Just 33 miles from downtown Bucksport there is an often missed treasure that few places in Maine can rival.
Around 1901, because of its deep water near shore and its proximity to shipping lanes to Europe, the U.S. Navy chose Lamoine as the site for a coaling station for its ships. Construction of the station was completed in 1902, at a cost of $300,000 ($9 million in today’s dollars) but was only in operation for a short time when the Navy reported in 1909 that the station was “seldom used” because oil had replaced coal as the major fuel used by Navy ships. It was shut down in 1912, “with a view to its ultimate abandonment and disposal of the land.”
Among the ships that “refueled” with coal there was the Great White Fleet that circled the globe under orders from President Theodore Roosevelt from 1907-1909. The U.S. North Atlantic fleet arrived on the Lamoine shoreline to refuel in August of 1903.
The only further federal use came during World War II, when the coalhouse was used by the federal government to store nitrates. In 1927, the remaining buildings and 55 acres were sold to the state of Maine and in the 1950s it became Lamoine State Park.
Today, the park offers a more peaceful alternative from the hustle and bustle of nearby Acadia National Park. The campground area offers 62 sites but the newest and most unique opportunity is a group camping area complete with shelter.
For many years, a group of law enforcement people from the Bangor area have camped together each summer at Lamoine State Park and began calling themselves the Lamoine Family. A few years ago, they decided to help the Bureau of Parks and Lands establish a special camping area just for groups like theirs. They raised money that the state was able to match with federal funds and the new facility was ready for campers a few years ago. The best feature of the area is a beautiful new shelter that includes a kitchen area and a gorgeous wood-burning cooking stove.
If you know of a group of people who would like to camp together in style and with a little bit of “luxury” tell them to call the park at 667-4778 for more information.
Sen. Kim Rosen (R-Bucksport)