Saint Croix Island International Historic Site (English Version)

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OVERVIEW. About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the English audio-described version of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two sided color brochure that Saint Croix Island International Historic Site visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the site, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 45 minutes which we have divided into 26 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. 

Sections 4 to 13 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding a photograph of the island, historic sketches, and a timeline of Saint Croix Island Through Four Centuries beginning in 1604.

Sections 14 to 25 cover the back of the brochure which consists of the Story of Saint Croix Island, the mission, and how to plan your visit. 

The Saint Croix Island International Historic Site print brochure is also audio described in French in a different project.

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OVERVIEW. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

This audio-described brochure tells the story of the landing by the French at Saint Croix Island in Red Beach, Maine. It details the expedition commissioned by King Henri IV, the landing at the island, and mapping by Samuel Champlain.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, located in Downeast Maine, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 35 acre park is situated 8 miles south of Calais at the edge of The Saint Croix River, which forms part of the border between Canada and the United States. This park, established in 1984, is one of three national park sites in Maine. Each year, about 10,000 visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that can only be had at Saint Croix Island. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, park rangers, brochures, maps, and exhibits are available at the visitor center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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IMAGE and TEXT. National Park Service Standard Banner

DESCRIBING. A black band that contains text and a color image.

SYNOPSIS. A black band across the top of the brochure contains text that indicates it is about Saint Croix Island. Other text identifies the specific U.S. government department and bureau that oversee operation of the park. A small color arrowhead logo of the National Park Service is printed on the far-right side. Together, these features represent graphic design branding that is common on official National Park Service publications. The text is in three columns.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. A solid black band about one-inch-high spans the width of the brochure. It serves as a background for three groups of white text in varying sizes. The largest text is a heading on the left that reads “Saint Croix Island” on one line that is about half the height of the black band. Farther to the right side are two columns of smaller text stacked on two lines. One column reads, “International Historic Site Maine.” The next column placed farthest to the right reads “National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.”

On the right edge of the image is a brown arrowhead logo with the point facing down. At the top right of the arrowhead is white text which reads "National Park Service".  On the left is a tall green tree and at the bottom, a white bison stands on a green field ending in a distant tree line.  A white lake is shown on the right above the green field with a snow-capped mountain towering behind.

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OVERVIEW. Front Side of Brochure

The front side of the brochure will familiarize visitors to the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. It features a photograph of the island, historic sketches, and a timeline of Saint Croix Island Through Four Centuries beginning in 1604.

Images on the front of this brochure pull you in to the historic era of the island. The text, associated maps and photo descriptions are presented under their own sections. In addition to the map and photo descriptions, the text sections provide many descriptive details about what the area looks like and information about the site's history and cultural understandings.

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IMAGE and TEXT. Saint Croix Island

DESCRIBING. A horizontal color photograph of Saint Croix Island at sunrise. 

SYNOPSIS. A scenic color photograph that displays Saint Croix Island from a horizontal side angle. Text is superimposed over the photograph, so that you can still see the scenery behind it.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The photo appears to have been taken in spring or summer based on the foliage. The island is pictured at sunrise, backlit with muted pink, purple, and orange clouds as well as distant rolling forested mountains. The island itself stretches across about eighty percent of the horizon shown. The majority of the island is covered in medium-sized evergreen trees of varied heights, with a few pale birches scattered throughout. A small building is perched on the far left end of the island. It is a basic wooden structure painted white with a gray shingled roof and no visible windows. Near the center of the island, above and behind the tree line, is a U.S. Coast Guard radio tower. The right third of the island is substantially less forested, allowing a field of grass to grow on a sandy bluff. To the right side of the island, there is a view across a small section of water to a forested hill on the Canadian shore, and then there is another, smaller island with a rocky shore and trees. Towards the bottom half of the photo with related text, on both islands, forest is replaced with a pale granite shoreline, while the beach itself is darker in color possibly from the growth of tidal life such as algae and seaweed, though the picture is too far out to identify individual organisms. The river, influenced by the tides, is at high tide. The water surrounding the island is textured with small ripples, but it is calm enough to clearly see the reflection of the trees, rocks, and clouds above it. Lower on the photo where the related text has been superimposed, the water fades to a pale blue with faint wispy cloud reflections.

CREDIT. Sara Gray

RELATED TEXT. Last day of August 1604

Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, mounted a granite knoll to the highest point of the little island. The cool breeze that brushed against his face had a bite to it as though an augury of the winter to come. He watched after his two ships, sails billowing, as they made their way southward to where the river joined the Atlantic. They were bound for France.

His gaze roved along the pleasant tableau of the wooded banks of the river — no sign of European centers of culture and progress, no roads, not even farm fields. Just the wilderness bereft of all trappings of French civilization to which he was accustomed. A wild land, he thought, and mysterious. Two days hence he would see off Champlain, who would sail in their remaining small vessel to explore and chart the coast of Acadie, the North American colony of France.

