(gentle music) - [Narrator] From the moment that rich deposits of limestone were discovered in the meadows above its shoreline, this city of roughly 7,000 inhabitants was destined to make a mark, producing over 800,000 cast of lime in a single year, it soon became the country's number one producer of the product.
It's uniquely spacious harbor enabled it to become a force in shipping, and it was regularly among the top four ports of entry in the United States.
With over 6,000 ships in and out of its port in 1893 alone and as a ship builder, it built a vast number of quality sailing vessels, most notably the illustrious Red Jacket, the fastest clipper ship in history.
In more recent years, this small and robust city rose to prominence again, this time by harvesting nearly 30 million pounds of lobster from area waters in a single year at a value exceeding $200 million.
(gentle music) The Maine coastline rose from a sparsely populated inhospitable region to a place of substantial historic importance in a relatively short time, thanks to its abundant natural resources and the industry of its people.
This ruggedly beautiful coast is steeped in rich maritime heritage and no place more so than a city called Rockland.
Just as our nation did, Rockland began as a settlement of an older, more established entity that eventually outgrew its parent and established its own identity.
Using its access to the sea through an expansive harbor, it became an industrial and maritime powerhouse, and as the passing centuries brought inevitable change, turned back to the Atlantic again and again to reinvent itself and remain the vibrant community it is today.
The coast of the state of Maine is one of the most irregular in the world.
A straight line running from its southernmost city to the northernmost coastal town would measure about 225 miles.
If you followed the coastline between the same two locations, you would travel more than 10 times as far.
At the time of the Ice Age, the whole area that is now Maine, was part of a mountain range that towered above the sea, but as the glacier descended, it expended enormous force on those mountains and they sank deep into the Atlantic.
This is where the Maine we know today began, and as the glacier receded, it created and revealed countless islands, peninsulas, coves, and bays.
The story of Rockland, Maine revolves around just one of those natural coastal formations.
The first humans entered the mid-coast region of Maine about 13,000 years ago, and though the archeological record is incomplete, it suggests that the human population of what we now call Maine was made up of a scattering of small, mobile hunting bands classified as Paleo Indians.
(gentle music) They and their ancestors would come to know Rockland Harbor as the great landing place, or in their language, and they traveled inland from the coast on a well worn trail that would become essential to the prosperity of future inhabitants of the area.
(gentle music) The early history of Rockland starts when it was an unnamed part of Thomaston, whose story begins with Captain George Weymouth and the voyage of Archangel in 1605.
A voyage documented in detail by Captain Weymouth's secretary James.
In addition to exploring the area around the St. George's River for several days, including what became the Highland Meadows area of Rockland, it is now believed that the following account from Rossier's Journal describes Weymouth sailing by the entrance to what became Rockland Harbor on an exploratory excursion up Penobscot Bay.
The first and chief thing required is a bold coast and fair land to fall with.
The next, a safe harbor for ships to ride in.
The first is a special attribute to this shore being most free from sands or dangerous rocks in a continual depth with a most excellent landfall.
For the second, by judgment of our captain, here are more good harbors for ships of all birthings than England can afford, but I would boldly affirm it to be the most rich, beautiful, large and secure harboring river that the world affords.
Soon a chain of trading posts emerged along the main coast, one quite likely located somewhere on the St. George's River.
Wherever it was, the trading post was the scene of a thriving fur trading business.
The Thomaston area also attracted English vessels from Massachusetts eager to harvest the great tall pines in the region, haul them to the shore, and convey them to England where they were fashioned into ships' masts.
The initial settlers in what became the Rockland sector of Thomaston, referred to as the Shore village, included 12 families who took root in the decades spanning from the late 1760s to the mid 1770s.
These trailblazers confronted great stands of pine so thick that clearing space sufficient for a homestead seemed to occupy a lifetime.
Not only did they build their homes, they also harvested hay, grazed cattle, raised crops, planted orchards, built businesses and conducted trade, all of which set the stage for the accelerated development of what would emerge as the city of Rockland.
(gentle music) "This is my country.
