Rockland, Maine is known as the “Gateway to Penobscot Bay” and as the “Lobster Capital of the World”. The city’s annual Lobster Festival is a tradition kept going for over 50 years every month of August. The city is the County Seat and the commercial center of Knox County. The city has a population of 7,609 and is a very popular tourist destination all year round. Its harbor is protected by a 4,300-foot breakwater and guided by a lighthouse. Rockland, Maine is considered one of the best places in the world to enjoy boating and sailing because of its good waters.
The area was originally called by the Abenaki Indians “Catawamteak” which translates to “great landing place.” John Lermond and his brothers settled in 1767, producing oak and pine lumber, in what was later called Lermond’s Cove. It later became a village in 1777 called Shore Village. It was renamed Rockland in 1850 and chartered as a city in 1854.
Rockland’s industries included commercial fishing, lobster, shipbuilding, granite quarrying, and lime processing but have shifted towards more of being a service community by the 1990s. The town also sees a large volume of tourists and has developed commercial shops, boutiques, places for fine dining, and art galleries. It maintains a balance of both the old and the new elements of a city, with most of the town’s heritage under careful maintenance and preservation while also developing further to cater to the needs of the people. In 2008, in honor of the special relationship with the city and residents of Rockland, it was name a Coast Guard City.
Rockland, Maine is home to the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Considered as the largest lighthouse museum, it houses the largest collection of Fresnel lighthouse lenses, United States Coast Guard memorabilia, and other marine memorabilia. A retired Coast Guard officer, Kenneth Black founded it and it aims to promote the appreciation of maritime history and to preserve materials and articles of this bygone era.
Another notable landmark in the city is The Farnsworth Art Museum. It contains over 10,000 art pieces from various artists with connections to the state of Maine from the 18th to 20th century. The museum is the legacy of Lucy Copeland Farnsworth to the city of Rockland. It houses the works of the Wyeth family, three generations of realist painters and illustrators, as well as two well preserved historic houses, the Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House. The Farnsworth Homestead was the home of benefactor Lucy Farnsworth. The Olson House was one of artist Andrew Wyeth’s favorite subjects in his works. Both historic houses are open for public tours.
Historic Inns are also abundant in Rockland. There are six inns, all independently owned, that have formed “The Historic Inns Of Rockland”. These inns have antique rooms and furniture and serve gourmet-style breakfasts. LimeRock Inn, Berry Manor Inn, and Captain Lindsey House are three inns that are part of this group and are within walking distances from each other. They are notable because they allow guests to use their facilities interchangeably. This arrangement has become extremely popular and convenient for those who wish to hold weddings and other large gatherings in one area.
The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and The Owls Head State Park and Lighthouse are popular tourist destinations and wedding venues as well. The Breakwater Lighthouse is used by the city as its emblem and letterhead. It offers wonderful views of Penobscot Bay, the schooners and ferries gliding on the waters in and out of the harbor. The Owls Head Lighthouse is a white, 30-foot brick lighthouse that sits atop a 70-foot high cliff at the entrance of Rockland Harbor.