Dugua turned his gaze upon the settlement. The carpenters had built the storehouse first, then his own dwelling. The framing had been brought all the way from France, but it was filled out with local timber. A bit more rustic than what his peers were accustomed to back in court. He half-smiled at the thought. The other men had labored over their own dwellings and planted gardens. With the departure of the ships, the men resumed work, the clamor of hammer on anvil ringing out across the river.

The island was of modest size but defensible, a necessary caution in an unknown world inhabited by Etchemin, a people so unlike his own. Both the Huguenot and Catholic clerics hoped to convert them to the Christian faith. As a caution against potentially unfriendly native people and foreign vessels advancing upriver, Dugua had directed the placement of cannon on an islet off the southeast end of the island.

A tremor of apprehension shook Dugua as the ships receded into the distance. He briefly closed his eyes as his last link with home finally vanished, stranding him and his men until spring when, should no disaster befall the ships en route, they would return with fresh supplies.

Upon the shoulders of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, nobleman, explorer, and lieutenant general of Acadie, rested the success of this mission and the fate of 78 men.

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IMAGE. King Henri IV

DESCRIBING. An oval shaped picture of a color painting.

SYNOPSIS. A color portrait of a middle aged man shown from the waist up features King Henri the fourth of France.  He is wearing a jeweled gray coat with a ruffled collar facing the viewer with a serious expression.  His dark hair blends into the dark background surrounding him.  King Henri the fourth supported Samuel Champlain's explorations of Canada and L'Acadie in the early sixteen hundreds.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The painting shows a picture of King Henri the fourth of France from the waist up. He is middle aged and has dark gray hair which blends into the almost black background of the painting. He is pale skinned with dark eyebrows and a dark moustache blending into a well shaped, slightly gray beard. A white ruffled collar, common of the sixteen hundreds era, frames his face and head. He is looking directly at the viewer with a smarmy expression. His body is angled slightly to the viewer's right, with his right hand placed on his hip. He is wearing an elaborate gray coat with a ruffle at each shoulder. The coat has vertical stripes of white jeweled crosses, similar in shape to a Saint George's Cross. A vertical row of red and blue jewels goes down the middle of the coat, partially obscured by a green ribbon around his neck holding a large gold Saint George's style cross which hangs almost at his waist. There are also red and blue jewels on the ruffles at each shoulder and a slim gold belt with an ornate pattern double looped around his waist. 

CAPTION. King Henri the fourth commissioned the Dugua expedition.

CREDIT. Anonymous, Sixteen Hundreds, French School; Grenoble Museum

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DESCRIBING. A photo of a European style black felted beaver hat. 

SYNOPSIS. A dark brownish black hat made of felted beaver fur. It is photographed from a slight upward angle, showing the rounded top of the hat.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The hat remains superimposed over the background with a slight drop shadow to add dimension around the photo. It appears to be made in typical European style, somewhat resembling a bowler hat but with a flatter rim. It has a fairly basic design, with a tall, round top and a wide brim which wraps around the circumference. There are no additional details. It appears lightly worn with some slightly uneven textures on the brim, but is otherwise in good shape. The hat is crafted from felted beaver fur, a technique where the fur fibers are matted and compressed together to create a sturdy material.  The felted texture gives the hat a soft appearance, it is not shiny or reflective, and looks like it would be soft and flexible to the touch.

CAPTION. The trade in beaver pelts, used in Europe for hats, changed the traditional ways of native peoples.

CREDIT. Parks Canada / Landmark Design Ltd.

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IMAGE. Fur trading scene

DESCRIBING.  A black and white image of an illustrative print of an engraving or painting. The image appears dated with blurred and fuzzy linework and a little faded.

SYNOPSIS.  A black and white image (perhaps a monoprint) of a close up of a representational scene of a densely populated, outside trading market with various groups of people.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. This image is an example of what fur trade and trading goods may have looked like in a similar time frame in history, however, the artist illustrated this scene to show a market at Cartagena, Colombia.

The image is divided into three focus areas; foreground, middle, and background to create a sense of depth in a flat two dimensional illustration. There are two hut like structures that sit on a hill, located at the top-center of the background. The two huts are shaded with trees behind them. The terrain is uneven with low hills. There is no vegetation in the foreground where the people are. In each focus area, there are many people trading goods in groups. Some individuals are unclothed, while some individuals wear minimal pieces of fur and/or cloak. Perspective in this illustration is not entirely realistic.

In the foreground, the focus is on two unclothed women who wear their hair in braids with headdress. One woman kneels on the ground on an unfolded tarp with goods like fish, long instruments, and an arrangement of squash spread out neatly in front of her in a semi-circle fashion. Behind the seated woman, another woman is standing, stepping forward with both hands carrying what appears to be a fur pelt. The fur in her hands includes the head of the animal with paws and tail still attached. These two women direct their gaze at a man located to the viewer's left. He holds two handfuls of long, large feathers. The interaction between the woman and the man hints at trading the two bundles of feathers for goods that they have on the tarp. Next to the women are two separate groups of people interacting with each other by conversation. The people are showing each other items that are not able to be distinguished by the viewer, but hints at side trades or bartering happening.

