North Haven, Maine

North Haven is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States, in Penobscot Bay. A year-round island community and is located in the town. The population was 381 at the 2000 census. North Haven is accessed by three-times daily ferry service from Rockland, Maine, or by air taxi from the Rockland airport. Fox Islands Thoroughfare is the site of Goose Rocks Light.


As early as 3300 BC, the island was visited by the Red Paint People. Later it became part of the territory of the Penobscot Abenaki Indians, who hunted and fished in canoes along the coast. Captain Martin Pring, the explorer from Bristol, England, discovered North Haven and Vinalhaven in 1603. He called them the Fox Islands, a name which survives on the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, a mile-wide strait separating the towns which provides passage for boats crossing Penobscot Bay.

Settled in the 1760s, North Haven was originally the North Island of Vinalhaven, from which it was set off and incorporated on June 30, 1846 as Fox Isle. It was changed to North Haven on July 13, 1847. An act was passed by the state legislature in 1850 which gave the majority of island inhabitants "the right to have such roads as they deemed fit." The majority thereupon decided to have no roads at all, or else roads obstructed with gates or bars at the discretion of landowners. Not surprisingly, the minority of inhabitants petitioned to amend the act.

Fishing and farming became chief occupations. The surface of the town is even, and farmers produced hay as a staple crop. Boatbuilding became in important industry, and even now the community has two boatyards. But many inhabitants were fishermen who caught lobsters, scallops and oysters. In the 1880s, the island was discovered by "rusticators," seasonal residents first from Boston, then followed a decade or two later by others from New York and Philadelphia. North Haven is best known today for its sizable summer colony of prominent Northeasterners, drawn to the island for over a century to savor its simple way of life.

The southern side of the Fox Islands Thoroughfare is often informally considered part of North Haven, since Vinalhaven's north shore is nearly a dozen miles from that community's town center. In contrast to Vinalhaven, North Haven's economy relies less on the lobster industry and more on sustaining its summer resort community. Although the island is a popular destination, it actually provides few tourist amenities -- one inn, a grocery store, and two gift shops -- and is instead geared toward those with vacation homes on the island.

North Haven Dinghy

In 1885, William Weld challenged the yachtsmen of North Haven to a race. He used the tender from his yacht Gitana and unsuccessfully raced against a variety of sprit-sailed boats. That winter he went home and had a better dinghy designed and built in Salem, Massachusetts. The next year he beat all contenders. The boat was hauled out at North Haven, and two copies were made by Henry Calderwood. The subsequent race was between Mrs. Cobb, Miss Spencer and Miss Hayward. The first boats had sprit rigs, but this soon gave way to gaff rigs. In 1888, James Osman Brown built four more dinghies. This was at the beginning of J. O. Brown & Sons boatyard. The racing fleet grew over the years. They are still raced out of North Haven and Dark Harbor, making them the oldest continuously raced class in the United States.

Notable summer residents


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 82.5 square miles (213.6 km²), of which, 11.6 square miles (30.1 km²) of it is land and 70.8 square miles (183.5 km²) of it (85.89%) is water. At its widest points, the island of North Haven is roughly long and wide. It is situated in Penobscot Bay and the Gulf of Maine, part of the Atlantic Ocean.


As of the census of 2000, there were 381 people, 162 households, and 109 families residing in the town. The population density was 32.7 people per square mile (12.6/km²). There were 488 housing units at an average density of 41.9/sq mi (16.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.28% White, 1.05% African American, 3.15% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.36% of the population.

There were 162 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.4% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 103.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $40,446, and the median income for a family was $42,361. Males had a median income of $31,071 versus $16,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,112. About 4.4% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.


North Haven is unusual among Maine island communities for offering a K-12 school whereas most islands only have elementary schools and tuition their high school students to high schools on the mainland (Vinalhaven and Islesboro are the only other islands to offer K-12 education).

Sites of interest


Further reading

External links

Search another word or see North_Haven,_Maineon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature