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Bristol Area Lions Club Learns About Life on Monhegan Island 02/08/2014

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Bristol Lion John Janell, left, thanks Reverend Bobby Ives and his wife Phyllis for a memorable program on Monhegan Island.

Bristol Lion John Janell, left, thanks Reverend Bobby Ives and his wife Phyllis for a memorable program on Monhegan Island.

A confessed lover of islands, Reverend Bobby Ives shared his memories of life on Monhegan Island at a recent meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club.

Ives has visited scores of islands over the years but Monhegan, where he spent two years as a teacher-and-preacher team with his late wife, stands out as his favorite.

The island’s small winter population swells exponentially during the summer thanks in part to the efforts of Theodore Edison, who bought up half of the island starting in the 1930s and turned it over to Monhegan Island Associates for permanent conservation and enjoyment by all.

Thousands of years ago Monhegan was home to Native American settlers. Norse inscriptions carved into stone comprise the earliest European artifacts found there. Dating to the 1100s and 1200s, these inscriptions are even mentioned by Captain John Smith in a journal recounting his exploration of the area in 1614.

The oldest surviving buildings on the island, which date to the late 18th century, are some of the fish houses on Fish Beach. By 1820, Monhegan had become a permanent settlement complete with a village cluster and a lighthouse that had been commissioned by John Adams.

A graduate of Bowdoin College and the University of Edinburgh, Bobby Ives was steered to Monhegan Island in 1973 by the boat minister of the Maine Seacoast Mission boat Sunbeam. Living on the island for two years in a home with no electricity, running water, or insulation, Ives and his wife Ruth developed close bonds with fellow island residents. The island school at that time accommodated fourteen students ranging between kindergarten and eighth grade, and he is proud to have officiated at the weddings of nine of them.

Today, this “queen of islands” is home to 13 fishermen and 75 permanent residents.

A brief business meeting followed Reverend Ives’ talk. Members learned about the Club’s updated website and plans for the upcoming annual Lions “Speak Out,” a public speaking contest for Lincoln Academy students that will take place at the next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club on Monday, March 3.To make dinner reservations for that meeting please call 677-6191. To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact Walt Johansson at 677-2584.

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