The middle section of this illustration depicts people trading. There are 6 groups arranged in a circular manner around an open area. Each group has goods on the ground, some laid out on a tarp and others directly on the floor. Although it is very busy with over 50 people just in this section alone, it appears orderly. Most people are standing, some are kneeling, and everyone is engaged in conversation of some sort.

Near the top of the image, the background shows more landscape that includes hills and a mountain in the far distance to the left. This area of the image has fewer groups of people. There are two small huts in the middle on a hill with trees shading them. The hill separates the two groups of people walking away from the scenes of the dense trading market area. The two groups walk towards the distance in a single file, each person carrying something in their arms. The people to the viewer's right walk back to what appears to be a fence arranged in a circular formation in the distance. There are small buildings within the fenced area. As they leave the market, the people walk past a group of trees beyond the image area at the top right. The group of people in single file on the viewer's left walk towards a tall mountain. There is a small area of dense trees that hints at an area where there might be an established small community for these people to return to with their goods. In the far distance at the top of the image is the sky. It appears to be a clear day.

CAPTION. The trade in beaver pelts, used in Europe for hats, changed the traditional ways of native peoples depicted in this fur trading scene.

CREDIT. British Library

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IMAGE. Samuel Champlain

DESCRIBING. A small sepia full body drawing of Samuel Champlain wearing a suit of armor.

SYNOPSIS. This drawing depicts Samuel Champlain from head to toe, standing with a confident expression and a full suit of armor. He holds a rapier in his outstretched right arm with the tip resting on the ground and a metallic helmet in his left arm.  Champlain weathered the harsh winter of 1604 to 1605 on Saint Croix Island.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. A hand drawn full body illustration of Samuel Champlain captures his confident pose in a full suit of armor as he gazes off to his right. This illustration is drawn in a realistic and detailed style, and the coloring is between sepia and gray scale. Champlain is depicted with dark, shoulder length wavy hair, defined cheekbones, and a bushy mustache that curves up at the ends, resembling a handlebar mustache. A small goatee starts beneath his bottom lip. He stands with his weight slightly shifted on his right leg, exuding a sense of determination. In his slightly outstretched right arm, he wields a rapier, a straight and thin sword, which is pointed down and touching the ground. The sheath of the rapier hangs behind his body from a belt starting on his right hip. His left arm cradles a round metallic helmet with a small brim and multiple round bolts on its crest. His burnished armor covers his chest and thighs, and cloth garments are also visible, such as a white collar over his chest plate, a sash worn across his chest, and dark pantaloons underneath the armor. Champlain also wears white gloves and dark knee-high buckled boots.

CAPTION. Samuel Champlain, known today as the “Father of New France."

CREDIT. National Park Service

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MAP. Champlain’s drawing of the island

DESCRIBING.  A hand-drawn map in black and white. 

SYNOPSIS. The horizontally oriented, black and white hand-drawn map provides an overview of the French landing place named Saint Croix Island.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The illustration portrays Saint Croix Island featuring structures and surrounding rocks, cliffs, beaches, and water. The irregularly shaped island is at the center of the map, covering approximately ten percent of the image. Buildings and pathways are perched high on the plateau formed by the cliffs. Scattered trees dot the landscape on both Saint Croix Island and the two seashores to the north and south. The remaining portion of the map primarily illustrates the sea, complete with meticulously drawn waves and four sea animals. Additionally, there are two sailboats, a compass rose (located near the right edge), a distance scale extending to the northwest of the island, a small unnamed island (near the left edge), and two horizontal seashores (at the top and bottom edges of the map). 

A small square divided into four smaller squares, perhaps a structure, is on the southern shore. Throughout the depiction, various tiny letters (H, P, M, G, etc.) and numbers (12, 10, 9, etc.) are inscribed in numerous places, though the information regarding the meaning of these symbols remains unclear.

CAPTION. Champlain’s drawing of the settlement

CREDIT. National Park Service

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IMAGE. Astrolabe

DESCRIBING. A small square color photograph overlayed on the top of the corner of Champlain's map of Saint Croix Island.

SYNOPSIS. A circular brass instrument approximately the size of a dinner plate is believed to be Samuel Champlain's astrolabe from 1603. An astrolabe is a navigational instrument used to find latitude.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The astrolabe is in an upright position, tilted slightly. At the top left edge is a smaller brass ring that a thumb would fit through that could be used to hold the astrolabe. There are faint markings that appear to be lines, numbers and letters around the outer tarnished disk of the astrolabe that represent the circumference marked in degrees. There are at least three circular lines very close to one another, with indistinguishable numbers representing degrees within these circular lines.   Four large openings resembling a four-leaf clover surround a knob at the center. 

A rotating handle-like piece with a movable pointer at the center called the alidade is lined up almost vertically to the instrument with the pointer at the bottom. The alidade and the movable pointer are used to measure angles and determine the position of celestial bodies. This astrolabe was believed to be lost by Champlain during a trip up the Ottawa River in 1613 and was found by a fourteen-year-old boy in 1867 near Cobden, Ontario.

CAPTION. Astrolabe possibly used by Champlain.

CREDIT. Canadian Museum of Civilization

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IMAGE. Woodworking and pottery artifacts excavated on Saint Croix Island

DESCRIBING. A color photograph of two pieces of pottery and two axe heads.

