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Preferred Structure Name:
Seawall Campground - Site Furnishings
Structure Number:
Other Structure Name(s):
Other Structure Name(s)
No records.
Acadia National Park
Historic District:
Historic District
No records.
Structure State:
Structure County:
New England
Administrative Unit:
Acadia National Park
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
National Historic Landmark?:
Significance Level:
Short Significance Description:
Seawall Campground is locally significant under Criterion A for its association with the New Deal programs and the CCC, and under Criterion C as an excellent example of NPS Rustic Design constructed during the New Deal era.
Long Significance Description:
The Seawall Campground is significant for its association with the 20th-century movement to develop national parks for public enjoyment, and is a reflection of the principles and practices of rustic park landscape design used by the NPS and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and retains characteristics developed during the New Deal era. The campground is significant not only as an individual landscape feature, but also as a component of the larger development of Acadia National Park, the first national park established east of the Mississippi River. The period of significance for Seawall Campground is 1935-1942, beginning with the preliminary investigation of the Seawall area as a potential Recreational Demonstration Project (RDP) in 1935 and ends in 1942 when the physical work of the CCC was completed.

The Acadia NP campgrounds and picnic areas were constructed by the CCC on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and in accordance with a prototype developed by the NPS in a 1937 master plan. Seawall, developed as an RDA by the depression-era submarginal lands program, is an early automobile campground, part of which was built to accommodate the increasingly popular trailer camper (Loop C). The campground occupies 120 acres along the coastline of the Gulf of Maine, south of Southwest Harbor, on the western side of the island off of Route 102A. Seawall Campground takes its name from a naturally occurring barrier of granite rocks that forms a characteristic “seawall” along the Gulf of Maine approximately ¼ mile to the east. By September 1937 two loops of the campground had been completed; the Loop B comfort station was built 1938-1939, and by 1942 the trailer loop comfort station and the checking station were completed.

Small features such as barriers, gates, and fireplaces enhance the historic character of the landscape. Stone and log barriers were used historically to define all campsites and circulation routes. Three gates, located at the intersection of the entrance road and Route 102A, were built as part of a project in 1942 by the U.S. Navy to provide a secure zone around their newly constructed radio station. Campsites were marked using wooden post-markers. Stone fireplaces were built following a design used throughout the western national parks, with splayed low stone arms attached to a stone backing and a higher back wall. Unadorned metal water supply taps are another feature of the campground.

A few stone and log barriers have survived at the end of a row of individual parking spurs. The only surviving entrance gate was rebuilt to a wider span in the 1970s when the road was widened. Wooden post-markers survive only at the intersection of lateral and perimeter roads. Most of the fireplaces and water supply taps have survived, although many of the fireplaces are in poor condition.
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year CE/BCE
End Year
End Year CE/BCE
Designer Occupation
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Campground/Picnic Area
Primary Current Use:
Campground/Picnic Area
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
Other Functions or Uses:
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
No records.
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Structural Component(s)
Short Physical Description:
Stone/log barriers at end of parking spurs partially buried to simulate natural appearance; entrance gate: two stone piers with heavy timber crossbar gates; water supply taps 2 1/2' to 3' high with common hose bibs & gravel pad; fireplaces: 2-3 stone arms & back wall, fire grate, lined with brick.
Long Physical Description:
Stone/log barriers are located at the end of individual parking spurs and are partially buried to simulate natural appearance. The entrance gate is composed of two massive stone piers with heavy timber crossbar gates. The water supply taps are 2 1/2' to 3' high with common metal hose bibs and gravel pad. The fireplaces are composed of two stone "arms" attached to 2 1/2' high back wall to create a firebox which is lined with beige brick; on some fireplaces a third stone "arm" supports a hinged metal fire grate.