Wow. Just imagine standing on the Bar Harbor town pier while looking out over Mt. Desert Narrows and seeing this big boy hovering above the water.

U.S. Navy

Call it what you may.  A dirigible, a zeppelin, or a blimp.  Any way you look at it a 680-foot long flying balloon loaded with bombs and sporting machine guns is a big deal, especially in Downeast Maine.

It was the USS Shenandoah, named after the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and it was officially called a "rigid airship" by the U.S. Navy. Here's why it ended up in Bar Harbor for the Fourth of July back in 1925.

USS Shenandoah, Bar Harbor Historical Society.

Just like they still do nowadays, except when there's a nasty COVID-19 pandemic taking place, the governors of all 50 states will gather for the annual governor's conference, which is a big hobnob kind of affair where everyone gets to know one another and discuss the current issues of the day affecting both states and the country.

In 1925 the governor's conference was held at the then already world-famous Poland Springs Resort in Poland, Maine, about 30 miles north of Portland. While the governors weren't busy conducting official business they like any other people from away wanted to see more of the state and do that "tourist thing."

So the Navy flew the USS Shenandoah from its homeport in New Jersey up the coast to Bar Harbor to fly the governors back and forth across the state to take in the sights high above the pines.

Assunta Luchini, courtesy of Gina Luchini Fuller
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The USS Shenandoah was tethered to the USS Patoka during its idle time while in Bar Harbor. It was quite the sight for both tourists and locals alike as an airship of this type was not seen every day, especially in Maine. The shoreline of Bar Harbor was filled with people admiring the spectacle.

U.S. Navy

Just two short months later the airship filled with helium would meet its fate during a thunderstorm on September 3rd and break apart while cruising over Ohio. The USS Shenandoah was officially "stricken" by the U.S. Navy on September 5, 1925.

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