SYNOPSIS. The image is unframed and shows four items free floating over a backdrop showing faint, out of focus graphic elements. The four images from top to bottom are a Native American stone axe head, a piece of broken pottery, a French axe head made of metal, and a piece of Normandy pottery.

IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The four images, two axe heads and two pieces of pottery, were selected to show some differences between Passamaquoddy culture and craftsmanship, and that of the French, circa 1600. 

The first tool is a Passamaquoddy axe head. Made of stone, the axe head is formed by chipping at another piece of stone. The surface does not appear machine smooth but rough and slightly imperfect because of the use of the tool as well as the hand-made nature of the axe head. The left side of the axe head is rectangular in shape, and it tapers at the two-thirds point before coming to a point at the right end. There is a notch on the top and bottom separating the left two-thirds of the axe from the final third, which would be where the handle was affixed.

Below the axe is a piece of Passamaquoddy pottery, about one-third of the size of the axe above it. The pottery is yellowish or lighter brown with a textured crisscross pattern. The piece of pottery is irregularly shaped as is common with broken pieces and has a flatter top edge slightly tapered on the right and left and finishes slightly rounded at the bottom.

The third piece is a French axe head which is made of a hard, dark colored metal, likely iron. It has the rough, dimpled surface common of modern day cast-iron pots and pans. It is slightly larger than the Native American axe head, and has a relatively long, slightly curved blade. The right sides curve around where a handle would be attached.

The fourth part of the image is a triangular piece of broken French pottery, about the same size as the other pottery fragment and colored reddish brown. The top edge looks finished with a green hued glaze, while the other edges are rough.

CAPTION. Woodworking and pottery artifacts excavated on Saint Croix Island. From top, Native American stone axe and pot sherd, French axe, Normandy pot sherd.

CREDIT. National Park Service

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TIMELINE, IMAGE and TEXT. Saint Croix Island Through Four Centuries

DESCRIBING. A hand drawn historic map, pale blue and white, faded to serve as the backdrop of this timeline. 

SYNOPSIS. The backdrop of this section is the lower portion of a composite image. The scenic photo of the island and its surrounding water fades into a pale, faded graphic of a historic map, with pale water and cloud reflections seamlessly merging into this pattern. 

RELATED TEXT. Saint Croix Island Through Four Centuries.

1604. Dugua departs France for North America, outfitted for an ambitious endeavor involving a settlement (“Habitation”) and trading post.

1604 to 1605. Saint Croix Island settlement.

1605. Settlers move to Port Royal. Dugua returns to France to defend his trade monopoly, never again to set foot on North American soil.

1606 to 1607. Samuel Champlain and the Sieur de Poutrincourt visit the island and note the gardens are still producing. Dugua’s monopoly is revoked. The settlers return to France, leaving the Habitation in the care of Membertou, chief of the Mi'kmaq.

1607. Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, is founded in Virginia.

1608. Dugua’s monopoly is temporarily reinstated. Champlain explores to the west and founds the city of Quebec.

1613. Captain Argall of Virginia carries out orders to drive the French from the coast. He destroys the remaining buildings on the island and sails to Port Royal, burning down the Habitation while the French are working in the fields.

1620. Pilgrims arrive in Plymouth.

1700s. After 1632 the name Saint Croix Island vanishes from records. After 150 years of war, the French cede Acadie to Britain. The Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot, Mi'kmaq, and Abenaki peoples form the Wabanaki Confederacy.

1783 to 1797. The Saint Croix River is designated as the boundary between Canada and the United States. The two nations disagree over which river is the Saint Croix. Using Champlain’s maps and documents to locate the island, Robert Pagan of Canada finds ruins, French brick, and pottery, thus identifying both the island and the river and resolving the dispute.

1800s. The island is settled, it is quarried for sand, and a light station is erected. During this time it is said that French brick was visible and that visitors carried much of it away.

1949. Saint Croix Island is de­clared a national monument.

1950 to 1970. Light station burns down. Historical and archeological resources on island are documented.

1984. The island is redesignated an international historic site in recognition of the “historic significance to both the United States and Canada.”

2004. 400th anniversary of the French settlement on Saint Croix Island.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back side of the brochure will familiarize visitors with the Story of Saint Croix Island, the mission, and how to plan your visit. It features images of the settlement and fur trading, an aerial photograph of Saint Croix Island, and maps of the region. The text, associated maps and photo descriptions are presented under their own sections.

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QUOTE and TEXT. The Story of Saint Croix Island

The Mission.

QUOTE. Some aim at profit, others at glory, and others at the public welfare. The greater number take to commerce.*—Samuel Champlain.

*The 17th-century French has been translated into modern usage.

In April 1604 Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, sailed from Havre-de-Grâce, France, aboard the flagship La Bonne Renommée bound for North America. King Henri IV granted Dugua a trading monopoly and the title lieutenant general of Acadie. In exchange Dugua was directed “to establish the name, power, and authority of the King of France; to summon the natives to a knowledge of the Christian religion; to people, cultivate, and settle the said lands; to make explorations and especially to seek out mines of precious metals.”

