Higgins Barn

Higgins Barn, the over 200-year-old English barn located on Indian Point, holds significance as a reminder of Mount Desert Island’s early settlement and agricultural past [1] and was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2004.

After Samuel Champlain’s discovery of the island in 1604 [2], Mount Desert Island became largely French-controlled and experienced consistent impositions from the English to the south [3], including the destruction of a French Jesuit mission [4] by the English in 1613 [5]. During the 1700s, the western half of Mount Desert Island came under English control, specifically by Massachusetts governor Francis Bernard until the conclusion of the Revolutionary War [6]. At that time, the English land was granted to John Bernard (Francis’s son) and Marie Theresa de Gregoire, both of whom divided and sold the land to various landlords [7].

The suspected builder of the Higgins Barn, Ichabod Higgins, moved to the area while the island was under Bernard ownership in 1778 [8], and it is believed that the island’s 06 - higgins barn 2change of ownership had little effect on these early settlers [9]. Ichabod Higgins moved to Mount Desert Island with his father to join other family members, and for over 200 years the Higgins family has owned and worked the land around the barn [10]. While the Higgins family maintained their farm, much of the rest of the island transitioned from agriculture and fishing in the first half of the nineteenth century, through the cottage era, and a growing tourism industry to the present [11].

Today, the Higgins Barn remains, according to a Bangor Daily News article about a tour of Mount Desert Island barns, as “Rare evidence of the region’s agricultural heritage” [12].

By Marisa Higgins


[1] National Register of Historic Places. Higgins Barn, Indian Point, Maine. National Register #03001502; Fontaine, Wendy N. “Barn tour to throw open door on history 7 island structures go public Saturday.” Bangor Daily News. August 2, 2006. http://archive.bangordailynews.com/2006/08/02/barn-tour-to-throw-open-door-on-history-7-island-structures-go-public-saturday/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid; “Town History.” Bar Harbor Historical Society. accessed December 6, 2015. https://www.barharborhistorical.org/new/wordpress/town-history/.

[4] This is the namesake of the St. Saviors Congregation.

[5] National Park Service. “The History of Acadia National Park.” U.S. Department of the Interior. Accessed December 6, 2015. http://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/upload/history.pdf.

[6] Register #03001502; “Town History”; National Park Service.

[7] National Park Service.

[8] Register #03001502.

[9] National Park Service.

[10] Register #03001502.

[11] Ibid; “Town History”; National Park Service; “What Survives: La Rochelle.” The Downeast Dilettante: Tales & Opinions From Maine Regarding Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Landscape, & Occasional Whims. September 5, 2011. http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-survives-la-rochelle.html.

[12] Fontaine 2006.

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