Peak's Island is part of Portland, Maine, about a 15-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Ranging in population today from about 800 in the winter to 6,000 in the summer, it became popular as the "Coney Island of Maine" in the late 19th century. These postcards show the steamboat "Pilgrim" landing at the ferry dock, the view from offshore, and the Gem Theater which existed until 1934 when it was destroyed by fire.
The island also played an important role in World War II, when an isolated facility called Battery Steele was built to house a large military defense installation. It included two 16 inch guns, which were only fired when first tested, blowing out windows on the other side of the island. Today, Battery Steele is a hidden ruin consisting of a large underground tunnel with side rooms where ammunition was stored, decorated by graffitti and home to partying teenagers. An arts exhibit, called the "Sacred and Profane" festival, transforms the space into a performance and visual art exhibition annually. See the TimParsons Project Website for great photographs of this site.