Dugua and his investors were interested in the lucrative fur trade. Samuel Champlain, map maker and chronicler of the expedition, hoped to discover a “Northwest Passage” that would serve as a shortcut for commerce with Asia. Upon reaching North America in May, Dugua explored along the coast of present-day Nova Scotia, sailing into a natural harbor Champlain named Port Royal.

Settling Saint Croix Island.

In June, Dugua and his company sailed into Passamaquoddy Bay, exploring upriver and the tributaries that fed it. He chose a small island in the middle of the river for the settlement. This, Champlain said, they considered “. . . the best we had seen both on account of its situation, the fine country, and the trade we were expecting with the Indians of these coasts and the interior, since we should be in their midst.” They found the surrounding countryside pleasant, the soil fertile and good for brickmaking, and fresh water obtainable on the mainland.

Champlain drew the plan for the settlement. The men set to work immediately, much at the mercy of black flies, building first a fortification, then a storehouse and dwellings. They also constructed an oven and a hand mill for grinding wheat. Gardens, both on the island and mainland, were sown with vegetable seeds and grain. Champlain described the waters surrounding the island to be so full of alewife, related to herring, and bass that “vessels could be loaded with them.” He observed that the Passamaquoddy came to the area for five to six weeks during the fishing season to take advantage of the bounty. At low tide settlers harvested shellfish from the island’s shore, “which proved,” Champlain said, “of great benefit to everybody.”

The Meeting of Two Worlds.

Nearby Passamaquoddy came to see the newcomers and camped at the foot of the island. The French built a small chapel there, perhaps for the use of the native people. The Passamaquoddy served as guides during Champlain’s coastal explorations. They supplied the furs the French sought in exchange for hatchets, knives, glass beads, rosaries, caps, and tobacco. For many of the Passamaquoddy, the Dugua expedition may have been their first direct encounter with Europeans.

The Winter.

Acadie shared the same latitude as temperate France, so it was assumed the climate would be similar. However, the settlers knew nothing of the arctic air flow from the north. As the hours of daylight dwindled and the air sharpened, the settlers discovered they were not prepared for the severity of a North American winter.

Soon the river froze, the tides upheaving cakes of ice too treacherous to cross. The settlers were trapped, cut off from the mainland; cut off from fresh water, game, and the wood needed to fuel their fires. In the storehouse, cider froze in barrels and had to be issued by the pound. Their diet consisted of only salt meat and vegetables which, Champlain said, “produced poor blood.” By February men began to die. Those who perished were buried on the island. In March the Passamaquoddy brought the survivors game in exchange for bread and other goods.

During the winter a certain malady attacked many of our people. It is called land-sickness, otherwise scurvy . Of seventy-nine of us, thirty-five died, and more than twenty were very near it.—Samuel Champlain

Leaving Saint Croix Island.

The severe winter of deprivation left the settlers anxiously awaiting the return of their ships from France. They expected the vessels at the end of April, but as April passed and mid-May arrived, there was still no sign of the ships. The settlers feared the ships had been lost, severing their lifeline with home and supplies. Dugua decided to fit out their small vessel to go in search of ships that might return them to France. However, on June 15th the expected vessels arrived bearing more men and supplies, which were met with much rejoicing.

Dugua resolved to move his settlement. After such a devastating winter he desired a warmer climate. Accompanied by Champlain and some of the men, they sailed down the coast as far south as Cape Cod, but found nothing that pleased Dugua. In the end he chose to return to Port Royal. The settlers dismantled some of the structures on Saint Croix Island and moved anything of value to Port Royal.

Legacy of Saint Croix Island.

Not only was Saint Croix Island the location of one of the earliest European settlements on the North Atlantic coast, but its harsh lessons led to a more successful settlement at Port Royal — establishing a French presence that endures today.

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IMAGE. French Trade Goods

DESCRIBING. A horizontal photograph displaying an assortment of goods produced by France, typical of the 1600s, including tools, pelts, and other utilitarian objects.

SYNOPSIS. A horizontal color photograph with the background erased. It is primarily composed of two separate elements. Two rows of eight rectangles resembling a window against the black background of the brochure. In the foreground, an animal hide is draped over a flat surface, possibly a table, which has been digitally removed from the image. A collection of French goods are arranged on top of the hide. The goods include beaver pelts, metal cookware, and metal tools. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. A horizontal color photograph appears to be from a historic collection or museum display. The upper left corner includes eight small rectangles, sorted into two rows that resemble window panels. They are off white with a rough texture and darker striations, resembling tree branches. These rows take up about thirty percent of the image. In the foreground is a large animal hide, draped over a flat surface with one corner hanging down. The hide is clearly aged and worn, with a few small holes and tattered edges. Two stacks of flattened beaver pelts, with some of the facial features of the original animal, are placed on the far left and far right side of the table. Combined, the beaver pelts take up about two thirds of the hide. On the left beaver pelt are two bronze pots, one rounded and the other shaped like a typical three gallon bucket. They have both been polished and are shining. The middle of the table is occupied by a small pile of tools, all of which have wooden handles with metal instruments on the end. They include hatchets, small knives, and what appear to resemble carving tools. Directly behind them towards the back of the table is a larger axe, possibly used for cutting wood, and a rectangular item. The beaver pelts on the far right are adjacent to a metal pot that strongly resembles a cauldron or spittoon, with a dark matte texture, approximately the size of a three gallon container. 