These are my people, saving of emotion with their eyes dipped in the winter ocean, the lonely patient ones whose speech comes slow, whose bodies always, always lean toward the blow, the enduring and the clean, the tough and the clear who live where winter is the word for year."
Robert Peter Tristram Coffin.
The initial wave of settlers began with the Tolman family who arrived from Massachusetts in 1765 and took possession of 500 acres on the northern edge of Thomaston surrounding Madame pond, known today as Chickawaukie Lake.
The earliest businesses in this area were probably Tolman Sawmill and Gristmill.
80 years later, the Shore Village sector would substantially outpace the rest of Thomason in population to the point where it would separate and become East Thomaston and then the city of Rockland.
From 1790 to 1850, Maine's population increased more than six fold, settlements spread across much of the southern half of the state, and the economy expanded rapidly, because the sea was Maine's gateway to the rest of the nation and the world, port towns led the state's growth, but there were issues that slowed the development of a common vision for Maine's overall development, and none was more crucial than settling the issue of separation from Massachusetts.
Finally, in 1820, Maine separated from Massachusetts to become the 23rd state.
(gentle music) "I am Oolitic limestone, made of tons upon tons of tiny, which in turn are made of grains of sand and once beautiful shells, held together by a cement of calcite, All of myself forming from a long life of constant waves rolling along a riverbed collecting as I continue rolling.
I am a sedimentary rock, constantly changing, constantly rolling against the warm waves."
Rockland is appropriately named because for nearly a century, the community's core economy and early prosperity depended largely on rocks.
In the early 1780s, members of the Alma family moved from Walterboro to the shore area and became the first line burners in the future Rockland, when they detected limestone near what is today's Old County road.
lacking a convenient way to haul the rocks to the nearest kiln in Thomaston, they built their own in the shore village.
Laying out a path to haul the limestone rocks to the kiln at what became the Rockland shore, they used the very same trail traveled by the area's earliest inhabitants.
That trail is still in use today as Rockland's own Limerock Street, the lime industry would become the chief engine of Rockland's growth in the 19th century, lime manufacturing was a lucrative but dangerous business.
The danger came from the nature of the product.
Heat applied to limestone produces quick lime and carbon dioxide, which is given off as a gas.
The quick lime product is then reduced to small chunks of powdered lime and packed in barrels for export.
When water touches quick lime, heat is the immediate result.
Lots of water such is produced by a storm, generates lots of heat, which can easily escalate to a full scale blaze.
136 lime kilns were scattered across the highlands and along the full reach of the city's capacious waterfront.
The kilns labored long hours to produce an exceptionally high quality product that was in demand across the country, and 800,000 casks of it were produced and shipped in 1850, making Rockland the largest producer of lime in the United States.
The citizens of East Thomaston voted to change the name to Rockland in 1850, following a lively contest in which the alternative names of lime rock, limestone and Rockville were also considered.
(gentle music) - The point is the L-shaped peninsula that stretches out in into Rockland Harbor, along Tilson Avenue and along Winter Street, and in 1850 that year also brought water piped into the area west of Maine.
And so the importers and the traders and the lime manufacturers who had been living on the point built houses and moved the west of Main Street and their houses were available then to rent to poor immigrants.
And so they came.
The Irish and the Italians were recruited to work in the lime kilns and quarries.
There were Jews who came to escape persecution in Russia and there were Armenians and Albanians who came to escape persecution by the Ottoman Empire.
It was a wonderful area.
It had sailors and immigrants and children and boarding houses and factories and wharfs and all kinds of shops, housing was cheap.
The neighbors spoke their language and parents looked out for each other's children.
- [Narrator] The combination of exceptionally large and rich deposits of limestone combined with the proximity to by far the area's largest harbor and gateway to all of the major markets put Rockland in an exceptionally strong position to become the center for the lime industry in Maine and later nationally, for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In the wake of the growth from the lime industry came an increasing demand for larger and faster sailing vessels.
In 1800, the country's leading domestic markets were strung out along the eastern seaboard.
Westwood expansion was in its infancy.
