Sullivan, Maine - Downeast

Sullivan, Maine, located in Downeast Hancock County, was incorporated in 1789 and named after an early settler named Daniel Sullivan. Current population, per the 2020 census, is 1,219. Once known for its fishing fleet and granite industry, it is considered the gateway to Schoodic Peninsula, home to the only portion of Acadia National Park on the mainland. Consequently, in June of 2000, Sullivan was designated as U.S. Route One's western starting point for the Schoodic Scenic Byway. When first settled by colonists, the area was a large plantation called New Bristol. Today, it comprises North Sullivan, West Sullivan, Sullivan Harbor, and East Sullivan.

Brief History & Location

The area was originally called Waukeag by the native Penobscot and Maliseet tribes. Waukeag referred to a natural glacial formation called a “kame” which can resemble a horseback. A kame is a hill or mound of gravel and sand formed by streams on the bottom of slow moving glaciers. When the glaciers melted, they left these deposits throughout Maine. Waukeag meant “a horseback in a place where the tide runs out strong” and referred to the kame in the great tidal stream that fills Sullivan Harbor, Sullivan Falls north through Taunton Bay, and Hog Bay in Franklin.

Sullivan, Maine, and its east and west sections, are located about 13 miles (21 km) south-southeast of Ellsworth along the Coastal US Route One corridor (see Route One pull-off area) and 13 miles (21 km) from the entrance to the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park. View the following map to see how to get there. Note how close Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island is at the lower left. However, roadwise or drive time is quite different.

Origin of Down East

Location map of Sullivan, Maine

Additional Information

  • Town Government: (207) 422-6719
    1888 U.S. Highway 1, Sullivan, ME 04664
  • Fire Department: (207) 422-3220
  • The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society: (207) 422-0995
    P.O. Box 44, Sullivan, ME 04664 |   Website
  • Frenchman Bay Library: (207) 422-2307
    163 Tunk Lake Road, Sullivan, ME 04664
  • Golf Courses

Population per Year 2010 Census: 1,236

Population per Year 2020 Census: 1,219

Area: 29.62 sq. miles (76.72 sq. km)

Special Features: has spectacular ocean views of Mountains on MDI.

Get Ready for a Surprise

Greg A. Hartford, photographer, author, publisherIf you have never visited this part of the Down East Maine Coast along Coastal US Route One, and many visitors to Bar Harbor, Maine and the rest of Mount Desert Island have not, I highly suggest doing so for at least one of the days during your time in Maine. While traveling east along this highway, it is in Sullivan where the view of the mountains on Mount Desert Island really opens up. It literally almost knocks you over because it is so striking. The word “WOW” just seems to be heard simultaneously within the vehicle. This type of experience continues all the way to the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park.

Acadia and Bar Harbor Resource Guide