History/ES 247 Reading Guide

Farming on the Maine Coast

  • William N. Locke, "Research Note: The Rise and Demise of the Cattle Pound, Harpswell and Maine," Maine Historical Society Quarterly 33.3-4 (1993-4), 210-221.  (e-reserve)
  • David C. Smith, Victor Konrad, et. al. (Helen Koulouris, Edward Hawes, Harold W. Borns, Jr.), "Salt Marshes as a Factor in the Agriculture of Northeastern North America," Agricultural History 63 (1989), 270-294.  (e-reserve)

Further reading:

  • Kristen Hoffman, “Farms to Forests in Blue Hill Bay:  Long Island, Maine, as a Case Study in Reforestation,” Maine History 44.1 (2008), 50-76.
  • Patrick P.M. Outwin, “Very Noble Suppers:  Agriculture and Foodways in Late Colonial Falmouth in Casco Bay,” Maine History 48.2 (2014), 243-266.
  • David C. Smith and Anne E. Bridges, "Salt Marsh Dykes (Dikes) as a Factor in Eastern Maine Agriculture," Maine Historical Society Quarterly 21.4 (Spring 1982), 219-226. 
  • Kimberly R. Sebold, "'Amid the Great Sea Meadows': Re-Constructing the Salt Marsh Landscape through Art and Literature," Maine History 40:1 (Spring 2001): 50-69.  (e-reserve)
  • Edward Hawes, "Cobscook Timescape," Island Journal 9 (1992).


  • How do these studies characterize the ecological and climatic conditions on the Maine coast?
  • According to Locke, why might coastal towns (and islands) have had particular need for cattle pounds at the end of the 18th century? Why did the problem decline after the 1880s?
  • Compare and contrast coastal agricultural practices and goals to the agricultural practices and methods Hubka and Cohen described for inland farms? How might we account for the similarities and differences?
  • Try to reconstruct salt-water farming household economies on the coast — especially the combination of fishing/maritime activities, salt marsh farming, and upland farming.


Clarks Cove, West Harpswell, Maine.  (1911)

West Harpswell, Maine. View of Harpswell Harbor from Shore Acres at haying time.  (c.1912)

Uncle John's Ox Team, Chebeague Island, Me.  (c.1914)

The Dyke, Woolwich, Me.,  (c.1909)

The Dyke, Woolwich, Me.,  (c.1909)

Cattle Pound.  Jefferson, Maine—Built 1829. For Twenty-Eight Dollars  (n.d.)