Family history in Kennebunkport, ME

Growing up in New England, you just know that Kennebunkport ME is a magical place. After all, it’s where the Bush family has a home right? So it has to be good! I have great memories of going to a family cookout or two up there, and driving by the beautiful wedding cake house! My mother, grandmother, and aunt all love Kennebunkport too. Day trips to walk around the shops, look out at the boats, get a lobster roll and ice cream…I mean what’s better than that?

My family has always been into genealogy and family history. On my mother’s side, the family history that I grew to be most familiar with was for the Milligans. My great great grandfather was Rev. Herbert Freeman Milligan. He married Effie Robbins in 1898 in MA and had 9 children with Effie over 21 years.  Being a clergyman, the family moved a lot as Rev. Milligan got different appointments in different churches. From 1912 on, their travels took them through various towns in Maine. My great grandmother, Alice, was the third born child in 1902 and she graduated high school when the family was in Waldoboro Maine.  Sometime between the mid 1920s and 1930s, the family moved to Kennebunk. The last son, Jonathan, was born in 1920 and went to Kennebunk’s high school. Effie passed away in 1940, and Rev. Milligan remarried in 1941 believing that a church man ought to be married. His new wife, Florence “Foddie” Weeks and him retired and lived for 19 years on Cat Mousam Road in Kennebunk.

Jonathan Milligan is where my family’s continued link to the area and some fun history lies. He married his high school sweetheart, Liz Perkins, in 1940. If you know the area at all, the name Perkins should sound familiar- yes, Perkins as in Perkins Cove! Liz’s father, Silas Henry Perkins, is the namesake of a park in Kennebunk as well. He was a great poet known for a poem about Kennebunkport. Jon and Liz were very active in the goings on in the Kennebunkport area. The couple bought the Sagamore Inn at Gooch’s Beach and ran it as the Sea Spray Motor Inn, which was sadly torn down in the 80s to become a private home. They had many business and real estate ventures together, including the Lands End Cottage community.

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Postcard for Sea Spray Motor Inn
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Other side of the Sea Spray Inn post card- hotel decor has come a long way huh?
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One side of post card for the Lands End Cottages- can’t find the other side 😦
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Map of the Kennebunk Region with stamps for “Jon Milligan Company Kennebunk Maine” and “Lands End Cottages on Cape Porpoise Harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine for your Family Vacation”

Jon and Liz started to develop this community on Lands End Road, which goes out to Cape Porpoise Harbor, in the 1950s, in the wake of the devastating fire of 1947.  The community began as vacation cottages for rent, and now is a lovely residential neighborhood. In the 80s, plots of land were offered to the family- the price range was $15K to $25k. Some members of the family jumped on the opportunity, my parents did not 😦 They were just starting out then and didn’t want to risk the investment- can’t blame them there. Now of course, houses in that  neighborhood are listed for $450K and up!!

Liz Milligan passed away on Valentine’s Day this past year at the age of 96!! Two of her daughters, Judy and Debbie are currently realtors for Andrews Milligan Real Estate Company.  My mother was in town for my baby shower this past weekend and we spent a day visiting with one of my fabulous great aunts up at her house in the Lands End neighborhood. It is beautiful there- always a nice breeze from the ocean. They started with a cabin on their lot and have built it into a beautiful 3 bedroom home with an outdoor shower and a great screened in porch. She has watched Kennebunkport evolve over the years into really what some might call the Nantucket of the north. From Lands End, you can take a right down to the village of Cape Porpoise, which really just consists of Bradbury’s, Cape Porpoise Kitchen, a church, and a fire dept. You can keep driving to get to the pier on Bickford Island which is the home of Cape Pier Chowder House, Cape Porpoise Lobster Co., and Pier 77 Restaurant/The Ramp Bar & Grill. There are beautiful views of the harbor and you can see the light house on Goat Island from there too!

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Buoys! Stairs are part of the Pier 77/Ramp Restaurant/Bar complex
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30 Weeks Pregnant!! 10 to go!
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Fishing/Lobster Boats in Cape Porpoise Harbor
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Lobster operation, most likely for Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. right off the pier!
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Goat Island Lighthouse!
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A little nautical art in the parking area- good use of old boats right?

The Kennebunkport area has been flooded lately with social media influencers. I have seen bloggers/instagrammers working with Cape Arundel Inn, the Cabot Cove Cottages, Hidden Pond Cottages, Kennebunkport Inn, The Tides Beach Club, and most recently the new glamp sites at the Sandy Pines Campground. Now, when this subject came up with my great aunt, Tim Harrington’s name came up. I didn’t know this, but all of the accommodations listed above besides the campground are a part of his resort collection, and the locals joke that every time a piece of land in the area goes up for sale, Tim can’t be far. See more about the Kennebunkport Resort Collection and Tim Harrington here. Abby Capalbo has a nice travel guide on her blog with reviews of many of KRC lodging and dining locations as well as others here.  Also following Jackie Greaney and PJ Havel will give you many images of the area to drool over 🙂

Anyways, I apologize, this post got a wee bit long. There are so many coastal vacation spots in New England, but definitely Kennebunkport is close to my heart. I hope that you all had a great weekend! Where are your family vacation spots?? Let me know in the comments!

Edit/Correction: While Sandy Pines is not listed on the KRC website as of now, it is actually a Tim Harrington property along with Debra Lennon!

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