- Great Diamond Island, Maine
Great Diamond Island is an island in
Casco Bay, Maine. It is part of the city of Portland, Maine. As of the 2000 census, the island had a year-round population of 77. The island is not easily accessible by motor vehicleand has a limited network of roads. The primary modes of transportation are golf carts and bicycles. This fact has become a selling point for the island, marketing the area as "car free" and "kid friendly." [http://www.greatdiamondrentals.com/] The island was used as a military base starting in the late 1800s and continuing through World War II. After the base was decommissioned, the bunkers and residences were left idle for over 30 years before being developed and sold to private citizens.
Diamond Cove is a resort community, and ferry stop at the northeastern side of the island. The Diamond Cove properties are on the grounds of the former Fort McKinley, making use of the army barracks and officer's quarters as renovated
condominiums. The abandoned concrete coastal artillerybatteries still exist in the woods at the east of the island, although they are technically private property and off-limits due to safety concerns. The community is gated and, for the most part, not open to the general public, although the Diamond's Edge restaurantis open and located just off the Casco Bay ferry dock. Tours of the grounds, by reservation, are also available. A limited number of homes have also been built on the waterfront areas of the island; many have been featured in local magazines and newspapers.
Diamond Cove was initially an
artisticretreat community, hosting visitors such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellowand Harriet Beecher Stowe, and it included amenities not limited to a nine hole Golfcourse. At the time of the Spanish American War, the island was converted almost entirely to a military base to defend Casco Bay. Fort McKinley was constructed between 1891 and 1907 and remained in service until the end of World War IIin 1945. The property at Diamond Cove remained abandoned for decades, until its renovation to the resortcommunity it is today. [http://www.diamondcove.com/page14.html]
*During low tide, Great Diamond and Little Diamond Island are connected by a land bridge.
*The island was known as 'Great Hog Island' during colonial times.
*Great Diamond Island is the only island in Casco Bay with two different ferry docks.
*Two of Maine's most endangered historic buildings are located on the island, both from the former fort: One is a 200 man barracks facility and the other is the former hospital.
*The recreation center in Diamond Cove contains a Duckpin bowling alley, the only Duckpin bowling in the state of Maine.
* [http://www.diamondcove.com/ Diamond Cove official site]
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