We Belong Here is a web-based oral history project about North Haven Island, Maine. The project was completed in partnership with the North Haven Historical Society (NHHS).
The project features interviews with eleven year-round residents and six summer residents about their lives and experiences on North Haven. Each interview is accompanied by photographs taken by Bill Trevaskis as well as photographs from NHHS and the interviewees themselves.
The interviews explore the close ties people have to the island and to one another. In every interview, the island community was referenced as the essential element that makes North Haven a special place. While the watery border, natural beauty, and busy town center may contribute, the people make the place. And it is thus from a few of these people that North Haven will be further described.
A presentation of We Belong Here was given at Waterman's Community Center on August 9, 2018. The video component can be seen below.
North Haven is located 12 miles off the coast of Maine, accessible primarily by an hour-long ferry ride three times a day. The island is home to 350 year-round residents, known as “islanders.” North Haven also has one of the smallest K-12 public school in the state of Maine, several farms, a grocery store, a gift shop and a community center. The summer brings over 1000 seasonal residents, often referred to as “summer people.”
North Haven has a long history that dates back to 3300 BCE when the Red Paint People, a pre-Colombian indigenous people, first inhabited the island. The Penobscot Abenaki tribe later populated the island. In 1603, the English explorer Martin Pring named North Haven and the adjacent island of Vinalhaven the “Fox Islands.” European settlers began permanently occupying North Haven in the 1760s and the first summer “rusticators” arrived on the island in the 1880s.
North Haven is now one of 15 unbridged year-round island communities in Maine.
Leta Hallowell, project director
Leta grew up on North Haven and graduated from North Haven Community School in 2012 and then from Duke University in 2016. After living in Northern France and then biking across the country with her little sister, she returned to North Haven. We Belong Here arose from a curiosity about the connection between people and the places they call home, along with a wish to give back to the island community that raised her. Leta will be attending the Salt Institute at the Maine College of Art this fall.
Bill trevaskis, photographer
Bill is a composer, performer, producer, sound designer, arranger and photographer. He moved to North Haven in 2005 and now teaches music at Vinalhaven School. Bill’s photos have been featured in Down East Magazine, The Working Waterfront, Island Journal, MaineBiz, Collective Quarterly, Maine Boats Homes and Harbors and the Maine Public Broadcasting website. When not making stuff, he is gardening, fly-fishing, riding his motorcycle, snowshoeing, and kayaking with his wife, Courtney Naliboff, and daughter, Penrose.
Cecily pingree, Principal advisor
Cecily is a documentary filmmaker and a small business owner and manager. Cecily grew up on North Haven and worked in film throughout her twenties before returning to North Haven to start Calderwood Hall, an island restaurant and market. She co-founded and continues to co-run the video production company, Pull-Start Pictures. Her company has produced work for The New York Times, Ford Foundation, National Geographic, along with many Maine organizations.
Nan lee, advisor
Nan is the current president of North Haven Historical Society (NHHS). She began living on North Haven year-round in 2006 and became the President of NHHS in 2007. She worked as a teacher and administrator at independent schools across Maine and Massachusetts for 39 years. Not a particular fan of “big picture” history, she has loved learning North Haven history one name at a time.
LYDIA BROWN, advisor
Lydia grew up on Vinalhaven Island, but has since migrated to North Haven, put down roots, and is raising a family here. She now runs and manages Calderwood Hall market. Lydia is also a local historian and long-serving officer of the North Haven Historical Society Board. In 2010, she wrote and published On Solid Ground, a book about historic and current farming on North Haven.