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The River

The Union River

Lobster is now being served on the banks of the Union River. In 1996 Brian and Jane Langley opened the Union River Lobster Pot on the site previously known as the Port of Call Seafood Market.

The rich history of the Union River began with the Native Americans who came here to hunt and fish. In the 1760s the white settlers arrived, chasing dreams of wealth. They came here and settled the quiet river town. Here they built ships and found the cargo to ship.

Many lumber mills and wharves, as many as 18, sprang up on the banks of the Union River. One of those wharves, Milliken’s Wharf, was located on the cove of this property.

adirondak chairs overlooking the Union River

In the 1800s while the gold rush was attracting pioneers to the west, the “Salt Water Frontier” attracted a different pioneer. People migrated to Hancock County because land and fishing were plentiful. Three kinds of people chose to settle the salt water frontier: the mariner, the fisherman, and the woodsman. The river was central to all who chose to live here. In the 1800s residents spoke of “going down to the bridge” instead of going downtown. Most of these pioneers came from western towns. They found that the Union River opened up vast riches of virgin timber.

Ellsworth saw its greatest activity between 1820 and 1880. Ellsworth early became and remained the lumber capital of eastern Maine. It lay on both sides of the Union River, which was navigable for good sized schooners. At one time Ellsworth ranked as the second largest lumber shipping port in the world.

The peak year for lumber production was 1853, when over 35,000,000 feet of lumber as well as 250,000 box shooks were produced. It is no surprise that ship building rivaled the lumber industry during the same time period. In 1853 there were 159 vessels owned in the town. At times as many as 60 could be seen lying four abreast taking on cargo at the eighteen wharves that fringed the river banks.

In the maritime world a downeaster (a ship) conveyed a picture of excellence of a full rigged wooden ship or bark with her canvas spread in the wind, designed and built on the coast of Maine and more often than not, commanded by a Maine captain.

rowboats docked in the Union River

“Downeasters” (as people from eastern Maine are known) still like to think of themselves as having the characteristics of the early Americans. They consider themselves as independent, and rugged individuals without excessive regard to wealth, position, or learning. A celebrity can be freer from attention in Downeast Maine than he can just about anywhere else in the country. Downeasters take the facts as they add up to be, not as someone else says they ought to be. This independence carries with it a polite dignity.

In 1996 Brian and Jane Langley opened up the Union River Lobster Pot on the banks of the historic Union River. It is our mission at the Union River Lobster Pot to provide our guests an experience that includes the freshest ingredients prepared in a traditional downeast style, and friendly efficient service. Our goal is to have you return time and time again. For more information on the history of Ellsworth visit the Ellsworth Public Library, The Historical Society, and the Wood Lawn Museum just up the hill from us.