CAPTION. The French traded goods like these with the Passamaquoddy

CREDIT. Parks Canada / Landmark Design LTD.

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IMAGE. Bronze Statues

DESCRIBING. A color photograph of a bronze sculpture depicting a Native American man.

SYNOPSIS. The photograph is a landscape shaped image and shows a bronze sculpture of a Native American man from about the knees up. The man is facing towards the right, at a three-quarters angle, with his head and torso on the left side of the image. His arms are outstretched about chest high and holding a large pot. He is wearing a long-sleeved loose tunic with an open collar. His hair falls past the collar. Around his head is a band and the band is holding the quill of a feather at a slight angle from the bottom of the band to about the top of his shoulder. The statue appears to be in a woodland area with primarily evergreen needles filling the screen and some other trees with slightly yellowed leaves reminiscent of fall.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The landscape shaped picture shows a bronze sculpture realistically showing the upper third of a Passamaquoddy man from about 1604. The face is realistic as it was sculpted using a human model to mold it. He is facing at a three-quarters angle between directly forward and to the right, and his facial expression is very calm with closed lips and eyes open. His face is somewhat weathered, with deep lines around his mouth, indicating a person well into adulthood. The cheeks are smooth and full. Light is highlighting the outer edge of the eyes to the chin. He has a full head of hair that looks to be kept relatively neat and combed down and back. Around his forehead is a band of what appears to be fabric and, on the back, and right of his head the band holds a single feather. The feather appears to be held by the quill while the feather points downward from the band at a slight angle from the hair. The angle of the feather is such that the distance from feather to hair increases as it is angled downward.

The loose, long-sleeved tunic has narrow, closed cuffs that are tightened around the wrists and an open collar fastened with string through several holes. The lower end of the tunic reaches past his waist and continues out of view. Close to his knees, the tunic contains a side split, allowing for greater mobility. The arms of the man are outstretched with the fingers of the right hand are slightly spread apart. The left hand is on the other side of the pot and cannot be seen. The shirt shows several lines implying a comfortable fit and a natural fabric.

The man's hands hold a very large pot. The pot has a smoothed shape with slight imperfections to show it was made by striking heated metal – something a metalsmith would make. Imperfections of shape that tells us it is likely handmade. The pot has a thin wire-like handle attached to two rings fastened to the side.

The background of the image shows a wooded area with water and gray sky barely visible through the tree branches. Several horizontal pine branches are behind the sculpture, growing from a main trunk outside of the photo's view on the left. Some of the pine needles are brown, some golden and others a paler shade of green. The needles' color is reminiscent of leaves in the Fall season. 

CAPTION. Bronze statues on the interpretive trail tell the story of Saint Croix Island.

CREDIT. Robert Thayer

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IMAGE. Champlain's plan for the settlement

DESCRIBING. A monochromatic historic map illustrated by Samuel Champlain depicting his vision for Saint Croix Island.

SYNOPSIS. A monochromatic square diagram of the planned community of Saint Croix Island, as envisioned by Samuel Champlain.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. The drawing is on worn, off-white paper. On the center of the island, various structures and plots are drawn with what resembles graphite or possibly ink with strong clear lines and some rudimentary shading. Structures include several rows of houses, larger buildings with chimneys, gardens that have been given an interesting, almost quilt-like pattern. A large tree is at the center, and the surrounding area is dotted with smaller shrubs and trees. The edges of the island are rendered with dark crosshatching and a jagged outline so that they resemble coastal cliffs, while still maintaining the overall square shape of the island. The water surrounding the island is shaded with pointillism, giving it a texture unique from the landmass.  For further information, a large-scale bronze model is displayed on the interpretive trail.

CAPTION. Champlain drew up this plan for the settlement.

CREDIT. National Park Service

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IMAGE. Storehouse supplies

IMAGE. The Saint Croix Island community's storehouse supplies

DESCRIBING. A color painting of the interior of a cluttered French storehouse, showcasing a variety of goods typical of the 1600s. 

SYNOPSIS. An artist's depiction of the French storehouse used on Saint Croix Island, with various items such as barrels, pots, rope, and baskets on the floor, table, and hanging on the walls.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. A dimly lit interior scene is cluttered with a variety of elements for nourishment and survival. Strong blue and green colors depict shadows, while warm yellows and browns reveal lit areas.  The walls appear to be yellowed plaster with structural wooden beams, and the floor is cobblestone. The back wall features an open doorway partially cropped on the left, the space beyond the door is obscured by darkness.

The back wall has a variety of objects hanging on it, including large wicker baskets, what appears to be a slab of meat from a large animal bigger than a person, clothing, and rope. Laid against the wall are four wooden barrels, with one being tilted over horizontally with a faucet installed. The foreground of the image consists of a table with various pelts and fabrics, and a massive coil of rope.

