Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park was created after the former Navy Base on Schoodic Point, completely within the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, was returned to the National Park Service. Schoodic Institute was originally conceived in 2004 as Acadia Partners for Science and Learning and later known as “SERC Institute” before changing its name to Schoodic Institute in 2013.
The original concept for Schoodic Institute was to serve as a nonprofit partner to Acadia National Park and cooperate in development and management of the Schoodic Education and Research Center, one of 18 National Park Service Research Learning Centers in the United States.
Multi-million dollar investments of federal and philanthropic funding have been made to improve the campus, managed by Schoodic Institute. The campus now offers housing and meals for individual researchers, groups and conferences, classrooms, laboratories, and a modern 124-seat auditorium in one of the most inspirational natural settings in the country.
The Navy at Schoodic Point
The Navy first arrived on Schoodic Point in 1935, shortly after the National Park Service acquired 2,000 acres from the heirs of John G. Moore. An existing Navy listening station at Otter Cliffs on Mount Desert Island, built in 1917, became an obstacle to the Park Loop Road being planned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Mr. Rockefeller persuaded the Navy to relocate to Schoodic Point.
The purposes and uses of the listening station varied over the years, and the technologies evolved. According to the site Cold War Relics:
The mission of sites like Naval Security Group Activity Winter Harbor was to use an antenna array in conjunction with satellites to triangulate the location of foreign warships, and to provide ships equipped with cruise missiles a means of over-the-horizon targeting.
When the Navy closed the base in 2002, it was a major economic blow to the community. It left vacant housing in town, and dramatically reduced the school population. An in-depth collection of history, photographs, and remembrances from the base are also available online.
From Northeast Historic Film, this is a film shot in 1967 on the 50th anniversary of the base. It features two personnel from the early years at Otter Cliffs, the Commander from 1967, and aerial and ground footage of the base at Schoodic Point in 1967 (aerial footage starts at 6:56).