Brooksville Legacy: “One Morning in Maine”
The Bucks Harbor Market is Brooksville’s only store. Butch and
Janice Czerwinski have owned it since 1989.
The legacy of “One
the children’s book about an island family’s trip to the nearest
town, has lived on for many years in Brooksville.
specifically named in the book by Robert McCloskey, but people and
places mentioned were identifiable. Fifty years after the book was
first published (1952), the people of the peninsula town are still
answering questions about it.
87-year-old McCloskey is a resident in the Parker Ridge retirement
community in nearby Blue Hill. He stopped meeting the public a few
years ago after too many people asked for autographs for their
grandchildren. As for the young Sal who lost her tooth in the book,
she lives locally, as Sally McCloskey, in Deer Isle. She is active
in bay preservation issues.
As for Brooksville,
the town hasn’t changed much from the picture painted in “One
Morning”: It is still idyllic and sleepy.
It’s an isolated
place, surrounded on three sides by water. One main road loops
around, a combination of Route 175 and Route 176.
There are five
distinct villages, and Cape Rosier, highlighted by Cape Rosier Road,
is the one set apart from the main portion of Brooksville. The other
villages that give Brooksville its rural character around the loop
are North Brooksville,
South Brooksville and Brooksville.
in South Brooksville, draws the tourists in search of the Condon’s
Garage that is so prominent in “One Morning.” It’s also where they
find the town’s single store, the Bucks Harbor Market.
But the town’s
other drawing card – and the main reason for all the traffic in
summer — is the state-owned Holbrook Sanctuary. Park Manager Phil
Farr says as many as 18,000 visitors a year enjoy its old roads and
paths along shoreline, marshes, ponds and forests. It was created
after Anita Harris, a long-time area resident, donated the acreage
in 1971 to the state. She wanted “to preserve for the future a piece
of the unspoiled Maine that I used to know.”
That’s not too hard
a task in the town, because Brooksville exudes an old-time feeling.
There are 911 residents living here, many in farmhouses on land that
generations before them owned.
One of them,
Clifford Leach, has served as a selectman for 42 years.
The town’s second
selectman, Richard Bakeman, belongs to a family with lineage in
Brooksville going back to the Revolutionary War era.
Once, Bakeman says,
the town had as many as 500 children in its schools. But that was in
Civil War times, when the population was 1,500 and the town sent 129
men to the Civil War.
Now, Bakeman says,
“We don’t have more than 125 or 130 kids in the grammar schools or
of high school age combined.”
A dozen years ago,
there were just 760 people living in Brooksville. That is nominally
up from a population of 753 in 1980, according to the census.
But these newcomers
in the last decade blend in with the locals just fine.
“The town really
hasn’t changed much, because everyone still knows one another,”
Bakeman said. “Even the ones who move in get acquainted—they have
someone to be a caretaker when they’re not here. It’s still a