Aug. 12, 1873: President Ulysses S. Grant arrives in Augusta for a multi-day visit at U.S. House Speaker James G. Blaine’s Augusta residence, the future Maine governors’ mansion.

It is Grant’s third trip to Augusta. The first occurred in August 1865, four months after the conclusion of the Civil War, in which Grant was the last commander of the Union army.

Aug. 12, 1901: George Bucknam Dorr receives a letter from Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University, asking him to attend a meeting the next day at Seal Harbor to discuss setting aside land on Mount Desert Island for the public’s perpetual use.

George B. Dorr and Charles W. Eliot on the shore of Jordan Pond. Image courtesy of the National Park Service

Sowing the seeds that eventually will grow into Acadia National Park, they form a corporation, with Eliot as its president and Dorr its vice president.

After a few minor acquisitions, the corporation’s trustees receive their first major land gift – the Bowl and Beehive tract on Newport Mountain. This forms the nucleus of what in 1916 becomes Sieur de Monts National Monument; and in 1919, the national park.

President Vacations in Maine. Under Secretary of the Navy Paul Fay, President Kennedy, Patricia Kennedy Lawford. Boothbay Harbor, ME, aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter “Guardian 1”. Photo 194209 courtesy of the National Archives

Aug. 12, 1962: Taking the wheel of the U.S. Coast Guard yacht Manitou, President John F. Kennedy begins a weekend getaway off the coast of Boothbay Harbor with his family. They travel to John’s Island, located in John’s Bay and owned by former heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney.

His only mainland activity is attending Mass on Sunday morning, Sept. 14, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Boothbay Harbor. When a boat carrying the president arrives from the island, it is going too fast and it breaks four pilings on Kenneth Brown’s wharf. Brown says later he received compensation for the damage.

President John F. Kennedy at the helm of the U.S. Coast Guard Yacht “Manitou” in Boothbay Harbor on Aug. 12, 1962. Photo by Robert Knudsen courtesy of the National Archives

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.