Town of Owls Head



Owls Head, which had been a part of South Thomaston, became a town on July 9, 1921. Included in this section were the areas of Ash Point, Ingraham’s Hill, Crescent Beach, Holiday Beach, Ballyhac, and of course the section where the Owls Head lighthouse is located.

People in this Owls Head area had been concerned about problems involving the one room schools over the years. They felt that the five schools here had been neglected, while the schools in the South Thomaston Village area (the Keag) were receiving all the benefits.  The dividing line between Owls Head and South Thomaston begins on the Dublin Road (off the Ash Point Road) at the bridge, with the Town’s area extending completely around the shore to the Rockland City line (at Ingraham’s Hill).

It is generally believed the Town derived its name from sailors who in 1759 observed the tall headland of trap rock extending far into the water in the extreme northeastern end of the town (the lighthouse area) and imagined that it bore a resemblance to the neck and head of an owl.

When Owls Head was visited by Champlain in 1605, it was called Bedabedec Point the Indian word meaning, “Cape of the Winds”. Some historians claim the name is of Indian origin and is expressed in their language by the word, “Mecadacut”, meaning “Owls Head”.

The first town meeting following incorporation was held on August 29, 1921, at 6:30 PM at the Owls Head School house situated across from the present fire station. The meeting was called to order by Rodney E. Feyler, Justice of the Peace. During the balloting for Moderator, 192 votes were cast with C. Vey Holman elected over Charles Crowley.

Other officers elected were James A. Collins, Town Clerk; Carl Libby, 1st Selectman; Arthur C. Robbins, 2nd Selectman; Perley Fiske, 3rd Selectman; Charles Livingston, Tax Collector and Treasurer; Henry Closson road Commissioner. Elected to the school board were Mrs. Lura Whalen, Mrs. Belle Collins and Mrs. Edith Young. Harold W. Philbrook, John F. Whalen and John Garnett were appointed constables; Albert Guptill, truant officer and Arthur A. Bain, health officer. The meeting was adjourned to September 26, 1921 for action on various appropriations.

The first regular Town meeting of 1922 was held on March 20 at 10 AM at the Pavillion (part of the Crescent Beach Inn), Crescent beach, with action on 37 articles. Allan B. Borgerson served as moderator. James A. Collins was reelected as Town Clerk and Carl Libby was reelected as 1st Selectman. However, following the election of John Whalen as 2nd Selectmen and Maynard Curtis as 3rd Selectman, Carl Libby resigned at the meeting and Harold W. Philbrook was elected in his place. Mrs. Abbie Heard was chosen for the school board for three years. Also reelected were Charles Livingston, Tax Collector and Treasurer and Henry Closson, Road Commissioner. Walter L. Snowman was appointed constable.

There was always a great amount of sociability in Owls Head, with dances, parties and other activities. There were stores jointly operated along with the post offices, both at Owls Head Village and Ash Point Village. This created a lot of daily social activity as well as the passing along of information, such as deaths, weddings, the birth of a child and anything else that was newsworthy. The notices of town meetings were always posted here, followed by “discussion” groups, concerning the articles in the Town Warrant.

There were several so-called ice cream parlors where people could meet socially. One of these was in the building now housing the Post Office. Dances were also held on the second floor. Wherever there was a large extra room or a large farmhouse available, dances were apt to be held.

The beautiful light house and beach areas in Town drew many tourists who at the time arrived in Rockland by train or the Boston boat. They stayed at the several inns and boarding houses in town.

Many cottages were built along the beautiful beach areas including all of Ash Point, Crescent Beach, Hendrickson’s Point, Ginn Point, and Holiday Beach. Some were also built at the Owls Head harbor area where the Owls Head Inn, formerly the Adam’s House, (built by Joshua Adams) was located. The old Inn has been used as a private residence since 1941.

Railway Service

The summertime open car service to Crescent Beach was most popular. The electric line was organized originally in 1902 as the Rockland, South Thomaston and Owls Head Railway, with the line to Crescent Beach completed in 1905. The railway soon went into receivership and was reorganized in 1906 with power purchased and leased from the Rockland, Thomaston and Camden Line. Just two years later another new company was formed and service to So. Thomaston was completed in 1913-14.

