Though little physically remains of the opulence today, Mount Desert Island a century ago was one of the glittering playgrounds of the ultra-wealthy — like Newport, Rhode Island, and The Hamptons in New York. For nearly 70 years, until the Mount Desert Island Fire of 1947, Bar Harbor was the place that people with last names such as Vanderbilt, Astor and Rockefeller flocked to in the summer.
Since it was a bit farther afield from the nexus of New York City than other summer colonies, Bar Harbor earned a reputation as a place where the rich and famous could really let their hair down. The bad behavior and scandals of MDI’s social elite are detailed in a new book, “Bar Harbor Babylon: Murder, Misfortune and Scandal on Mt. Desert Island,” published this month by Downeast Books.
“Imagine Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates all spending their summers in Bar Harbor,” said Stonington resident Leslie Landrigan, who wrote “Bar Harbor Babylon” with her husband, Dan Landrigan. “It was that level of wealth and power and influence.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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