The Rockland Hotel

By Terry Economy | Oct 01, 2011
Courtesy of: Rockland Historical Society The Rockland Hotel

One of Rockland's landmark was the Hotel Rockland, on the corner of Park and Main streets. In the 1952 Rockland city directory, the Hotel Rockland was advertised as modern, fireproof, and European, with moderate rates. It had attractive dining rooms, cocktail lounge, excellent facilities for banquets and conventions with ample free parking. A Daniel l. Harris was the manager. On Dec. 12, 1952, the Hotel Rockland was a victim of the great 1952 Rockland fire.

Rumors were the fire started at the hotel but never proven. The Hotel Rockland had an excellent reputation has headquarters for Kiwanis and other leading civic organizations. "Upgrading Maine's tradition for hospitably and fine foods."

But, what it didn't say was that the Hotel Rockland had another side to its story as a meeting place for lovers and prostitutes. Certain rooms was available to prominent Rockland citizens and transit visitors for sexual pleasure. When I was a boy working at Economy's Fruit, certain items were called for that were not available at the hotel.

Like a banana split for Room 202.

Strawberry ice-cream soda for Room 212.

Trojans for Room 220.

Two chocolate frappes for Room 190.

Even four hot dogs from Louie's hot-dog stand along with two  bottles of soda.

I enjoyed these deliveries, because I could count on a good tip.

On Dec. 12, 1952, I was working at the Knox Theater where at 6:20 p.m.  I heard a big explosion. Knox Theater Manager Danny Dandaneau came to me and said a big fire has just broken out at the Hotel Rockland.

One of the first thoughts that came to my mind, I hope nobody in rooms..... were injured or escaped. Luckily so, nobody did, and as the hotel burned to the ground, so did my delivery service come to a end.


Terry Economy was born in Rockland. He graduated from Rockland High School and has had a long career in broadcasting, and is a member of the Maine Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Phil Edwards | Oct 01, 2011 17:21

Question: if one drives down Park Street as we know it today, would one run straight into the Rockland Hotel or the brick building behind it in the picture?

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