Go See the Whale
A Boothbay Harbor Chronicle
by A. T. Larkin
Illustrated by Tim Sample
Luther Maddocks was one of Boothbay Harbor’s most distinguished-and colorful-citizens. He was instrumental in the development of the menhaden industry that made the community boom for a time. When the menhaden failed to make their annual migration north in 1878, Maddocks promptly built a canning factory for lobsters, sardines, and mackerel. Later, he build the first freezing establishment on the East coast to freeze herring for bait.
When Boothbay Harbor became an important supply center for vessels heading for the Grand Banks fishing grounds, you can bet that Luther Maddocks had a finger in that pie. He helped develop the ice and bait business in Boothbay Harbor, and contributed in many ways to the prosperity of the town. He found time, as well, to promote construction of the original footbridge across the harbor, the Opera House, and the laying of pipe to Squirrel Island.
What set Luther Maddocks apart from his more conservative fellows was that he was never afraid to take a risk. If there was the slightest chance that he could make a go of a business venture, he was all for it. His grand, improbable scheme to exhibit a whale at the Nineteenth National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1885 was probably his most daring adventure.