Coastal Maine, especially the rugged Downeast coast, is a hotbed for historical hullabaloo. One of the first significant naval battles in the Revolutionary War (The Battle of the Margaretta) took place in the chilly waters of the Machias River. Machias is much more historically significant than many realize. For example: did you know that there is a tunnel beneath Court Street that may have been used for transporting freed slaves? The entrance to the tunnel was located on the corner of Court Street and Broadway, not far from the former location of a black settlement in Machias called Atusville.
The ghost town of Riceville has been something I've been interested in for quite a long time now. Back in 2012 when I first stumbled upon it, I was immediately intrigued by its history and the circumstances of its demise. In the 1860s, the F. Shaw and Brothers Company acquired a back extract works on the shore of Buffalo Stream in Township 39. The plant was extensive and included a boarding house for workers. After it changed hands sometime later, the Hancock Leather Company got its hands on it and Francis, James, and John Rice all began doing business out of the township, manufacturing sole leather by tanning raw buffalo hide shipped into the town. They set up a post office and a schoolhouse, and just like that, Riceville was born. It experienced a few years of life until 1905, when the tannery burned down and most of the residents of the village were quick to scatter to surrounding towns. By 1910, the town was completely abandoned.
This past Saturday (10/10/15) we all decided to head out to Riceville to get a few more pictures and accomplish some milestones we hadn't really gotten around to doing before. First of all, I had really wanted to cross the stream and get to the cemetery. Second of all, I wanted to hike the main road going through the town and see what we could find along the way. I'd also expressed some interest in getting better, higher resolution photos of some different features of the town to share with you all and to capture the town before it all eventually becomes one with nature (and it's getting there!)
After a three year run, I'm sad to say I'm discontinuing production of video content. However, fear not! The Facebook group has become bigger than I could have ever imagined three years ago and people are posting content left and right. If you want to join in on the action, head on over there using the link in the sidebar!
Johanna Billings, a reporter for the Washington County bureau of the Bangor Daily News, has written a wonderful article about an exploration that she took part in at Fort Foster in East Machias. To read it, click here.
Today marks three years of Abandonment of Maine. Remembering three years ago today brings back bittersweet memories of uncertainty, a sense of ambition and a willingness to explore. The Maine woods hold secrets ready to be uncovered by those brave enough to delve into the dense forest with the determination to come out unscathed. Three years ago today, I made the decision to do just that.
Hi everyone! It has recently come to my attention that I can't simply conjure up abandoned places. In light of these new circumstances, I'm going to ask those of you reading this post to head over to the Facebook group, which you can find in the link bar to your left. Just send a member request, and tell us what you know! It would be greatly appreciated by myself and the rest of the crew.
The Blunt Youth Radio project is a youth-driven cohort which produces an hour-long call-in talk show airing Monday nights from 7:30 to 8:30 EST on WMPG (90.9 FM, 104.1 FM) out of the Greater Portland area. On Monday November 17, hosts Matt Osman, Milena Germon, and Violet Hues will touch upon the topic of urban exploring. Ryan Prescott of Abandonment of Maine will be a phone guest. If you or a friend live in Portland and are interested in listening to this program, tune in to 90.9 or 104.1 on the FM dial. If you want to listen from afar, head to WMPG's streaming MP3 feed to listen in a music player such as Windows Media Player or iTunes.
There are plenty of people and groups that claim to be explorers of the rural and urban alike, and afterward proving themselves unworthy of the title by destroying property. This is not only disconcerting to us actual explorer-types, but it is also slowly making authorities wary of anybody that steps foot onto a parcel of land that nobody has touched in thirty years. So, here we go; my own list of rules for urban and rural exploration, and for exploration in general.
1. Don't break stuff!
It seems inanely obvious. However; the truth is, a lot of people apparently don't know this. I was talking to a friend of mine roughly two years ago about a house I had explored about a week prior to the conversation. I had chimed in with the fact that the house was heavily vandalized, and a smile began to form on his face. At the mention of the toilet having been pushed through the second floor and into a closet on the first, he finally admitted to having done the damage himself.
2. Leave it as you found it!
Uh... friends of mine... have been known to scoop up a bottle or two off of the ground, in good faith of course. However, my main focus with this rule is littering. Nothing pains me more than to see a beer can (mind you, one from this century) or three or nine strewn about the remnants of a significant historical site. Just pocket your trash and throw it somewhere more suitable. (I'll leave it up to you to define 'suitable.')
3. Unless already so, do not disclose a location publicly.
When I say "location", I am referring to a set of coordinates, or incredibly accurate directions. I will disclose a rough location to those inquiring by e-mail, but if your information could not have been located by somebody else (a.k.a. inside sources, or a maiden discovery), do not disclose! Most of the information I use to find locations is readily available on the Internet. If you are interested in exploring something we've seen before, I encourage you to look for it yourself.
That's about it. Anybody who has an addition, comment it!
In little old Township 26, there isn't much to be seen other than a few camps, small lakes, and some wildlife. That is, if you stick to the main roads. Watch as we venture into the woods and discover the remnants of an era past.
I'm not really sure when I consider Abandonment of Maine to have started, but I usually go with May 4th, 2012. Considering that, happy birthday AoM! It's been two years and research and planning is still going forward to make this season a good one.