Peaks Island is the most populous island in Casco Bay, Maine. It is part of the city of Portland, and is located approximately 5 km (3 mi) from downtown. The island became a popular summer destination in the late nineteenth century, when it was known as the Coney Island of Maine, home to hotels, theaters and amusement parks.
Hollywood film director John Ford (born John Martin Feeney) worked as an usher in Peaks' famous Gem Theatre, and was also a deckhand on the Casco Bay Lines ferries.
Most of the hotels were lost to fires over the years. The Gem Theatre was destroyed by fire on September 7, 1934. 17 buildings burned to the ground on June 2, 1936, including the new Union House Hotel. The only original hotel structure remaining on the island is the Avenue House, which has been converted into condominiums.
During World War II, the island was home to a large military defense installation, including the largest structure, Battery Steele, which housed two 16 inch (406 mm) guns.
According to the 2000 census, Peaks Island is home to 843 year round residents, but in the summer its population swells to 5-6,000. The island is served by Casco Bay Lines ferry service, and is home to its own elementary school and library.
Web Sites and Links
BEG: Peaks IslandOverview of the former Peaks Island Military Reservation, with photos and historical information.
Holy TrinityFeatures history and description of Episcopal summer chapel.
Peaks IslandA short ferry ride from Portland is a diverse and thriving community of about 1,000 hardy, year-round residents. Provides news, information, and links to the island.
Peaks Island in Casco BayFAQs about island life.
Peaks Island Land PreserveMission statement, activities and contact information.
Peaks Island ServiceFerry schedule, classifieds, bulletin board and information on free email service.
Proposed Deer Management Program for Peaks IslandReprint of January 2000 publication from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The Peaks Island PageContains Casco Bay and Peaks Island postcards, ephemera, and history.
The Peaks Island House Inn and RestaurantOceanfront Inn offers room description, pricing plus links to ferry schedule and island attractions.
USGenWeb: Peaks Island, MaineInformation on library. cemeteries and local resources.