CIHS Exhibit 2010-2011
Tourism Transforms Chebeague
The exhibit explored how Chebeague Island and its people were impacted by the late 19th century introduction of summer tourists into what had been a middle class Victorian community. The exhibit presented the story of the "Summer Natives," summer families with deep island roots. How did their families discover Chebeague and what made them keep coming back generation after generation? They traveled to the island via trolley, train, steamship, and island steamer, stayed at the hotels, participated in fishing parties, picnics and ball games. Some summer families have been returning to the island for more than a century. Their ancestors are buried in the island cemetery beside the long time island families.
Many islanders reaped economic benefits by selling cottage lots, housing boarders, operating and working in hotels, stores, and ice cream parlors, building cottages, maintaining gardens and yards, running tour boats, conducting livery businesses, doing domestic chores such as laundry and cleaning, and selling produce and seafood. Some islanders even rented out their homes and moved into tents or sheds to accommodate the tourists who were looking for a summer respite.