Describing the space in more detail, the leftmost doorway has about an armlength of rope coiled towards the top, directly right of that is a slab of what appears to be raw meat, large enough that it when it is hung from about one fourth from the top of the wall it is able to touch the floor, two twine woven baskets, and two dark colored jackets. The baskets have a blueish hue from the lighting and are large enough to hold several gallons. The two jackets seem to be hung from the ceiling. One is brown and one is black, but from the artists' depiction their material is unclear. They are draped down and wrinkled in such a way that further detail is obscured.

On the floor directly in front of the open doorway are narrow clay vases with handles near their mouths that are approximately one fourth the height of the wall. They are glazed, an uneven shade of brown and rusty red, and appear to be well used. The back vase is missing one handle as if it broke off. Placed along the back end of the wall are also four wooden barrels. Three are quite large, taller than the vases and nearly half the height of the wall and have a greenish tone. The barrel farthest right and closest to the foreground is about two-thirds the size and is a warmer brown color. Most of the barrels are placed vertically on their circular faces, but the second barrel from the left is tucked into the corner of the storeroom and laid horizontally on its side. It has a spout attached presumably to access the contents inside. Right by its base there sits a metal pitcher.

The foreground consists of a wooden table and more supplies upon it to the left, and a coil of rope to the right. Together, these objects take up most of the lower half of the image. The materials on the table consist of two pelts and a metal pot. One pelt is dark brown and furry, considering the cultural context it is possibly a beaver pelt. The other is pale yellow, possibly the underside of a tanned hide, or some other fabric-like material. They are both tossed on the table haphazardly, with some of the yellow material spilling off the side of the canvas. The metal bucket is well polished and the approximate size and shape of a typical saucepan, though it has no visible handle. The coiled rope to the right of the table takes up a great amount of space, the circumference of the coil of thick rope is about twice that of the large barrels.

CAPTION. The supplies in the settlement’s storehouse began to give out during the harsh winter of 1604 to 1605.

CREDIT. Parks Canada / Susan Tooke

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TEXT. Planning Your Visit

Facilities. There is no ferry to the island. The mainland offers a view of the island and an interpretive trail with bronze statues telling the story of the 1604 settlement. Other facilities include a visitor center, restrooms, picnic tables, a primitive boat ramp, and a vault toilet. Service animals are welcome.

Administration. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is administered by the US National Park Service in cooperation with the Canadian Government.

Regulations. The site is open from sunrise to sunset. Commercial operations require a National Park Service permit. Follow state laws regarding the possession of firearms.

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IMAGE. Aerial view of Saint Croix Island

DESCRIBING. An aerial color photograph of Saint Croix Island, a small island in serene blue water.

SYNOPSIS. Saint Croix Island contains two primary areas connected by a thin land bridge. The landscape of the island includes dark rocks along the shore, a gray sand beach on the larger segment of the island, and a flat grassy area surrounded by tall dark green trees. There are a couple of smaller islands called nubbles visible around the main island of Saint Croix.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION. From overhead, Saint Croix Island is a small island of 6.5 acres, with two primary areas that are connected by a thin land bridge. The island is surrounded by blue water with slight ripples across the surface. In the photo, the segment of the island closer to the camera is smaller, with dark rocks creating an L-shaped outline along the shore of the island. The top of this section is connected to the larger segment of the island, which also features some dark rocks along the shore, and a grey sandy beach. A majority of this larger segment is composed of a flat plain of green grass with tall dark evergreen trees bordering the grassy area. This aerial photo seems to be taken during low tide, from an angle southeast of the island. From this view, some smaller rocky islands are visible to the immediate south, west, and north of the island.

CAPTION. Saint Croix Island, approximately 6.5 acres, lies in the Saint Croix River next to the US-Canada border. Dugua called the island Sainte-Croix, “holy cross”, for the cross-like intersection of upriver tributaries.

CREDIT. National Park Service

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MAP. Saint Croix Island Region - United States and Canada border

DESCRIBING. An overview map of the region surrounding the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

SYNOPSIS. An overview map of the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site's location in northeastern North America, on the coast between the United States and Canada, with nearby states and provinces outlined. The United States are depicted in tan, with Canada being depicted in a lighter shade of beige to distinguish the two.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION.  This map places Saint Croix Island International Historic Site within the larger region. Outlines show the boundaries of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canadian Provinces. The states are depicted in a slightly darker shade of tan, while the provinces are depicted in a pale shade of beige. Left to right, from southwest to northeast, the states include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Toward the top right are the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The states and provinces are labeled.

At the center of the map, a rectangular green label with white text that reads Saint Croix Island International Historic Site points to a small green circle where the coastlines of Maine and New Brunswick meet. The outline of the land area has cast a slight shadow on the background, making the map appear to float on top of the rest of the brochure, and part of the outline of the eastern edge of Nova Scotia is over the edge of the adjacent, more detailed map.

CAPTION. The entrance to Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is eight miles south of Calais, Maine, along US 1.

