Dr. McEwen's full name is Osceola
Currier McEwen. His first name, which is an Indian
name, has an interesting story. Back when his
great-grandfather was around, the chief of the
Seminoles was taken prisoner in the Everglades where
he was supposed to be on a peace talk. Dr. McEwen's
great grandfather was so upset that he named his son
after the Indian Chief, Osceola. After that, Dr.
McEwen was named for his grandfather so he became
Osceola Currier McEwen
Dr. McEwen had a father, mother, and
sister. His father's name was George Floy McEwen,
his mother was Mary Antoinette Currier. His sister
was Edith and she married a man named Dorian.
When Dr. McEwen first came to
Harpswell, he was three months old and it was 1902.
Before Dr. McEwen was born, his grandfather was
sailing. He sailed to Portland. There he took a
steamboat to Harpswell.
He saw Auburn Colony being built.
Meanwhile, his daughter Dr. McEwen's mother, wanted
to go to college but her parents wouldn't let her.
She was very upset over this so she started coming
to Harpswell because it was a quiet peaceful place.
When Dr. McEwen was a child he lived
in a small house next to the tennis courts near
Auburn Colony. They had no electricity. They had no
running water. They had no vehicles. There were
kerosene lamps and candles. A pump was next to the
house. One of Dr. McEwen's jobs was to go to the
pump and fetch some water everyday.
Except for three years during World
War II, Dr. McEwen came to Harpswell every summer.
He settled here in 1970.
The family had two ways of getting
to Harpswell. One was to take a horse and carriage
to New York City. Then in New York City you would
get on the Bar Harbor Express. In the morning you
would be in Portland. Then you would take a
steamboat to Harpswell. The other way was to take a
steamship from New York. The steamships were called
Northland and Northstar.
On Harpswell Neck there were two
steamboat wharves. One was right by what is now
Merriman's wharf. The other was at Lookout Point.
When the steamboats came in it was always a big
Back in the early 1900's, the roads
were horrible. They were rough, rocky, hard, muddy,
and bumpy. If anyone tried to drive on them, it
would be very hard.
Dr. McEwen remembers three of the
big hotels that used to be in Harpswell. One was the
Merriconeag House, which was near the end of South
Harpswell close to the steamboat wharf. There was
also the Hotel Germania. The third hotel was Ocean
View Hotel. There were other hotels on other parts
of Harpswell Neck. In addition to all these, there
were also boarding homes.
The hotels they had back then were
very simple. They had no bathrooms, as we know them
and no plumbing. At Dr. McEwen's home they got their
water from a pump and they had outhouses.
The food in the boarding homes was
very good. Dr. McEwen remembers that the cooks “were
Back then people in Harpswell threw
garbage overboard off a cliff. It was done this way
until sanitary laws were passed.
When automobiles were invented and
roads were better, people began to travel more. They
didn't need as many hotels. So hotels began to
Auburn Colony was started in the
1800's by a group of people from Auburn, Maine. They
paid to have cottages built. They also built a
dining room where they ate. The McEwen family ate
there a lot.
When Dr. McEwen was a child, he had
very active life. He had no jobs during the summer
as a teenager. When he played, he always played with
other young people. They would swim, play tennis,
and ride in their boats. The teenagers used to go to
the dance hall that was in Harpswell, and they would
go to the bowling alley that used to be here.
There were two bowling alleys. One
was across from the store at South Harpswell and
under the dance hall. The other one was at Auburn
Colony. They were very poorly made, but the kids had
When Dr. McEwen was a child he was
friendly with some of the year round Harpswell
people. He often went to the Hamiltons. They were
farmers. Horace Lubee and Dr. McEwen were very close
friends. For work they would help with the haying by
jumping around on top to pack it down so they could
put more on. He thought that it was fun work.
Dr. McEwen loved coming to Maine. He
thought about it all year round. He liked to sail,
fish, and swim. He loved all of it except for the
very cold water. But after swimming his mother made
hot gingerbread for him and his sister.
The difference in Harpswell now and
then was that people didn't move around as much. The
roads were bumpy, muddy, and bad. Automobiles
weren't around yet. Everyone knew each other. Dr.
McEwen enjoyed the lovely old homes.
Dr. McEwen attended high school in
Newark, N.J. He attended college at Wesleyan
University and went to medical school at New York
University. After receiving his M.D. degree in 1926,
he spent two years at Belleview Hospital as an
intern. He became interested in becoming a medical
teacher and spent four years at Rockefeller
Institute for Medical Research. He then went back to
N.Y. University and became assistant dean of the
medical school. At age 35 he was made dean and
stayed there for eighteen years.
Dr. McEwen came to Harpswell every
year of his life except for three years during World
War Two when he was in Europe. Dr. McEwen had four
children. Their names are Anne, Matilda, Cathy, and
one boy Ewen. Now he has six grandchildren.
In 1970 when Dr. McEwen retired to
live in Harpswell he started seeing private patients
at Regional Hospital. He was 68 then. He kept on
until the age of 86. Dr. McEwen wanted to live in
Harpswell because he thinks, “it's the best place in
the world.” Once when he was flying back from Saudi
Arabia, he woke up and looked down and he realized
he was over Bath. Then he really woke up knowing
that he would soon be over Harpswell. He looked at
Harpswell and decided that it was more beautiful
than any place in the world.
Dr. McEwen said, “Memories are vivid
and all my days in Harpswell have been a delight.”
The major thing that he misses now is the sailing.
Dr. McEwen's first boat was small. He used a clothes
pole for a mast and a sheet for a sail.
Dr. McEwen said, “When I was in
Harpswell, rain or shine, there was hardly a day
that went by when I wasn't in a boat.”