Union Meeting House

also known as

Great Cranberry Island
Congregational Church


The Cranberry Isles Mutual Improvement and Benevolent Society, forerunner of the present Ladies Aid, forms on 19 March 1861 for the purpose of raising funds to build a house of worship on Great Cranberry Island.

Around Christmas 1865 the president of the Society reports they had $875.97 on hand, enough to start the work.  The contract called for three partial payments: $1200 on completion, $1000 after six months, and $1000 after a year, making a total cost of $3200.

The Union Meeting House was dedicated 11 September 1866.

The steeple blew off February 1878, but was repaired.

The bell was installed 8 December 1898, and rung for the first time that night at midnight.  See this poem.

The church was reorganized as the Congregational Church of Cranberry Isles on 30 August 1899.

The original round steeple was struck by lightning and destroyed around 1922.  Barbara Brooks remembers it was when she was about ten years old.  No fire started; the steeple just exploded.  It was rebuilt square and higher -- and probably with a lightning arrestor on the metal weathervane.

In 19??, loudspeakers were installed in the steeple, and an electronic carillon in the front storage room.  The device automatically played recorded bell music at set times.  It went off accidentally once, which inspired a humorous poem.

The roof of the square steeple was repaired in the summer of 2007.  At that time the loudspeakers and carillon were removed as they had not been used since at least 1980.


Church Account from The Island of Mount Desert Register with The Cranberry Isles 1909-10

Religious Life by Velma Teel

Early Church History (anon.) - a curious piece

The Union Church of Great Cranberry Island by Janet Roberts


PastorTerm of service
Rev. Charles Whittier1893 - 1894
Rev. Charles Elliott Harwood7 Feb 1894 - 27 Mar 1897
Rev. Charles Nelson Davie 30 Sept 1897 - Nov 1904
Rev. Alexander Peter McDonald9 Oct 1905 - 30 Sept 1906
Rev. Charlton B. Boles1908 - ???
Rev. Fred W. Tingley 1 Apr 1911 - 17 Oct 1913
Rev. Albert D. Knight 20 Oct 1914 - 1919
Prof. Charles Gordon CummingJune through Sept,
1920, 1921, 1922, 1925 - 1931
Rev. Daniel H.E. Fox 1931 - 1935
Rev. James Belcher Ford22 Sept 1935 - 1 Oct 1939
Rev. Melvin Hutchins19 May 1940 - 1 May 1951
Dr. Charles Gordon Cumming1951 - at least 1960
Rev. Thomas Powell 17 Sep 2013 -


There are a total of 30 pews, and since each pew can seat 4, a maximum capacity of 120 people.

click to enlarge

Original round steeple, destroyed by lightning around 1922

photo courtesy of Omer and Annette Mountain


The Charles Harwood window


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