Lower Negro Island sits in the Bagaduce River on a hazy day. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN SCHIMMEL

Castine voters approve name change for Negro Islands



CASTINE — Upper and Lower Negro Islands will be no more. Eventually. 

Voters at Castine’s annual Town Meeting Saturday approved initiating the process of changing the names in a split vote.

Town Manager Shawn Blodgett said “the result was 44-33 in favor of changing the names of the two islands.”

Upper Negro Island is privately owned while Lower Negro Island is owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. 

Now the Board of Selectmen will form a committee to get ideas for potential names for the islands. Those options would go on the ballot in November.

Then the proposed names would need to go to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for final approval, according to Blodgett.

No one knows how the island got its name, but the local lore that it was part of the Underground Railroad is a myth, according to Lisa Simpson Lutts, the executive director of the Castine Historical Society. 

Ethan Genter contributed to this report.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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