(gentle music) The North Atlantic Ocean was equivalent in importance to I95 and the rest of today's interstate highway system and wooden sailing schooners ruled the cargo hauling world.
This put Rockland and other coastal communities blessed with large deep water harbors in an enviable position.
- Now think about the turnpike you use every time you see an 18 wheeler, that would be a four masted schooner going from place to place, carrying cargo along the coast here from New York all the way down east to Eastport and stopping in Rockland, Maine.
The northern terminus of that, you see a UPS truck out there, that was a little two masted schooner going in and out of these little ports all along the ragged New England coast.
Think about a pickup truck.
My God, a pickup trucks are ubiquitous.
but they were all the fishing smacks and the friendship and all the little boats all along.
Everything was done by sailing vessel back in those days.
- [Narrator] In the middle of the 1800s, Maine stood at the juncture of two great streams of commerce, the transatlantic trade with Europe and the Longshore links between northern and southern states and the West Indies.
Maine built the ships that carried this trade and provided the cruises that made America the world's premier trading nation.
Main shipyards produced more than 1/3 of the nation's shipping, including some of the finest square rig sailing vessels ever built.
Rockland was a leader in Maine ship building, much of it driven by the need for vessels to haul wood to fire the lime kilns and transport the resulting lime product to markets in Boston, New York and beyond.
150 so-called coasters carried lime out of Rockland to ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast in 1850 alone, shipyards turned out hundreds of wooden ships destined primarily for the lime trade.
- So you see, it was a old parade of sail back and forth into Rockland Harbor carrying all kinds of goods in, they used to say wood in and lime out.
That was one of the major cargoes of the time.
Limestone, hot lime they called it, hot lime is what they used to make mortar and cement, and they're building places like New York and Boston and all those cities down there, and they wanted that limestone down there.
- [Narrator] During the mid to later part of the 19th century, there was so much traffic in and out of Rockland Harbor that it was regularly among the top four ports of entry in all of the United States.
- Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Rockland, Maine.
There are so many vessels going in and out of Rockland that it's impossible to count all of them, but that light housekeeper, had tried to do that in 1893, he counted the sailing vessels.
There were over 6,000 of them came in and out of Rockland Harbor that one year, 1893.
- [Narrator] Rockland ship building reached its peak in the 1850s with the launching of 22 ships in 1853 and 21 vessels in 1854.
- Of course, to build a vessel, you needed a certain characteristics of the property, gentle sloping land with clear water behind it so you could get a vessel afloat building it was not the problem, it was getting it in the water.
And so then the way they built them was of course they built a vessel and then they built a set of launching ways, temporary launching ways usually underneath them.
Rockland built many, many vessels, square riggers and ships and Briggs or half Briggs and even clipper ships, attributed with building 10 clipper ships, the most famous of which was the Red Jacket, which was built right down the street about a quarter mile from here.
- [Narrator] One of the crowning achievements of the ship building industry in Rockland was Red Jacket, a clipper ship launched in November, 1853.
The ship set a speed record in crossing the Atlantic Ocean, New York to Liverpool of 13 days and one hour.
- [Speaker] "There's a bustle in in the shipyard of the builder, deacon George, a pounding of the hammers and a ringing of the forge, a smell of Tarin oakham and the tread of hustling feet and masks are standing stark and haughty, waiting for the sheet.
The builder looks her over with his keen blue Thomas eyes and nods and satisfaction at the sleekness of a prize by Jove, he thunders to his men as he gives his thigh a slap, I'll bet her full square riggin she'll put Rocklin on the map.
(upbeat music) And channel boats she overhauls as if their anchors drag.
We scan them all to Liverpool yells the captain all agog, just 13 days, one hour, 25 minutes for the crossing by her log.
There's a roaring cheer of welcome from the dock by English cars as they greet the fastest clipper to fly the Stripes and Stars and Rockland hearts are happy this bright January day, as they clasped the hand of George Thomas who sent her down the way", Ethel Thomas.
- [Narrator] No name is more identified with the mid coast maritime heritage than that of Snow.
