The Tides Institute & Museum of Art (TIMA) campus consists of six historic buildings and additional properties owned by TIMA mostly located within a few blocks of each other in the downtown and waterfront area of Eastport, Maine overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay and the U.S/Canada international boundary. See the Campus Map to view the close proximity of the buildings to each other. These buildings, dating from 1819 to 1887, preserve and reflect the region’s architectural heritage while repurposing them with 21st century activities. Three of TIMA’s buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one is part of Eastport’s local historic district, and two other TIMA buildings are located nearby in an adjacent historic residential area. They include:
• 1. Tides Institute & Museum of Art Building (1887): Extensive Collections. Remarkable Exhibitions.
43 Water Street. Three-and-a-half story cornerstone downtown brick structure (in center of photograph) designed by Boston and Saint John, New Brunswick architect Henry N. Black. Originally built as the Eastport Savings Bank, the building was threatened with destruction and named to Maine’s Most Endangered Places in 1997. TIMA acquired the building in 2002 and has been meticulously restoring the building. The building is part of a 30 building downtown Eastport National Register Historic District. The building now houses collections, exhibition space, and administrative offices. TIMA also owns the 1889 cast iron water fountain that serves as the centerpiece of the small civic space in front of the building. The fountain was made by the J.L. Mott Ironworks Company of New York City.
• 2. StudioWorks (1887): Art Making in the Downtown.
48 Water Street. Two-story, two unit brick structure (in center of photograph) also designed by Boston and Saint John, New Brunswick architect Henry N. Black. Originally built as a clothing manufactory and retail store, the building in recent years had become abandoned and badly deteriorated. TIMA purchased the building in 2011 to preserve it. Since then, the building has undergone major restoration and, since June, 2013, includes first floor studio and workshop space. Additional second floor space has ongoing development and includes additional studio space and kitchen. The building is part of a 30 building downtown Eastport National Register Historic District. Building also serves as a downtown energy efficiency demonstration model including state of the art Austrian automatic wood pellet boiler, radiant heating system and closed cell spray foam insulation. Building includes an adjacent parking lot for six vehicles.
• 3. Veterans Memorial Hall / Royal Art Lodge (c.1820): Artist Housing.
6 Green Street. Initially a Baptist vestry, the two-story wood structure long served as a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Veterans Hall following the American Civil War. The first floor of the building currently provides housing for artists in residence, as well as additional studio workspace. The building was restored and the property was then donated to TIMA by John and Alice Seelye in 2014. The Veterans Memorial Hall / Royal Art Lodge property includes an adjacent vacant lot.
• 4. Rathlin House (c.1820): Artist Housing.
4 Green Street. Rathlin House is located directly next to TIMA’s Veterans Memorial Hall / Royal Art Lodge Building. Little is known about the history of this two and a half story wood structure other than that it served as a private residence for nearly two centuries. Names of families living in the house included Cassidy in 1855 and Stetson in 1881. One of the last residents of the house was a descendant of a large number of Irish immigrants who came to live and work in this area in the mid-19th century from Rathlin Island off Ireland’s northern coast. Hence the house’s name, Rathlin House. The building was restored and the property was then donated to TIMA by John and Alice Seelye in 2015. The building provides housing for artists in residence, TIMA interns and other guests of TIMA.
• 5. Seaman’s Church (1828): Historic Meeting Space. Architectural Treasure & Resource.
26 Middle Street. The Congregational Church, long known as the Seaman’s Church, was constructed in 1828 with Daniel Low as local architect and builder. The original steeple of the church blew over in the Saxby Gale of 1869 and was replaced by the current steeple of different design. The original main sanctuary space (as shown in photograph) is very largely intact though the original balcony has been enclosed. The building is considered one of the finer federal period church buildings in rural Maine and it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. The building and property were gifted to TIMA by the Congregational Church congregation in 2016. The Church building now provides larger meeting space for TIMA and its activities and serves as an architectural resource. The main sanctuary space can host an audience of up to 250 people. The congregation continues to meet at the church building on Sunday mornings.
• 6. Free Will North Church (1819) Project Space: Exceptional Space. Astonishing Sound.
82 High Street. The Free Will North Church Project Space building was originally built for the Free Will Baptist Society in 1819. In 1881 the building was raised and a ground level vestry space added. In the early 20th century a series of stained glass windows created by the Boston studio glass firm of Spence, Bell & Company were added to the main sanctuary and balcony spaces. Abandoned for many years, the building was essentially gifted (sold at a very small faction of its value) to TIMA in 2014 by the then church owners to insure the building’s preservation. The building is included in Eastport’s local historic district. The sanctuary space (as shown in photograph) contains a 23 foot high ceiling and remarkable acoustics (the best in the region) with a wide open ground level former vestry space below. The sanctuary space can host an audience of up to 220 people while the ground level former vestry space can host up to 50 people. TIMA is developing the building as an extension of its exhibition and artist residency programs including performances, site-specific art installations, multi-media presentations, along with ground level studio space. For additional information about Free Will North Church Project Space follow this link: Free Will North Church Project Space.
• 7. Deep Cove Field Site: Woods & Fields, Shoreland & Waterfront Access.
Deep Cove. Located on the western side of Moose Island (Eastport), TIMA’s Deep Cove Field Site provides opportunities for artists and others to work along the shores of Cobscook Bay. Deep Cove is located about a mile from TIMA’s downtown campus and is easily accessible by foot, bicycle or vehicle. The site combines wooded areas, fields with a profusion of wildflowers, and extended views out onto Cobscook Bay. The site also provides shoreland and waterfront access to Cobscook Bay and beyond. The property was donated to TIMA by Coastal Resource Center in 1978. Shackford Head State Park is nearby.
In addition, the Tides Institute owns and is the steward of the shore/landing site at the north end of Eastport’s waterfront for the seasonal Deer Island (New Brunswick, Canada) to Eastport (Maine, USA) ferry service. In an effort to preserve the ferry service, the property was gifted to TIMA in 2007 by John Pike Grady whose family had owned the property for more than a century. As well, the Tides Institute owns an 1889 cast iron water fountain (made by the J.L. Mott Ironworks Company of New York City) that serves as the centerpiece of the City of Eastport civic space in front of the institute’s main building in downtown Eastport, Maine. The fountain was donated to TIMA by the local branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2015. The local branch was disbanding and the branch felt TIMA was the best hope to preserve the fountain in the future.