Southport, ME, April 13, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- She may be turning 65, but she's nowhere near ready to retire. This April marks the 65th anniversary of the reopening of Southport's Newagen Seaside Inn after a massive fire burned the original inn to the ground. The inn's history is rich, resulting in its recent induction into the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
In the early 1900s, the family of Massachusetts businessman Joshua Brooks discovered Cape Newagen while visiting friends in Wiscasset. Brooks found an old boarding house and decided to turn it into a 31 room inn (which eventually grew to over 200 rooms), despite having no background in the hospitality business. He then convinced the then-bankrupt Lincoln County Power Company to run light lines to Newagen, bringing electricity to the southern end of the island. Advertising proved difficult as no one knew where Newagen was, so Brooks went to Augusta and got Route 27 extended from Wiscasset and Boothbay Harbor all the way to the entrance of Newagen Inn (same as it is today).
On April 13, 1943 the entire inn (1/8 mile long and 3 stories high) burned to the ground. The cause was unknown, but local lore says it was deliberately set as a signal to German U-boats stationed off shore that it was safe to come ashore. That season's opening was only 2 months away and the country was at war. Mr. Brooks sent telegrams to those who had reservations saying the Inn would not open. But once he visited the remains, the dynamic Mr. Brooks would not accept defeat. He found that while wartime regulations prohibited new projects, facilities destroyed by fire could be rebuilt. Continuous telephone calling revealed a stock of lumber here, plumbing equipment there, furniture and kitchen stock. Local fisherman practiced their second vocation of carpentry. With a week to go before the scheduled opening on July 1 and not a speck of paint applied, Mr. Brooks convinced forty painters on a government construction job miles away to spend the week at Newagen putting on a quick-drying paint. Almost miraculously Newagen Inn was ready. A grand anniversary celebration is planned for this fall according to owners, Scott and Corinne Larson of the Larson Group.
The Larson Group based in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, is a privately owned enterprise that owns and operates the Historic Newagen Seaside Inn, Lawnmere Inn, Russell House Restaurant, and True North Events and Catering. For more information, visit www.NewagenInn.com, www.lawnmereinn.com, www.historicrussellhouse.com, and www.truenorthevents.net .