MACHIAS, Maine — The Machias River Valley provides not only beautiful scenic vistas, beaches and hiking trails, but also some of the state’s most important history that can be experienced on a walking tour.
Machias is the site of the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War, and local historians have created a walking tour to honor that history throughout the area. The longest part of the tour meanders through downtown Machias and, for a wanderer armed with a camera and some good walking shoes, it can be accomplished in an hour or two, depending on how long you linger.
Begin at Bad Little Falls, a waterfall under U.S. Route 1 that once provided much-needed energy for the lumber industry. There is a municipal parking lot across from the falls’ park entrance and interpretive plaques throughout the park. Across the bridge is a trail to the O’Brien Cemetery where many of the men who participated in the Battle of the Margaretta are buried.
Retrace your steps and cross Route 1 to Colonial Way Hill and the Burnham Tavern. Built in 1770, it is the oldest building in eastern Maine and the only one with a Revolutionary War history. On the National Register of Historic Sites since 1973, it is now a seasonal museum maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Cross the street, and go up Free Street to Court Street where you’ll find the historic Porter Memorial Library and the 1853 Washington County Courthouse. Adjoining the old courthouse is the original jailhouse, built in 1858.
Continuing walking — downhill now — to the Centre Street Congregational Church, which was built in 1836. It has a Paul Revere bell, beautiful memorial windows and a Tracker organ.
More information on the history behind the walk can be found at www.machiashistory.org.