Port Clyde village at the southern tip of St. George is a bustling place, particularly in the summer; its discovery by tourists and refugees from more developed states to the south has transformed the place from the relatively isolated and quiet village it was 50 years ago.

But in the 1800s, South St. George, as it was called by the postal service, or Herring Gut as it was called locally, was even more bustling than it is today.

Visitors will have the chance to tour Port Clyde on Thursday, July 28 at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the St. George Historical Society.

By 1820 the narrow St. George peninsula was one of the most densely populated places in Maine, and Port Clyde was the most densely populated part of town. Most men were engaged in fishing, going to sea, or both. By 1855, so many lobsters were being packed in ice and shipped to Boston and New York that there was concern for the survival of the lobster population. Even before the Civil War, a lobster cannery was operating there followed by canneries and processing plants for other types of seafood.

Located on the coastal shipping route, Herring Gut was a convenient stopping place where hundreds of vessels laid over for the night in the course of the summer. Some passengers and sailors must have come ashore, for in 1854 or 1855, the Ocean House took in between 3,000 and 4,000 guests.

A major shipyard repaired and built vessels from the mid-1800s until after 1900.

Hard to imagine now, but the village schoolhouse at that time, with its magnificent steeple and bell, could easily have been mistaken for a typical New England meetinghouse. The schoolhouse could accommodate up to 100 scholars and included a library.

Individuals planning to attend the tour to see where things were in Port Clyde and what is left and are headed down the peninsula, please stop at the town office parking lot at Tenants Harbor at 5:45 p.m. From there, people will carpool and reassemble near the Advent Church in Port Clyde at 6 p.m.

There will be a brief overview of the area’s history; then a small bus with a native guide will whisk visitors up as far as the Ridge Church and then return. Those left behind will have had an opportunity to stroll through the heart of the village under light supervision before exchanging places with the first busload of passengers.

There is no charge, but donations to the historical society will be appreciated. For more information, call 372-8893.