Historic Timeline

1887

The Oasis Club completed construction of their new clubhouse, aptly named the Mount Desert Reading Room, with a grand celebration on August 3rd, 1887. The avowed purpose of The Oasis Club was to promote “literary and social culture.” The handsome new cedar shingled structure, designed by architect William Ralph Emerson, became the center of social activities during the summers before World War I.

1887

1902

The steel pier was constructed along the shore path in front of the Mount Desert Reading Room to accommodate yachtsman looking to access the club from Frenchman Bay.

1902

1910

President William Howard Taft was provided a grand reception at the Mount Desert Reading Room on his 3 day visit to Bar Harbor. For the next 35 years, the club flourished; members saw their ranks swell by visiting yachtsmen whose gleaming boats lay moored in Frenchman Bay, as well as officers of the U. S. Navy whose ships made annual visits.

1910

1921

Ladies, though allowed admittance by invitation on special occasions, did not enjoy equal status with men at the club until 1921. It was then that a restaurant was opened to the public, and the club, faced with ever-increasing maintenance costs, sought to attract more investors.

1921

1922

Due to World War I and other economic factors of the time, tourism and membership declined to the point that it was no longer feasible for the club to carry the financial burden of the Mount Desert Reading Room. It was sold and over the next 25 years, the building had a number of proprietors and served a variety of tenants.

1922

1923

The Maine Central Railroad purchased the Mount Desert Reading Room and leased it to the Bar Harbor Yacht Club.

1923

1933

A group of hotel owners organized the Shore Club to allow guests at local hotels the use of club facilities.

1933

1939

During World War II, the U.S. Navy leased the building and used it as an observation headquarters.

1939

1947

When the terrible fire of 1947 raged throughout Bar Harbor, the American Red Cross used the building to give assistance to many who were burned out. After the fire, Bar Harbor was left without a single hotel to attract visitors back to the area.

1947

1950

A group of townspeople joined together to develop the Hotel Bar Harbor to include the Mount Desert Reading Room and the addition of a 40-room wing.

1950

1960

A 20-room motel overlooking the Porcupine Islands was added to the Hotel Bar Harbor.

1960

1987

The property was purchased by David J. Witham, who changed the name to the Bar Harbor Inn.

1987

1988

The Oceanfront Lodge building was constructed adding 64 additional guest rooms to the property.

1988

1992

The 20 room motel that had been relocated when the Oceanfront Lodge was constructed was torn down and replaced with the two story Newport building adding an additional 38 guest rooms to the property.

1992

1997

A complete remodel of the Main Inn wing was completed adding several new guest rooms and the beautiful Bayview windows that are in the rooms today.

1997

2006

The building housing the Bar Harbor Inn Spa was constructed in order to provide guests with convenient luxury spa services.

2006

2019

An infinity edge pool was installed to compliment the view of Frenchman Bay along with two adjacent hot tubs.

2019

2020

A complete remodel of the Main Inn wing. Completion of the Birch Point building, which houses the new continental breakfast area, fitness room, and pool bar. Spa building is remodeled.

2020

History & the Future

Over the years and changes in ownership, the original structure of the Mount Desert Reading Room has been and will be preserved as the Bar Harbor Inn grows with the future.

History & the Future

Bar Harbor's Beloved Shore Path

Due to major winter storms significantly damaging the Shore Path, there is ongoing construction along the waterfront.