Our foundational industries of lime and fishing have left behind artifacts which create the character of Rockland. Much of what that we are now is anchored by the architecture and monuments built by those with ambition and foresight.

The lime industry prospered after the end of the Civil War. Our nation was rebuilt using lime plaster from the quarries and kilns here in Rockland.

Farmers on the outskirts crafted barrels to ship the lime. Boatyards were beehives of activity building schooners to ship the lime to market. It was a time of great prosperity.

Anchors along Main Street are the monuments to the lime trade.

The Farnsworth Museum and store are part of the largesse of William Farnsworth and his mysterious daughter Lucy. The handsome Syndicate Building is a monument to the association of William O. Fuller, William T. Cobb and later Earnest Davis. The offices were upstairs and a lavish store was on the first floor.

Like the tide coming in and going out, the lime industry gave way to prosperity brought forth by the fishing industry. By the early ‘50s, Rockland had become a prominent New England fishing port. In recognition of that and to create a memorial to the fishermen lost at sea, the Fisherman’s Memorial Pier at Harbor Park (the public landing) was conceived in 1951.

It was designed by Flora Gray Cullen, wife of Courier-Gazette Publisher Sid Cullen, and was a project of the Rockland Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees). It was built from donated materials, including granite and oak. That winter, an anchor was snagged off Mount Desert Island by a fishing boat called The Storm and placed on the pier.

It is a very big anchor.

It weighs over 5,000 pounds and stands nearly 14 feet tall.

As a youngster I was tasked with painting the giant anchor as part of my duties as a festival volunteer. It was a task that took days to complete in the hot August sun. I was so proud to be the one to do it. In fact, I painted the anchor three times.

I painted it silver.

I painted it gold.

I painted it black.

If you were to ask me which color I like best, it is not even close….

There is nothing like a 14-foot-tall gold anchor.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

Our anchor. Photo by Glenn Billington