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A tour of Historic Machias, Maine
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 42.798 W 067° 27.431
19T E 622202 N 4952260
Quick Description: In Machias we will have a look at some of its historic buildings and learn of the town's connection to the American Revolution.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 1/23/2018 12:56:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMXKC2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:
We start the Machias tour on the south side of the Machias River at the Machias Valley Grange Hall. Across the river from Machias proper, this wood framed Grange Hall continues to be used as a Grange meeting hall, as well as a cultural centre.

Organized by 1903, the Machias Valley Grange met in the third story hall of the Pennell Block in Machias until November 15th 1904. It was on that day that the Pennell Block burned to the ground, taking with it all of the Grange property in the building. The Grange was then forced to meet in various other places in Machias, including the Knights of Pythias Hall. The members soon began exploring the possibility of building their own hall, and in the meantime received its charter as Patrons of Husbandry Grange # 360 on January 5, 1905.

In September of 1905 they purchased the lot on which had stood their old meeting place, the Pennell Block. They built a new hall on the footings and foundation of the old building, giving them a meeting hall 36 by 50 feet in dimension and two and a half storeys in height.

On leaving the Grange Hall, just before Highway 1, one will see a tiny park. In it is an achor commemorating the First Naval Battle of the American Revolution. After the park we head over the river. While crossing the river, off to the right (east), we can see Bad Little Falls, the namesake of the town of Machias. Bad Little Falls are the final cataract along the Machias River before it empties into Machias Bay. Roughly translated from Passamaquoddy as "bad little falls" or "bad run of water", the name Machias refers to the falls in the Machias River within the town. The reference is to the fact that the falls made canoeing on this stretch of river difficult, if not impossible. The Machias River runs for 60 miles from Third Machias Lake through Washington County in the eastern part of the state. There are several other falls and cataracts along its course.

Heading further into town, we first stop at the Porter Memorial Library. This library was dedicated to a father-son pair, the father a prominent citizen in Machias, the son the major benefactor of the library.

The Porter Memorial Library was built in 1892 to honour Rufus King Porter, a local lawyer and prominent member of Machias society. In 1991 $10,000 was donated toward its construction by his son, Henry Homes Porter. Designed by George A. Clough of Boston, it is a fine example of the Romanesque Revival style, built of granite with a slate shingled roof.

In front of the library is a Civil War Monument, which had been dedicated Oct. 14, 1886, preceding the library by six years.

Across the street from the library we come to the Washington County Courthouse. This 1853 courthouse has stood the test of time and, after restoration and renovations, is once again open for business in Machias.

The Italianate style Washington County Courthouse was designed by Colonel Benjamin S. Deane of Bangor, with construction on the building commencing in 1853. The final cost for the building was $25,000. The building was damaged by a storm in 1869, forcing the county to rebuild a part of the building. Additions have been made to the courthouse in the twentieth century. In 1864 the Courthouse was the scene of the trial of three Confederates, found guilty the attempted robbery of the Calais Bank. The first woman admitted to the bar in New England, Mrs. Clara H. Nash, began her law practice in the Washington County Courthouse on October 26, 1872.

On the front lawn of the courthouse one will find a plaque relating the story of the Second Naval Battle of the American Revolution. This large bronze plaque can be seen mounted on the face of a tall granite boulder on the front lawn of the Washington County Courthouse in the town of Machias.

About two miles offshore from Fort Machias/O'Brien, at Machiasport, near Round Island, is the site of what is locally claimed to be the First Naval Battle of the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Machias, fought between citizens of Machiasport and a British warship, the Margaretta. Unfortunately, the Battle of Machias was actually the second naval battle of the war, the first taking place on May 14, 1775 at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the Battle off Fairhaven, in which the Dartmouth whaling sloop Success captured a pair of vessels previousy captured by the British.

The Battle of Machias took place on June 11-12, 1775 with the British sloop tender Margaretta being captured by the townspeople at the cost of one man killed and six wounded, one of which later died of his wounds. Below is a recounting of the battle, taken from informational plaques at the Fort O'Brien Historic Site.

Our last stop before continuing down the road to Machiasport is the Centre Street Congregational Church. The most prominent landmark in the town of Machias, Centre Street Congregational was begun in 1836 and dedicated, free of debt, on April 13, 1837. The site had cost $1,200 while the building had ultimately cost $9,757. The design, by an unknown "Mr. Stephenson", closely followed that of the second Gothic Revival Church in the state, St. John's in Bangor, which has since been destroyed. This seems to have been just the third Gothic Revival Church built in the state and apparently the second to be dedicated, ahead of St. John's.

In the belfry hangs a Paul Revere Bell, bought second hand in Boston. The bell measures 33 inches tall by 38 inches in diameter. Below the bell is the town clock, installed in November of 1870 through the efforts of the Ladies Clock Society, who had raised $600 to pay for the clock. An organ was installed in 1867, built by leading organ maker George Stevens of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Finally, in 1899, a series of stained glass windows portraying Biblical themes was installed.

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Grange Hall Machias Battlesite
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County Courthouse Congregational Church
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Memorial Library Anchor & Plaque

Recommended Time for this WayTour: From: 12:00 AM To: 12:00 AM

Stop Coordinates:
Click on the map above - all the coordinates are there.

Starting Address for this WayTour:
3 Elm Street
Machias, ME United States

Number of Stops: 5

Website of stops: Not listed

Stop Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
You must include an original photo showing one of the stops along the tour route.
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