SamOset Hotel, Rockland, Maine

SamOset Hotel 
at Rockland Breakwater, 
Rockland, Maine

The second in the triumvirate of grand New England hotels run by the Ricker Hotel Company was the SamOset, located on the craggy Maine coast at Rockland Breakwater.  The Bay Point Hotel, as it was originally called, was built and operated by Francis Cobb II, and opened on July 4, 1889.

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Bay Point Hotel, ca. 1890
(letterhead, dated May 31, 1890)

Ad for the Bay Point Hotel
and Cottages, 1890
(Boston Evening Transcript, July 1890)

The Bay Point Hotel  ca. 1893
(Booklet, The State of Maine in 1893)

"This magnificent hostlery is beautifully situated on the highland overlooking the ocean, bay, islands, moun-
tains and hills.  It was built with all the modern improvements, and it was the intention it should lack nothing that art could devise, health demand, pleasure or comfort suggest, to make it a home where the most fastidious can abide in luxury, with refined and cultivated companionship of intellectual men and women, where the air and sea and land will lend a witchery always new and ever fascinating.  The public and private rooms are large, well lighted, and cheery, and the verandas, overlooking the waves, present superb marine views."
(Booklet, The State of Maine in 1893)

Samoset_Linen_thumb.jpg (23245 bytes)
Interview of Samoset with the Pilgrims
(Book Engraving, 1853)

The Bay Point Hotel  ca. 1895
(Cabinet Photograph)

Bay Point Hotel Ad, 1900

In 1902, the Bay Point Hotel was sold to the Rickers family, who renovated the hotel and rechristened it the "The SamOset" after the Native American who famously greeted the Pilgrims with the words "Welcome, Welcome, Englishmen" soon after their arrival.  Samoset was a sagamore of his tribe, and was visiting chief Massasoit. He spoke in broken English that he had learned from the English fishermen that came to fish off Monhegan Island, located off the coast of southeast Maine. Samoset was described by the Pilgrims as "...a man free in speech, so far as he could express his mind, and of a seemly carriage ... He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all."

"Originally known as the Bay Point Hotel, it seemed more than fitting that, situated as it is, on ground replete with the romance of Colonial times, the reconstructed house should bear a name commemorating some event in the earliest known history of the region; hence the name 'SamOset', that of the friendly Indian sachem of the bay..."
(Ricker Hotel Company, 1912)

In 1911, the hotel was purchased by the Maine Central Railroad, who also owned the Mt. Kineo House at Moosehead Lake and the Newport House at Bar Harbor.  The Ricker Hotel Company continued to oversee the operations of the SamOset, in addition to the Poland Spring hotels and several other properties. 

The SamOset Hotel  ca. 1905
before the addition made in 1906


The Breakwater as a Promenade,
SamOset Hotel, Rockland, Maine


"The hotel stands on an eminence seventy-five feet above and one thousand feet back from the shore.  Before it stretches beautiful Penobscot Bay, while behind it is the stately Camden Range.  It is always cool at the SamOset, and one finds every sort of diversion -- music, dancing, golf, tennis, boating, bathing,  driving, riding, and motoring."
(Pamphlet, Poland Spring, 1917)

"With a bevy of fifty visitors registering on the opening day, June 25th, the SamOset began propitiously what bids fair the be the largest season in the history of the resort. Old visitors were back, and many who had never been here before, tasted for the first time the seashore delights, -- the lovely
seaward views, fresh briny air, and sport in a score of forms under the most favorable auspices."

"The SamOset has never looked more attractive on its commanding site than it does this year. Its excellently ordered interior leaves nothing to be desired; the coziness of its verandas and nooks reminds one of a beautiful country house rather than a hotel."
- (The Hill-Top Magazine, July 5, 1914)

Section of Veranda of the SamOset,
Rockland, Maine ca. 1908

(Postcard, postmarked Rockland, ME,
Apr. 5,1908)

Front Porch of the SamOset facing the Sea,
Rockland, Maine ca. 1917

(Postcard, postmarked Rockland, ME,
July 17,1917)

Beach at the SamOset
Rockland Breakwater, ca. 1905


Guests starting off on a Motor
Coach tour at The SamOset Hotel

ca. 1912
(Ricker Hotel Company, 1912)

View from the eighth hole
at The SamOset Hotel

ca. 1913
(Pamphlet, The SamOset, 1913)

"Among the minor changes which make for the convenience and comfort of guests, are the installation of an instructor of modern dancing, the
acquisition of a hotel printing press, and the addition of a new manicurist parlor, with an expert always in attendance."

"The golf greens are in splendid condition, on the SamOset course -- known to be as pleasant and sporty as any in the state, and interesting contests are
in prospect. In particular, the Ringer Tournament for the month of July is announced."

(The Hill-Top Magazine, July 5, 1914)

"The improved course is sure to meet with approval, and we now boast a most superior and satisfactory course, and as the links are within the estate of SamOset, their use is free, and also the lockers.  There are sixty caddies, all dressed in white sailor suits (in keeping with the environment), uniform, clean and neat in appearance."

(Ricker Hotel Company, 1912)

"The SamOset cuisine receives careful attention and has long been noted for its high standard of excellence.  The Hotel is adequately equipped with metropolitain service, including telegraph office, long distance telephone, efficient garage and stables, and  accommodations for coachmen and chauffers.."
(Pamphlet, The SamOset, 1913)

Lounge Room of the SamOset,
Rockland, Maine ca. 1908

(Postcard, postmarked Rockland, ME,
Mar. 28,1908)

Dining Room of the SamOset
Rockland Breakwater, ca. 1912

(postcard, postmarked Thomaston, ME,
August 21, 1912)

Foyer of the SamOset
Rockland Breakwater, ca. 1912

(Postcard, postmarked Rockland, ME,
June 28, 1912)

War Vessels from the Samoset
Rockland Breakwater, Maine

(Postcard, postmarked Rockland, ME, 1912)

"Horseback riding promises to be unusually popular this season. A particularly fine lot of saddle horses has been secured from Durland's Riding Academy of New York. Mr. J.J. Hanssens has general oversight of this activity and is giving lessons."

"Within doors dancing, cards, and bagatelle have their devotees. A very good score at bagatelle has been made already by Mr. Bedell of Pittsburgh, Pa. He has made 506 in ten boxes, an average of over 50 for each box. As the prize for high score has gone for lower figures than this in previous seasons, it must be a worthy opponent who betters this score."-

Tramp Chair at the Samoset
"Relic of Twenty Years Adgo"

"Baseball had its formal opening here on Wednesday of this week when Manager baker's team met a fast aggregation of players from Rockland. The game was interesting and ended with the score 2-0 in favor of the SamOset."

"The Eastern Yacht Club this week made its annual visit to the SamOset on its cruise along the Maine coast. The fleet lay at anchor inside the Rockland Breakwater, while many of the yachtsmen came ashore for Sunday dinner."
(The Hill-Top Magazine, July 15, 1916)

The SamOset Hotel,
Rockland, Maine ca. 1970

(Postcard, postmarked Groton, CT,
Oct. 20,1974)

As the new century progressed, the SamOset suffered from the same misfortunes as its sister hotels, namely the great economic depression of the 1930's and the ascendance of the automobile and the changes in travel that resulted.  In 1941 the SamOset was sold to Adriel Bird of the La Touraine Coffee Company and William Doe of Boulton, Smart Company of Boston.  The resort was sold again in 1946 to the Sonnabed Corporation, and after struggling through the 1950's and 1960's, utimately closed its doors for good in 1969.  After several years of neglect, the SamOset was consumed by fire on October 13, 1972.


Brian Harris