La Rochelle

La Rochelle at 127 West Street in Bar Harbor was built in 1902 for the George Bowdoin.

In 1972, by then owned by the Colket family, the property was donated to the Maine Seacoast Mission as their headquarters.

In 2017 the Seacoast Mission made the decision that in order to focus more of their resources on their mission and programs, it was time to sell the mansion.

The Bar Harbor Historical Society committed to purchasing the property and to raise $4.75M in the fall of 2018 and to close on the property in early 2019.

Now, BHHS needs your help. Together with a leadership pledge of $1,000,000 from a generous Bar Harbor summer resident and generous donations from several Board Members, the Society is more than half way to the goal. It is imperative that another $1.5 is raised from donors through cash donations, three year pledges and stock donations by March 15, 2019.

La Rochelle is one of the most remarkable examples of Bar Harbor's Gilded Age still standing today. Spared by the Fire of 1947, the "cottage" represents our community's storied history. The architecture alone is noteworthy and when filled with the Historical Society's curated and revolving collection, the new museum and grounds will be an extraordinary destination.

Please help us in the home stretch. Donations can be made as one time contributions, over a three year pledge and by stock transfer. We have arranged to accept stock donations and will assist you in giving in this manner. Please contact Bar Harbor Historical Society at 207.288.0000 or bhhistorical@gwi.net for more information.

Thank you for helping to secure Bar Harbor's future as a cultural destination.

"People think about legacies and people think about what they can do to leave things better than they found them. The purchase of La Rochelle will allow locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in Bar Harbor's history and will be an invaluable, extraordinary asset to our town. Bar Harbor has a history all it's own and it is part of our obligation to future generations to preserve this incredible history and to house it in one of the premier examples of the Gilded Age. For those reasons and so many others, I am proud to make a generous donation to the cause and ask you to join us in making La Rochelle a Bar Harbor community treasure."

Kimberly Swan
Board Member BHHS

"I'm very excited for both the Bar Harbor Historical Society and the Island community at large that we have been presented with this opportunity to preserve and showcase this magnificent and iconic estate. The building, grounds and location are the ideal setting to show and tell the storied history of America's wealthy and powerful who summered in Bar Harbor. La Rochelle is a museum in its own right and the BH Historical Society's ample collection of furnishings, artwork, photos and memorabilia of Bar Harbor's colorful past will only enhance the image and authenticity of the experience for those who are lucky enough to see it.

Our work has only begun as we are about halfway to our goal of raising 4.75 million dollars. No longer will we be able to operate without a paid staff as we have always done in the past at our much smaller museum on Ledgelawn, but there will be many new volunteer positions available so please do contact us if you're interested. The Maine Seacoast Mission and the Colkets have done a wonderful job maintaining La Rochelle over the years and we hope to continue that legacy by building up an endowment. There are many worthwhile non-profit organizations in Bar Harbor looking for support for the services they provide to the community and only a limited number of local donors. Along with the grass roots donors who are so important, we desperately need a few major donors to step forward who can envision the cultural and economic benefits that will be derived from this project that will help keep Bar Harbor the vibrant community it is."


Dick Cough
Vice President BHHS

"The 'Father' of Acadia Nat'l Park, George B. Dorr, passed away in 1944-and as he was so much of the driving force in establishing Acadia Nat'l Park-they had a display of area photos and artifacts at the Jesup Memorial Library in his memory in the summer of 1945. It was so well received that The Bar Harbor Historical Society was organized August 19, 1946. We remained at the Jesup library in 1 room for 50 years until we purchased the former St. Edward's Convent (where when Saint Katherine Drexel would come to visit her sister, Louise Drexel Morrell, would stay at the convent). The historical society moved there in November 1997 to "spread our wings" to display Bar Harbor history much better. Now after 20 years we have outgrown our quarters. We have so much history that is not able to be viewed-but with our new headquarters and in one of Bar Harbor's "gilded age" cottages we will be able to display and greet visitors happily at La Rochelle. I, Deborah Dyer, have been the curator for the past 30 years and only the 3rd curator the others were Mrs. John DeWitt Peltz and
Gladys O'Neil."


Debbie Dyer
Curator BHHS