Title page for ETD etd-0705103-164712

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Fagan, William Francis
Author's Email Address wfagan1@lsu.edu
URN etd-0705103-164712
Title From Lime Kilns to Art Galleries: A Historical Anthropogeography of the Maine Coast City of Rockland
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miles Richardson Committee Chair
Andrew Curtis Committee Member
Carville Earle Committee Member
John Grimes Committee Member
Charles Shindo Dean's Representative
  • material culture
  • cultural landscape
  • commercial fishing
  • lime industry
  • coastal issues
  • maine
  • cultural anthropology
  • historical geography
Date of Defense 2003-05-19
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation is a historical anthropogeography that focuses on the city of Rockland, Maine from its prehistoric beginnings to the present. Throughout the historic period, a series of single industries have dominated Rockland's economy while its population has remained remarkably stable. Lime production, for mortar and plaster, was first, beginning with the earliest Europeans in the area in the eighteenth century and coming to its end in the 1930s. Shipping and shipbuilding were important outgrowths of the lime industry but shipbuilding ended by the early 1920s with the change from wood to steel as the favored material for shipbuilding.

Commercial fishing and fish processing followed lime as the main industry. Dominance by fishing was not nearly as long-lived as lime production; in Rockland, as elsewhere in New England, the collapse of commercial fishing took a great toll beginning in the 1980s; Rockland's fishing industry virtually ended by 1990. After a relatively brief period of decline and depression, residents and outside interests have been able to transform Rockland into a tourist destination and fine arts center. In addition, manufacturing and service (outside of tourist-related service) are important, but smaller, components of the city's economy today.

Part of Rockland's transformation from an industrial city to a tourism/service economy depends upon the erasure of much of the past from the cultural landscape as well from Rockland's resident's social/geographical memory. While quarries hundreds of feet deep are permanent evidence of the lime industry, their existence is surprisingly unknown to tourists and visitors, and little acknowledged in current residents' consciousness. In favor of tourism, some of the people of Rockland have made purposeful efforts to dismiss the unsightly, unpleasant remnants and memory of lime manufacturing and commercial fishing. By shaking off the soot and smells of its industrial past, Rockland is being transformed, is experiencing a renaissance, some people claim... no longer the dirty, callused kitchen maid but another bright Princess of Summer on the coast of Maine.

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