Rockport, Maine

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Rockport is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,209 at the 2000 census. Rockport is a popular tourist destination and art colony.

Contents

History

Rockport, or "the River" was settled in 1769 by Robert Thorndike. Goose River Village (as it was known until 1852), was originally part of the Megunticook Plantation, incorporated in 1791 as Camden. Shipbuilding, ice harvesting and the manufacture of lime were important early industries.[1] In 1817, 300 casks of lime were sent to Washington, DC for use building the United States Capitol, which had been damaged by the British during the War of 1812. In 1852, the citizens of Goose River voted to change their village's name to Rockport for its rocky terrain. [2] On February 25, 1891, Rockport officially split from Camden because of a dispute over the cost of constructing a bridge. The town of Rockport was born and from Camden it took half the population, three quarters of the land, and most importantly the profitable lime and ice industries.

Rockport has a longstanding reputation as an artists' community, with notable artists and art institutions playing a significant role in the town's economic and social life. Bay Chamber Concerts was established in 1961 as a continuation of the summer music instruction of the Curtis Institute. Mary Louise Curtis Bok, central to founding both Bay Chamber Concerts and the Curtis Institute, was one of the largest landowners in Rockport. At one time she owned most of the eastern shore of the harbor. Mary Lea Park, adjacent to the Rockport Opera House, is named in honor of both her and Rockport resident and violinist Lea Luboshutz. [3]

Rockport was the home of Andre the Seal, a seal adopted by the Goodridge family in the 1970s, and who entertained guests in Rockport Harbor until his death in 1986. The seal's owner Harry Goodridge co-wrote a about Andre, titled A Seal Called Andre. The 1994 film Andre was adapted from the book, although in the movie Andre is actually played by a sea lion, not a seal. A statue of Andre sits beside the harbor in his honor. [4] Rockport is also known for its Belted Galloway cattle. The cattle are raised at the 136-year-old Aldermere Farm, which is owned and operated by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization. The Belted Galloways remain one of the area's most popular attractions, and often referred to as the "Oreo cookie" cows. [5]

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