On Sept. 3, 1914, a car left the tracks after crossing a trestle in Maloney’s field, near Head-of- the Bay and overturned. One woman was killed instantly, and several other persons injured. Ambitious plans to continue the line to Tenant’s Harbor and thence to Port Clyde, never got off the ground, due to continued financial difficulties. The fatal accident also had much to do with the trolley line’s going out of business for good in 1917-18, in terms of claims and increased operating costs.


There were three churches in Town in 1921, the Owls Head Baptist Church, the Ash Point Church and the Church at Ingraham’s Hill. Of those three churches, only one, the Owls Head Baptist Church at the village, remains as a place of worship.

The Ash Point Church, on the Ash Point Road (opposite the Dublin Road), was razed in 1956 and money in the treasury given to the Owls Head Church along with the pews and other items of furniture. For many years before its razing, there were no church services held there. It was, however, used for several weddings, the last two being Virginia Foster of Ash Point and Dick Staples of Rockland on May 29, 1947, and Norma Curtis of Ash Point and Howard Meserve of Westbrook on October 10, 1947.

The late Lawson and Edna Small were owners of the parsonage in which they lived for many years prior to and after the razing of the church. Following their death, their son and daughter-in-law Elmer and Dorothy Small lived there until the property was taken in 1993 by Knox County Airport.

The Church at Ingraham’s Hill was purchased by Alfred and Florence Young and converted into a private home between 1948 and 1950. When the new foundation and cellar were constructed the position of the former church was changed so that the length of the building was parallel to the highway with a front entrance placed in the center of the home.


There were at least six schools here when Owls Head separated from So. Thomaston: one at Ballyhac off the Dublin Rd.; one at Ash Point; one across from the present fire station; one at Ingraham’s Hill and one at the Head-of-the-Bay which later became the Owls Head Grange Hall. The Timber Hill School near Crescent Beach was first sold to Uno Ilvonen. Eventually the building was razed, and a home built on the site by the late Lewis Yattaw. Nearby, a store called Timber Hill Market was operated in a building built by Walter and Joanna Yattaw. That market was on property that had been part of the Clyde Whitcher estate.

When the Central School was built in 1952 the three schools which had been in operation (Ash Point, Ingraham’s Hill, and Timber Hill) were closed and sold. Jean and Bertram J. McClure lived in the Ingraham’s Hill School with their two children, Gloria and Charles, sometime before 1953. Their daughter Heather who was born in 1953 was brought back to this home following her birth in Rockland. The McClure family lived there a year or so while their own home was being built next door on land purchased by his parents, Etta and Michael McClure. After the McClures moved out and sometime later, the building was used for storage until the roof collapsed during a heavy ice storm making it unusable from then on. Nothing remains of it today.

The school at Ash Point, owned by Hazel Learned Bohn of Albuquerque, NM was demolished by burning as a training practice in 1988 by the Owls Head Fire Department.

Village Library

On the evening of October 10, 1927 a meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Joseph G. Maddocks for the purpose of forming a library association. Officers chosen to serve for a term of five years were: president, Mrs. Bertha Borgerson; vice-president, Henry E. White; secretary-treasurer, Miss Ella L. Maddocks and trustees, Vinal B. Perry, Allan B. Borgerson, and Parker S. Merriam. First Librarian was Mrs. Celia Leadbetter (mother of Wendell Leadbetter).

It was voted to name the association the Owls Head Village Library Association. Land was purchased from Henry E. White, pastor of the Baptist Church, for the sum of $50.00 with Vinal Perry chairman of the building committee and Mr. White as boss carpenter.

The building was constructed by the men of the community and contained a community room and kitchen as well as the library section. Funds for the construction were raised through sales and suppers with many generous gifts of money also contributed by friends.

On February 4, 1928 the first library books were given out from the library building. Previously books had been distributed from what is now the Owls Head Post Office.

Miss Winifred Fitch served about 18 years as librarian retiring in 1967. Mrs. Alfred (Julie) Hill of Ash Point replaced Miss Fitch in 1968. Mary Dyer replaced Mrs. Hill as librarian. Mary Dyer, to whom the Children’s Room is dedicated, took over the running of the library until around 1998. At that point the reins were given to Deena Carafelli as librarian and then Pat Stephen.

