News Release

Blue Duck Ships Store leased to Islesford Boatworks

Historic building on coast
The Blue Duck on Little Cranberry Island

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: May 23, 2018

Contact: Christie Anastasia, 207-288-8806

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – On May 17, 2018 Islesford Boatworks, a community-based non-profit organization, entered into a new agreement with the National Park Service to lease the historic Blue Duck Ships Store. Islesford Boatworks will host boatbuilding programs in the Blue Duck starting this summer on Little Cranberry Island. The Blue Duck is located across the lawn from the Islesford Historical Museum.

 “Thanks to this lease with Islesford Boatworks, we will improve the condition of this historic building, restore a connection to the waterfront for the Islesford community and benefit kids and adults who participate in Islesford Boatworks’ programs,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

As part of Islesford Boatworks’ lease of the Blue Duck, they will carefully rehabilitate the building over the next two to three years, keeping in mind its historic integrity. Islesford Boatworks will use the Blue Duck as a demonstration space and teaching shop, highlighting traditional boatbuilding techniques to the island community and summer visitors. Islesford Boatworks uses the medium of boatbuilding to preserve the local maritime legacy and to teach important educational skills to children, teens, and adults.

The Blue Duck Ships Store, also known as the Hadlock Store, is located on Islesford, or Little Cranberry Island, in the Town of the Cranberry Isles, Maine. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally used by the Hadlock family as a ship’s store and then as a general store and a sail loft. The building was then sold to William Otis Sawtelle, the founder of the Islesford Historical Society. Sawtelle used the structure as an art gallery and to display his collection of artifacts devoted to the history of the region until the collection was moved to the Islesford Museum in 1927. In recent years the National Park Service had used the Blue Duck for storage. While the exterior of the building has been maintained, the interior has fallen into disrepair because of lack of use. 

In August 2017 the National Park Service announced it was seeking proposals from interested parties to lease the Blue Duck Ships Store building within Acadia National Park. The National Park Service was interested in finding an opportunity to re-open a building that had been closed for many years and an even greater opportunity to preserve an important historical building on Islesford. The National Park Service considered proposals that ensured the historic and architectural values of the property would be preserved. The proposed use of the property also needed to be compatible with preservation, protection, and visitor enjoyment of the park area. The National Park Service reviewed proposals through an evaluation panel and the final selection was made by the National Park Service Regional Director, Northeast Region.

To learn more about Islesford Boatworks visit

To view operating hours of the Islesford Historical Museum, visit

Last updated: May 23, 2018

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PO Box 177
Bar Harbor , ME 04609


207 288-3338

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