This Iconic Portland Maine Lobsterman Statue is Also in Washington D.C.
It's also on Bailey Island! Why are there three of these statues and is it based on a real lobsterman?
The Portland Press Herald had a great article on the history of the lobsterman statue. If you've ever been downtown, you have passed it a million times. But is it a real guy?
The statue was based on real-life lobsterman H. Elroy Johnson. He was a lifelong fisherman from Bailey Island and he was Maine's biggest voice for fishermen and lobstermen. He fished for 65 years and was as Maine as you get. He was considered an unofficial spokesman for the fishing industry in Maine. He was pretty well respected at the statehouse for not being a political man.
Johnson posed for a well-known Portland sculptor, Victor Kahill. Victor was commissioned by Maine to make the statue to be the focal point of the Maine exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. But it was a huge expense and money wasn't raised, so what went to the fair was a plaster model painted bronze.
When the statue came back to Maine, it was damaged repeatedly by vandals and eventually put into storage.
It wasn't until Elroy passed away in 1973, that the Maine Legislature got the money to actually make THREE bronze versions of 'The Maine Lobsterman.' Another sculptor, Norman Therrien, used the original plaster cast and created what you now see in front of the Nickelodeon Theater in Portland.
One is at the end of Bailey Island, where Elroy was born.
The third and final one is on Maine Avenue in Washington, D.C., overlooking the Potomac River. How cool is that?