Snow shipyard was synonymous with ship building in Rockland in the 20th century because for much of that time it was the only ship building and maintenance facility in the community.
But the snow family's involvement with sea faring goes back to the region's earliest days when many of the male Snows were sailors and boat builders.
- They were very well known and very well expected as a quality builders.
The Snowy yard built whole fleet of very, very stout and handsome, three massive that were all involved in carrying granite.
They found a niche that they just, instead of building coal schooners or lumber schooners, 'cause there are a lot of people competing in that trade.
They realized what they should do is build a bigger stone carrier.
- [Narrator] The family has added several more generations and master mariners since 1865, including a navy admiral and the mid coast Maine snows traced their American maritime heritage all the way back to the Mayflower.
- So there was a great number employed in the shipyards and many of the ship builders, by the way, the men, the working man came from Nova Scotia and there are people of families here that can trace their ancestry back to Nova Scotia because they came here 'cause of the opportunity to work in the yards building four Master Schooner, it'd be 150 men and it would take them anywhere from eight to 10 months to build it and it was all hand tools for the most part.
Amount of iron that went into one of these vessels to fasten it together.
You just didn't go down to the hardware store and buy a nail.
The blacksmith had to make all the iron work for the mass and booms and gas and so forth for the rig as well as sharpen the men's tools if necessary.
Then when the World War I ended that all evaporated and those same vessels were found tied up at anchor being very idle in the 1920s, and some of them, that was the last thing they ever did.
It was a shame, but they'd served their purpose.
- "Oak that grew on granite fashioned her stalwart frame and branny New England built her and gave her a Yankee name.
The cool shrewd head that sailed her was of that stout, grim stock that fled from king and bishop to land in Plymouth Rock.
They heard the call of commerce whenever the four winds blew, they could take a hand at fighting the captain, the mate, and the crew.
Their stout ships burned the water away from her sharp edged bell.
Oh, the glory of her sailing is with us even now.
She passes, the good ship passes, the pride of an elder day and the vision of her haunts not the young lads at their play.
The call that lured their fathers died down and does not rise for the old shipyards are empty beneath New England skies.
She passes, the good ship passes, haunted by steam wrath white, but her bearing is bold as ever though she enters the port of night.
Oh, piping wins pipe only your mellowest minor stream.
New England's pride is passing and will not come again."
Anna E. - [Narrator] Despite the lure of the west, the 1870s brought renewed economic growth in Rockland and additional evidence that East Thomason's new name had been fortuitously chosen back in 1850.
Not only was the the city's economy still anchored by lime rock, but there was competition on the horizon from another rock.
(upbeat music) While the foundation of Rockland's economy had rested on the lime and ship building industries throughout the 19th century, in the years following the Civil War, several Rockland businesses were organized to quarry granite on islands and peninsulas of Penobscot Bay.
The largest of these businesses were Bodwell and the Hurricane Island Granite Company.
An excerpt from a local newspaper illustrates the growth experienced on area island communities due to the granite industry, Carver Harbor, the largest village had been about a half dozen unpainted houses in an old school house and the roads were about little better than cheap paths.
Now the harbor is as trim looking a village as one would want to see has five stores in and around it.
A spacious schoolhouse of the latest style, a fine package to connect it with the rest of the world twice a week.
And the hum of well-paid industry all about it.
Skilled laborers and craftsmen, many of them European immigrants, fashion paving blocks, columns, and complex architectural details for buildings, monuments, and bridges in cities across the country.
The Granite Revolution was propelled by a strong growth in demand for the rock as a popular commercial building and road paving material in the last half of the 19th and into the early 20th century.
But by the end of the century, the granite trade was beginning to decline as building and paving patterns changed.
The fashion for monumental stone buildings gave way to steel and concrete and was supplanting paving stones, changes in construction tastes altered the economies on several islands along the main coast.
Once vibrant granite cutting driven communities on Hurricane and islands disappeared almost overnight.
And the deep quarries that had fed the granite boom filled with groundwater.
"T'was in the eighties I began work here, when all great cities paved their streets with blocks, a nickel apiece they were, and I could reel 200 blocks or more each day.
The reeling wasn't much like the reeling now, most anything would do.
Along this hump were 50 motions clicking every day, the happiest hours of my life, ah, them were jolly days.
I never thought they'd leave us as they did, the price set down and cities paved with asphalt room or blocks.
The young folks moved away, but we were old.
Too old to think of other towns as home."
"From the Paving Quarry" by Wilbert Snow.
(gentle music) The legacy of the granite industry lives on in Rockland and around the nation.
Many of the immigrant families who first came to the area to work in granite stayed and took up other pursuits such as fishing.
Today, their ancestors are part of the rich tapestry that makes up the fabric of the community.
Around the nation, the legacy is represented in splendid buildings and other structures.
In Washington DC, they include the Eisenhower executive office building, the US Post Office and the Library of Congress.
There are large banks and post offices in Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City, the Brooklyn Bridge, and a celebrated project that produced eight columns for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
By 1900 Maine's long deep water harbor's coastline no longer gave it the commercial edge it had enjoyed a century earlier.
As the ground transportation revolution accelerated the country's Westwood fixation and commercial ship building turned from wood and sail to steel and steam, Maine receded further from the center of the action, the more miles of railroad track that were laid, and in the 20th century, the more miles of highway that were built, the more coastal Maine's economic development slowed.
The coming of automobiles and trucks wiped out the use of commercial sailing vessels almost entirely.
While fishing was the oldest commercial activity in the mid coast region, it was primarily a local and small enterprise, until the second decade of the 20th century, the Gulf of Maine teamed with a great variety of groundfish and shellfish.
By the 1880s, small independently owned fishing boats were selling their groundfish catches to several Rockland wholesale dealers for the retail fresh fish trade, as well as to dealers specializing in the smoking or salting and drying of fish.
The onset of World War I saw a spike in demand for American canned products to replace meat and fish supplies shut off from Europe.
Small herring packed as sardines became a special favorite for both military and domestic consumption.
Several entrepreneurs operated canneries on the Rockland Waterfront because it was near herring fishing grounds and sardine packing went on to become an important part of the community's fish processing industry for over half a century.
In 1939, the FJ O'Hara company moved to Rockland from Boston and set the stage for strong fish processing growth during World War II and the post-war boom years.
Rockland Boats landed 325,000 pounds of ocean perch in 1939, and by 1944, the catch exceeded 12 million pounds.
The fishing fleet expanded accordingly and Rockland soon became Maine's leading fishing port and for a few years, rivaled Massachusetts for second place behind Boston, among New England fishing ports, Rockland's remaining ship builder, Snow's Shipyard, enjoyed a resurgence of activity, winning contracts to construct wooden naval vessels, which provided hundreds of much needed jobs.
Other local businesses also secured military contracts and hired more workers, including most of the city's fish processing plants.
Pent up demand for goods and services in short supply during the war years combined with the influx of returning servicemen and women wanting to make up for lost time produced a post-war boom.
The Second World War had an unexpected effect on another resource being harvested from the seas of Penobscot Bay, seaweed.
In 1936, a Frenchman, Victor C Langlois, formed the Algin Corporation of America with Robert Holt.
They located the company on Crockett's Point on land previously used for lime processing and storage.
Their mission was to produce a product called Algenate, a food additive made from brown seaweed known as kelp, that would be harvested from the waters of Penobscot Bay.
Once the production process was firmly in place, Langlois planned to relocate the company to his native France.
But in 1940, his plans were derailed when Hitler invaded Paris.
With the Nazis occupying his homeland, his plan became untenable and the Algin corporation remained in Rockland.
Today, the plant continues to operate and employs over 100 area individuals.
The fishing industry remained strong through the 1960s, but driven by overfishing, the catch began to decline in the early 1970s.
By that decade's end, supplies of several species had disappeared or were an ever more dwindling supply.
But as the ground fishing industry suffered, another inhabitant of Penobscot Bay would come to take its place.
(gentle music) Before the late 1700s, lobsters were so plentiful that they were gathered by hand along the shoreline.