The Owls Head Village Library continues to be a volunteer organization with a self-checkout system. They carry many Maine books, children’s books, DVD’s, large print books, biographies and have internet access for our patrons. They do not charge late fees but ask that people respect the library materials and return them in a timely and good condition.

Fire Department

The Owls Head Volunteer Fire Company was formed following approval at a special town meeting on March 30, 1953. Following its incorporation that year, Owen Weeks was elected as the first fire chief and Dr. W. Bradford Adams, first president. A fire truck was purchased from Camden. Prior to the Town’s own fire department, Owls Head contracted with Rockland for fire protection.

The old schoolhouse directly across from the present fire station was used by the department until the new station also containing a town office and vault was built at a cost of $ 14,000. Land for the fire station site was given by Maynard Bray. A well was drilled on the station property. The steel building was dedicated on August 14,1960 in memory of Dr. W. Bradford Adams. In addition to town appropriations, public suppers, dances and gifts of money have supported the department. Drills and work sessions are held regularly, plus training schools.

The pond and land in the Village owned by Myra Scammon was donated by her to the Town in 1954 as a skating pond. Later it became a fire pond and continues to serve this double purpose even today. Fire ponds were constructed in several areas of the town e.g. the Lighthouse Rd., and Ash Point, at the entrance of Lucia Beach Rd.


The earliest recorded burial in Owls Head is that of William Heard in October 1808 at Ash Point. A stone in the Ash Point Cemetery records this date, but he was believed to be buried near the family homestead, which is on or near the present Charles Siletti property. Eleven cemeteries are located in Owls Head and much history can be found in each of them. At the present time, there are available lots at the new Owls Head Cemetery which is located at the corner of Dublin and Ash Point Drive. Information on available lots can be picked up at the Town Office as well as cemetery listings.


The Adams/Brown shipyard located just south of the Ocean House (near Owls Head Harbor) was the only large commercial shipbuilding operation in the Owls Head area.

John Adams, a blacksmith, operated a small shipyard, prior to the Adams/Brown era, in almost the same location. The first ship built by Joshua Adams was a small coaster. Adams died in 1829 and his son Joshua C. Adams along with Elisha Brown carried on a prosperous ship building trade. It is recorded that they employed over 150 workers during the peak shipbuilding years (1850-1855). Some of the ships listed as being built at the Adams/Brown yard were: Jo 287 t., Melita 198 t., the schooners Harbinger 98 t., and Helen 272 t. The Brigantine Newsboy, one of the better-known ships built in 1854 by Elisha Brown, was also captained by Elisha Brown and a Captain Leckie. She was engaged in the so-called triangular trade carrying lumber and manufactured goods from New England to the Mediterranean, then transporting wine, oil, and fruits to the West Indies, then back to New England with rum, molasses, and sugar. The Newsboy has been the subject of several paintings, one of which is by local artist Edgar Crockett, and presently hangs in the Town Office.

After the flourish of activity in the mid – 1800’s, shipbuilding as a commercial venture was never revived. But many small boats for fishing and pleasure have been built by individuals.

Larger fishing boats built in town were the Helen Mae built by Charles Ross at Holiday Beach; and built in the harbor area were the Carl An Sul by Carl Reed, and the Irene Alton by Bernard Raynes.

Knox County Regional Airport

As World War II ended, Owls Head found itself with a moderate size airport in its midst. At the time, few people realized the impact this was to have, not only on the town itself, but also upon the surrounding midcoast area. In their recent book, “Homefront on Penobscot Bay” (1991), Merrriam, Molloy, and Sylvester relate the history of the airport in considerable and interesting detail, including some of the activities that revolved around it during the war years.

Apparently, there were a number of individuals in the Rockland area who had an avid interest in aviation as it began to develop, and by 1930 this had resulted in the establishment of the Curtiss-Wright airport at the site of the present South School and the adjoining athletic field. However, rapid advances in aviation technology soon made this field obsolete for commercial use, so in 1938 the New England Regional Planning Commission recommended it be upgraded. However, the impending threat of U.S. involvement in the war soon changed the scope and greatly accelerated the pace of the project.

In the interest of national defense, the federal government decided that a modem military airport was to be located in the general area. After studying a number of possible sites, Owls Head was decided upon.