The Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society was formed in 1959 with the goal of collecting and preserving "historical facts, records, and relics pertaining to Deer Isle, Stonington, and adjoining communities and islands of East Penobscot Bay in the State of Maine.”
The Society's headquarters, located at 416 Sunset Road (Route 15A) in Deer Isle, includes four buildings and a variety of displays. It is staffed by a group of dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers who are there to answer questions, point out features of the displays, and assist those who wish to do research.
Our original building, "The Sellers House," was built in 1830 by Joseph Sellers for his bride, Salome. Salome was born in 1800, the daughter of Captain Edward and Deborah Cushman Sylvester. Her father was descended from Mayflower stock and served in the American Revolution. Joseph and Salome had six children, four of whom died. She was a member of the Martha Washington Benevolent Society and was active in the Temperence movement. Joseph died at home during the Civil War, and Salome continued to keep house for her youngest son. Salome often entertained mariners returning from the sea, and she had many visitors throughout her life. It is said that sailors felt it was good luck to visit Salome before going to sea. Salome lived into the 20th century, dying at age 108, the oldest woman in Maine.
The Sellers House was acquired and restored in 1960 by the newly formed Historical Society and was extensively restored again in 2002. It is furnished with many articles which belonged to Salome, as well as furnishings from other island homes of the same period. Mannequins display some of the Society's amazing collection of clothing worn by local people in bygone years.
Marine exhibits include paintings, ship models, fishing gear, items related to marine transportation, and memorabilia from the America's Cup defenders "Defender" and "Columbia," both manned by Deer Isle mariners. Rotating exhibits include a wide variety of island artifacts ranging from indian tools and arrowheads to articles from various trades such as millinery, shoemaking, quarrying, and the Pants Factory. The original Deer Isle Jail is also on display.
The Archives bulding contains a remarkable collection of genealogical and historical material and books. It also houses hundreds of photographs, with special emphasis on the age of steamboats as the major form of transportation in the area. It is our only heated building and is open to researchers year-round.
The old Sunset Post Office, now located on our grounds, served the area for many years until the new Sunset Post Office opened in 1990. The old one then became the property of the Village Green Association, which gave it to the Society in 1996, together with funds to assist in repairs and restoration. It contains a small postal exhibit and provides space for our Gift Shop and information.
The Society publishes a bi-annual newsletter and sponsors several summer events, which are announced in local newspapers as well as in this website.