• Wooded river with church along banks

    Maine Acadian Culture

    Maine

Acadian Landing & Tante Blanche Museum

Artifacts in the Tante Blanche Museum

Artifacts in the Tante Blanche Museum

NPS/Meg Scheid

Mid-June to early September: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Madawaska Historical Society
Write: c/o Madawaska Public Library
Main Street
Madawaska, Maine 04756

Acadian Landing Site
Located in St. David Parish, Madawaska, Maine, the Acadian Landing Site is a National Register property that commemorates the landing of the first Acadian settlers in the upper St. John Valley.

Acadian Cross Historic Shrine, a 14 foot marble cross represents the first cross erected in 1785 by the first Acadians settlers who set foot in the valley after canoeing up the St. John River. The cross represents their gratitude for their safe haven and a land of their own. Today some religious and ceremonial services are occasionally held at the site. It is owned by the Madawaska Historical Society.

Tante Blanche Museum
The Madawaska Historical Society’s museum is a 1970s log building named for Marguerite Blanche Thibodeau Cyr in honor of her heroic deeds during the 1797 famine. In addition to the Acadian Landing Site and the museum, two adjacent historical society buildings are part of the museum complex: a nineteenth‑century schoolhouse and the Fred Albert House. Collections of artifacts (especially related to Acadian textile manufacture and domestic furnishings) are located in the buildings.

Fred Albert House
Constructed in the mid‑19th century, the Fred Albert House has many features of form and construction that may be considered distinctively Maine Acadian. Its architectural history and the histories of the residents illustrate many of the elements of Maine Acadian heritage.

The Fred Albert House once stood in Madawaska on the St. John River. Last occupied in 1970, the house was dedicated as a museum in 1990. Its architectural characteristics suggest that Luke Albert (1818–1888) or his father, Anselme Albert, was the builder. François Albert Jr. and his wife Marie Anne moved to the Madawaska territory from Quebec. As early settlers they had an opportunity to choose their land, and were able to secure property along a brook that had potential as a mill site. The deed that transfers the property from François Albert Jr. to his son Anselme makes it clear that the family was living there by 1806.

The one‑and‑a‑half‑story Albert House has the typical Georgian proportions and square‑hewn log (pièce‑sur‑pièce) wall construction of other 19th‑century houses in the valley. In the house, pièce‑sur‑pièce à tenons en coulisse wall construction is combined with half‑dovetail joinery at the corners. The Albert House appears to have had only a central chimney. Like many other upper St. John Valley houses of the mid‑19th century, the Albert House has ship knees fitted into the attic.

Madawaska School District No. 1
Built circa 1870, this one‑room schoolhouse is a simple wooden structure with plank walls and pine‑board floors. The schoolhouse was the first in the area to be built with an enclosed entrance, known in French as a tambour. Its single room was heated by a small box wood stove with a flue exiting at the center of the room.

When the school closed in 1930 the schoolhouse fell into disrepair. In 1976 the Madawaska Historical Society moved it three miles north to its present location. Today the interior is furnished with artifacts, textbooks, and basic teaching aids of the period, as well as the original wooden blackboard.

 

Did You Know?

Former Mont Carmel Church in Lille, Maine

French language, family, religion, and attachment to the land and waterways of the Upper St. John Valley are key identifiers of Maine Acadian identity.