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Unlike the style of today, with everyone wanting a private ocean view, early homes were built close to and facing the town road for easy winter access to the road and one's neighbors.  The shore front was reserved for working structures such as fish shacks, boathouses, wharves, and docks, with an occasional icehouse or smokehouse for preserving fish.

Homes were originally built in a simple practical Cape Cod style: one-and-a-half stories with small rooms and low ceilings to conserve heat in the cold winter months.  Fireplaces supplied the heat.  Chopping wood was hard work, so chimneys were placed in the center of the house, because even the slight warmth of the chimney walls was welcome in the upstairs rooms.

As iron stoves became available and affordable, houses became larger.  Victorian design homes were constructed with stylish accents such as decorative shingles and gingerbread trim on the eaves and porch.

A few houses were built facing the water, mostly on The Pool, to oversee the owners' boat building activities.

Some of the oldest dwellings on the Island are the Bancroft's, the Harlan's, the Parsonage, and the Macfarlan's.

It is surprising to learn how many structures were moved or reused.  A paint shed became a kitchen, a store was converted to a home, or a house was moved to a new location and enlarged.  A few owners made part of their homes into a store or post office, adding to their yearly income.  Widows would take in boarders—at first workers but later summer visitors—and serve meals to the boarders and often the general public too.

Cranberry Isles

The State of Maine is noted
For its firm and rock-bound coast,
For its scenes that have no equal,
Of its islands, I would boast.

There are many famed for beauty
Nestling near the rocky shore,
But a group of which I'm thinking
Calls for praises, evermore.

Shadowed by the rounded Cadillac,
Viewed in beauty o'er the miles,
On the waters of Atlantic
Rest superb, the Cranberry Isles.

Rest and peace, sweet joy, contentment,
Courage, strength, and health supreme,
All are fostered on these islands,
All the thoughts of poet's dream.

Come then, welcome to our islands,
Share with us the magic charm,
Leave behind the cities' noises,
Rest and share our peace and calm.

        -- James Belcher Ford

This poem was included in a touristic brochure produced and distributed by the town until the 1950s.  Rev. Ford was pastor at the Great Cranberry and Islesford churches for a number of years. -- Hugh Dwelley