House, 1 Front Street
Bath, Maine 04530

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Learn more about SDGs

  • 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

May 4, 2024 / 1:00 PM

Led by: Meg Barker
Organization: Embark Maine Tours
Duration: 90 minutes
City/Town: Bath
County: Sagadahoc
Language(s): English