Lobsters were so abundant at this time that what is now considered so special was used as baited for fishing, a fertilizer or poor people's food.
Those who consumed the most lobster at this point were prisoners, apprentices and servants.
In fact, some servants added to their contracts that they would only be served shellfish twice a week because they were being fed so much lobster.
In the late 1700s, a boat known as a smack, which had tanks with holes in them that allowed seawater to circulate inside of them were introduced in Maine to transport live lobsters.
It wasn't until the mid 19th century that lobster trapping, which was first practiced in Maine, became the most popular way to collect lobsters.
It was in the 1880s that lobsters finally began to lose their bad reputation.
They were beginning to be served in diners, particularly in Boston and New York, and from there, prices rose.
By the time World War II began, lobster was considered to be a delicacy.
The lobster industry became an important part of Rockland's economy in the 1920s.
During that prosperous decade, demand for Maine lobster accelerated, Rockland was in a strong position to meet that growing demand.
The lobster catch in Knox County exceeded that of all other areas in the state, and Rockland's Rail connection quickly established it as the key distribution center in the wholesale market.
Early leading local dealers included AC McLoon and Company.
While in the early years, AC McLoon sold dried fish and canned fruits and vegetables in addition to selling lobsters, the operation eventually grew to become the largest lobster dealer in the United States.
Rockland eventually marketed and promoted its way to becoming known as the lobster capital of the world.
A title it still claims today as evidenced by the tonnage of lobsters harvested in the Rockland area, and celebrated by the huge crowds that gather annually for the five day Maine Lobster Festival.
(gentle music) In Rockland in the late 1940s through the 1950s, the Lobster Festival was the premier event every summer, from the crowning of the sea goddess to the appearance of King Neptune, the Saturday morning parade, the consumption of lobsters from the world's largest lobster cooker and the growing variety of other activities at the public landing, the festival was essentially a volunteer produced celebration of Rockland as the lobster capital of the world that brought the community together and lured lots of people from around the state and from away.
While the inaugural lobster festival was held in Camden in 1947, the event shifted to Rockland the following year, and Rockland has been the festival's home for more than 70 years.
(upbeat music) (gentle music) - But there is still an ethic, a reality that's very much alive.
You don't have to scratch too deep, if you know where you are down on the waterfront in Rockland and you could still smell diesel and sweat and blood and hydraulic fluid and fish.
I hope, and I expect that Rockland is well positioned to have some continuity in its working waterfront.
I mean, you know I'm sure coastal Maine, which is over 3000 miles if you look at all the saltwater influence shoreline, all of it is 3,200 miles, 3,500 miles, only 20 miles of which, less than 20 miles of which is still working waterfront.
And Rockland has a not insignificant amount of that 20 miles that's left in the whole state of Maine.
So I think Rockland maintaining its relationship to the sea, to the bay and what lies beyond is really critical in helping to define the essence, the character, the the mojo of Rockland.
- [Narrator] "The sea is forever quivering.
The shore is forever still, and the boy who was born in a seacoast town is born with a dual will.
The sand and the rocks and the beaches him to stay.
While every wave that breaches is a nudge to be up and away."
The ending of the fish packing and rendering industry in Rockland paved the way for a revitalized waterfront that has in turn contributed to the overall health of the downtown economy.
When the city council authorized the hiring of Rockland's first full-time harbor master in 1992, there were only 80 moorings in the harbor.
The result of a decline in the fishing industry and Rockland's negative reputation as a yachting destination, a reputation that had prevailed for decades.
- In my mind, one of the the great things that happened was Rockland got itself a great harbor master, that was the late Ken Rich, wonderful guy, great guy, really cared.
Everything he did was done with passion, with gusto, and he really cared, he was a people guy and he took Rockland's harbor and basically turned it around.
What was once a joke, recreational yachties wouldn't be found dead in Rockland Harbor.
They would not sully their glistening halls with the waters of this sort of perceived industrial hell hole.
The old saying Camden by the sea, Rockland by the smell.
Well, there was truth to it, of course.
- [Narrator] By the time of the first full-time harbor master's departure in 1997, the number of moorings had mushroomed to more than 400.
By 2010, there were 650 moorings.
- A series of successive really good harbor masters have kept the harbor right up there, functioning facilities, there's energy, it's clean, Rockland Harbor, a destination, who would've funk it?
(gentle music) - [Narrator] In the beginning decades of the 20th century, the sudden decline of granite quarrying and the advent of the automobile combined to decimate many of the economies on the islands located along the main coast.
In the 1890s, there were 300 year round unbridged island communities in the Gulf of Maine.
Today there are only 15.
In 1983, the Island Institute was founded by Philip Conkling and co-founded by Peter Ralston, focusing its attention on these troubled island communities.
- The vision, which was really Phillip's for the institute started to coalesce and there were a few of us there at the very beginning, Phil and I basically technically co-founded it.
There's certainly other people around then, the idea was the institute would help year round island community sustain themselves.
And from there, connected to the offshore island year round communities are the mainland towns.
We knew from get go that we wanted to base the institute, headquarter the institute in Rockland.
The ferries go outta Rockland of course to service the islands.
But there was no doubt ever that we would base the institute in Rockland, a working town, not a fancy town, a working town.
One of the best things we ever did.
- [Narrator] The institute delivers on its mission through its programs to keep island living affordable for a wide range of families through its programs to preserve and strengthen the working waterfront for fishing and other marine based businesses.
In addition, they work to help islanders diversify and broaden their economic bases in the 21st century by improving educational opportunities for island families.
Today the institute is working to build coalitions to meet the challenges facing Maine's islands and other coastal communities, with an emphasis on the impact of climate change and the resulting rising sea levels.
Perhaps most important to the long-term sustainability of the 15 Maine islands with year-round residents is the six vessel fleet that makes up the Maine State ferry service.
The fairies are a critical lifeline between the island communities and the mainland.
And no organization is more vital to maintaining this lifeline than the Prock Marine Company.
Founded in 1938 and headquartered in Rockland, Prock Marine is committed to preserving the quality of life of Maine's island communities and the Gulf of Maine region as a whole.
- The little main coastal city that could, and has, and that's Rockland.
- [Narrator] In addition to the lobster capital of the world, in recent years, Rockland has acquired another moniker, that of the art capital of Maine.
At first, it may seem that this newest designation is a turn away from the maritime history so prevalent throughout Rockland's journey.
However, a closer look at the institution that formed the foundation of Rockland's emergence into today's creative economy reveals yet another tributary of rich maritime heritage.
The Farnsworth family traces its roots back four generations in mid coast Maine, highlighted by a celebrated sea captain and a prosperous lime Barron.
But it is the reclusive daughter of William Farnsworth the Fourth that connects the maritime heritage and Farnsworth family legacy to Rockland's most recent reimagining, Lucy Farnsworth was a recluse for much of her adult life.
Yet this remarkable woman whose devotion to her family was preeminent, did care about her community and left a legacy that has become the cornerstone of Rockland's remarkable renewal.
Lucy was the sole remaining Farnsworth at the time of her death in 1935.
In her will, she specified that she wanted a building constructed to honor her father.
That building to be labeled the William A Farnsworth Memorial Library, the trustees of her estate began the evolution of her bequest, building a collection of art that was at the heart of the transformation, from a library with an art gallery into the Farnsworth Art Museum we know today, like the history of the city itself, much of the art that forms the Farnsworth's permanent collection has themes and imagery connected to the rich maritime traditions of the city in which it resides.
- [Narrator] Main Street has filled with a lot of art related businesses, which is great.
I mean, real jobs, real money, real pull to a lot of people.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Today, the community's resurgence is driven by the splendor of its natural setting, whether visitors come simply to enjoy the tranquility of the sea or to capture it in an original work of art, Rockland's continued success is built upon a solid foundation of its rich maritime heritage, linked to the ultimate natural resource.
Its sublime location at the mouth of the expansive breathtakingly beautiful Penobscot Bay.