Years ago Peaks Island was first Known as "Utowma", meaning "Rocky Place". In 1822, the first ferry boat service began aboard the "Kennebec" running between Peaks and Portland.
By 1830 Peaks became a popular picnic area, and even offered an outdoor bowling alley. In the 1850's, tourism swelled and homesteads began to spring up, along with an increasing demand for guest rooms.
Through 1870-90 tourism boomed again, sparked greatly by America's first summer theatre. Bart McCullum of Portland was the first impressario. He presented many actors and actresses from New York.
In 1880 an amusement park was erected with balloon assentions and the old opera house was converted to the Gem Theatre. Opening night at the Gem was a social event of the season for all of New England.
World War II changed the face of Peaks Island with the installation of Battery Steele and Battery Craven. Many men were stationed on the island ready for battle. Thankfully that need never arose.
Gradually Peaks Island has returned to the beautiful vacation spot of years ago. There are scenic walking and biking paths, beautiful sandy and rocky beaches , kayaks to rent, bikes to rent, an historic Civil War museum, an historic walking trail, shops, and restaurants to visit. With the ferry still running strong today, a short trip across the bay to the Old Port is a great outlet for shopping or dining.