CREDIT. National Park Service

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MAP. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

DESCRIBING. A wayfinding map of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site and surrounding area with major roads, towns, and waterways labeled.

SYNOPSIS. A multicolored map of a section of eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick surrounding the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. The Saint Croix River, shaded blue, flows from west to southeast, left to right, through the center of the map, and forms the boundary between the two countries. At the center, the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site consists of two locations, a tiny island in the river, slightly on the United States side of the border, and a site on the Maine shore almost due west from Saint Croix Island, near the town of Red Beach. Major roads are identified by number. Route 1 is in Maine and Routes 1, 2, 170, and 127 are in Canada. Towns along the roads are marked by small yellow circles outlined in black.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION.  A map of a section of eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick surrounding the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. In the U.S., shaded tan, the red line of Route 1 follows the Maine shoreline from Baring, at the west or left edge of the map, to Robbinston, at the south or bottom edge of the map. 

Canada is shaded a lighter tan or gray. The highways, depicted as red lines, are Routes 1, 2, 170, and 127, from Saint Stephen on the west or left edge of the map to Saint Andrews on the east or right edge. Towns along the roads are marked by small yellow circles outlined in black.

Details of the river and each highway route follow from west to east, left to right.

The river, shaded blue, flows from Baring, Maine, on the left side of the map north to Milltown, Maine, and then Calais, Maine, where it flows beneath a bridge to Saint Stephen, New Brunswick. The river widens slightly, then turns southeast and passes the mouth of Oak Bay, then is joined by the Waweig River, which flows south from the north or top edge of the map. This confluence forms the cross-like shape that inspired the name Saint Croix. The Saint Croix River widens as it continues to flow southeast, around Saint Croix Island, which is at the center of the map. A label with the text Saint Croix Island International Historic Site points to two locations shaded green: the island, in the middle of the river slightly on the USA side of the border, and a point on the coast of Maine almost due west of the island near the town of Red Beach on Route 1. To the east on the New Brunswick shore is a Parks Canada Interpretive Site, marked with a small black square just south of the town of Bayside. The river continues south past Robbinston, Maine, and Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, then into Passamaquoddy Bay. There is an unnamed island in the bay and another unnamed island east of Saint Andrews. 

The international border between the USA and Canada is a dashed line that follows the center of the Saint Croix River. Irregular shapes colored blue indicate scattered large and small lakes in the central part of the Maine portion and the eastern part of the Canada portion of the map.

CAPTION. The entrance to Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is eight miles south of Calais, Maine, along US 1.

CREDIT. National Park Service

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TEXT. Canadian Highways

The highways in Canada are 1, 3, 170, and 127. Route 1 extends from the northwest or left edge of the map to the northeast or right edge of the map, passing north of Saint Stephen where it intersects with the north-south Route 3. Route 1 passes through Oak Bay and the Waweig River, and then intersects with Route 127 and passes through town of Bartlett. Route 1 continues to the east or right side of the map where text indicates the road leads to Saint John. Oak Bay is about halfway between Saint Stephen and Bartlett. From Saint Stephen Route 3 continues north off the map to Fredericton. Route 170 is south of and parallel to Route 1 from north of Saint Stephen to Oak Bay, and crosses the Waweig River before intersecting with Route 127. Route 127 runs from the north or top edge of the map to an intersection with Route 1 and Route 170, and continues south close to the shore of the Waweig and Saint Croix rivers to Bayside, the town just to the north of the Parks Canada Interpretive Site. Route 127 continues southeast Saint Andrews, which is at the end of a narrow peninsula in Passamaquoddy Bay. Route 1 turns northeast to Saint Andrews North, and then continues northeast and off the east or right edge of the map.

In the southwest or lower left corner of the map is a black circle around an arrow that is pointing to the word north above the circle and to top of the map. Below the circled arrow is a scale of two and a half miles per inch or five kilometers per one and one quarter inch.

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TEXT. Maine Highways

There is one highway shown in Maine, Route 1, which enters the west or left edge of the map, where text indicates that the road continues to Route 9 and Bangor. Below this text is a shadowed outline of the eastern edge of Nova Scotia, an overlapping part of the regional map located to the left. The town of Baring is close to the west or left edge of the map on Route 1. From Baring, the road follows the Maine shoreline north. An unmarked road branches west and appears to cross the Saint Croix River. Route 1 continues to Milltown and Calais, where another road branches north and over a bridge to Saint Stephen. From Calais, Route 1 turns southeast and continues to follow close to the Maine shoreline of the Saint Croix River to Red Beach and the International Historic Site, and then another 2.5 miles to Robbinston. Route 1 continues south to the bottom edge of the map, where text indicates that the road continues to Pembroke and Ellsworth.

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OVERVIEW. More Information

More Information

Saint Croix Island
International Historic Site
PO Box 247
Calais, ME 04619

Associated Sites.

The Canadian side of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site offers a different view of the island and an interpretive trail. The site is on Route 127 between St. Andrews and St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada, located near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, is a reconstruction of the habitation established in 1605 by the survivors of the Saint Croix Island settlement. Both associated sites are administered by Parks Canada. More information is at

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