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A History of MDI through Vintage Postcards - 175th Event

TREMONT – Award-winning Maine author and journalist Earl Brechlin will share the rich history of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park through images from his extensive collection of historic postcards at the Kelly Room of the Tremont Town Office on Wednesday, October 18, at 6  p.m. The talk is part of the Tremont Historical Society’s celebration of the town’s 175th birthday.

Before cameras and IPhones were common, visitors to MDI remembered the beauty of the Island through postcards. Many were hand-colored making each an original work of art.

“Hand-colored postcards, most from more than a century ago, are often historic moments frozen in time,” Brechlin said. “They serve as launching points to discover the communities, people, and ways of life of a bygone age.”

Brechlin, who is the former editor of the Mount Desert Islander, will share a PowerPoint presentation of images from Bar Harbor, Acadia, other MDI communities. Images include historic structures, modes of conveyance, clothing of the time, and even one documenting the folly of a visiting U.S. President on the golf course. How the postcard industry began, and ways to tell what era a card is from just by its appearance will be touched upon.

Nearly all the cards are drawn from Brechlin’s personal collection of more than 2,500 vintage postcards of Mount Desert Island alone. He continues to add to the collection, exploring antique shops, auctions, and online sources. “There are a lot in the collection, but I don't have them all by any means,” he said.

Brechlin, a Registered Maine Guide, is also the author of four other books of casual history based on postcards including “Bygone Bar Harbor,” “Bygone Boston,” “Bygone Coastal Maine,” and “Bygone Backwoods of New England.”

He won the John Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction, given during Maine Literary Awards, 2019 for his book of North Woods essays, “Return to Moose River.” His most current book, “Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine! has been a Maine bestseller.

He also wrote and published a book on the history of the Bar Harbor Fire Department for its 100th anniversary.

 “Forever Yours, Bar Harbor,” was published by the Freeport-based Islandport Press, the region’s foremost publisher of Maine books. Find out more at