Friday, January 22, 2010

Islands of Casco Bay: Clapboard, Stave & Cushing Islandss "Pastures"

Today we offer some history on Clapboard, the nearby Stave (any guess as to where they got their names), Bangs and Cushing Islands.

Trips to Clapboard Island were made by men from Richard Trelawney's fishing station on Richmond Island off of Cape Elizabeth. Workers would make small-boat excursions to Clapboard Island to cut timber and saw it into lumber. Guess what that used the lumber for?... That's right, clapboards. Providing an excellent example of Yankee ingenuity, the island quickly became know as Clapboard Island. Oddly enough, on nearby Stave Island, they cut barrel staves.

At one point Bangs Islands belonged to Joshua Bangs, you see where the name came from. In 1762 the island was purchased by Ezekiel Cushing for $2,300. $2,300 was an expensive price tag which remained higher than even some of the Casco Bay islands sold for in the 1960s! Upon purchasing the island, Ezekiel quickly renamed it Cushing Island.

Some time passed and Ezekiel sold the island back to Joshua Bangs. He renamed it Bangs Islands. Joshua's daughter inherited the island and married Jedediah Preble. Eventually, their son, the famous Commodore Edward Preble, father of the US Navy, inherited the island.

Commodore Preble then sold the island to Lemuel Cushing, a distant cousin of Ezekiel, and the name changed once again back to Cushing and has remained so since!

CHART metalwork's exhibit the "Islands of Casco Bay" is on display through the end of January at Hilltop Coffee Shop, 90 Congress St., Portland, ME. "Pastures" features a silver lapel pin featuring Clapboard Island, a silver tie tack featuring Cow Island, a bronze zipper pull featuring Basket Island and a silver zipper pull featuring Cushing Island. The jewelry can be purchased separately or as a collection with frame and story...

...or, you can always customize your own special piece.

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