MT. VERNON – The former Spruce Point Camps, now Bearnstow, has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places, according to Earl G. Shettleworth Jr., director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, whose staff prepared the nomination.

The designation indicates that the property has been documented, evaluated and considered worthy of preservation and protection as part of the nation’s cultural heritage.

Significant in the development of Maine’s outdoor image were the sporting camps that catered to those who sought an authentic “wilderness experience” in the later decades of the 19th century.

The camps, which were invariably located on rivers and lakes or set in vast tracts of forest, helped to foster the image by developing isolated retreats that offered hunting and/or fishing.

While the amenities offered by the camps varied from rustic cabins with open fire cooking to upscale lodges with refined dining rooms, each promised fresh air, relaxation, scenery and hunting or fishing with trained guides.

Spruce Point Camps were established on Parker Pond by 1915, first as Steven’s Camps and later renamed Spruce Point Camps in 1922. The 15 buildings were erected between c. 1906 and 1938 and included 10 cabins, two sheds, an employee cabin, a lodge and a dining hall.

The survival of the small outfit and their location in the southern section of the state add to their significance as an example of the recreational form and expand understanding of its distribution throughout the state.

As such, the former Spruce Point Camps were listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the local level as a significant example of a recreational complex in the tradition of the Maine sporting camp.


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