The Port Clyde General Store, which housed Linda Bean’s Maine Wyeth Art Gallery upstairs, the Dip Net Restaurant, and Monhegan Boat Line buildings were destroyed by a fast-moving fire Wednesday night. Stephen Betts/The Courier-Gazette

PORT CLYDE — Original artwork by Jamie Wyeth, as well as rare books about the Wyeth family history, were lost in a devastating fire that destroyed three waterfront buildings in the heart of the historic Port Clyde village late Wednesday.

St. George Fire Department Chief Michael Smith, who had just returned from the fire scene Thursday evening, said the fast-moving fire destroyed the Port Clyde General Store and Linda Bean’s Maine Wyeth Art Gallery, which was located above the store. Smith said the fire appears to have originated in the adjacent Dip Net restaurant, which was destroyed as well.

Linda Bean said the art gallery losses were significant. They included three original paintings by Jamie Wyeth and one original N.C. Wyeth that she recently acquired – the frontispiece illustration from Henry David Thoreau’s book “Men of Concord.” All of the Wyeth books, prints, photographs, original paintings and memorabilia in the gallery were lost in the fire. Bean didn’t provide an estimate of the value of the paintings.

The fire also spread to the office building of the Monhegan Island Boat Line and gift shop, causing heavy damage to the building’s upper floor and roof. Though the building was damaged, the business’ mailboat and docks were not affected. Smith no one was injured as a result of the fire.

A reservation clerk at the boat line said the Monhegan mailboat made a couple of afternoon runs on Thursday. She promised that it would be business as usual on Friday. The mailboat carries visitors to Monhegan through October and provides year-round service to the 60 or so people who live on Monhegan.

Artist Jamie Wyeth, who has a home on Monhegan and is the grandson of N.C. Wyeth, is grateful that the mailboat will continue to operate. “The mailboat is our lifeline to the island,” Wyeth said in a telephone interview Thursday evening.


Wyeth confirmed that several of his paintings were lost in the fire, along with a collection of books related to his family’s history. The artwork and books were stored in the gallery above the Port Clyde General Store. The gallery served as research center. Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine purchased the general store and Dip Net restaurant in 2007.

Wyeth said he is concerned about the impact the fire will have on the residents of Port Clyde, as well as Monhegan Island. Port Clyde is a village in the Knox County town of St. George.

“It’s the heart of the town. The general store is where everyone gathers. It is a terrible loss,” Wyeth said.

Linda Bean issued a statement late Thursday through Naomi Gettle, general manager of St. George Peninsula Properties. Bean said the fire dealt Port Clyde village a “devastating blow.”

“There are huge emotional community and business losses to the Port Clyde General Store Complex and to our neighbor’s new building on the Monhegan Boat Line wharf,” Bean said. “The Dip Net Restaurant on our wharf has collapsed into the ocean below. The General Store remains and contents have been demolished as unsalvageable.”



Bean said she hopes to rebuild as quickly as possible.

“My hope is to restore the premises and resume its businesses and jobs there as fully and as soon as possible,” Bean said.

Firefighting crews from at least 10 neighboring communities responded to the fire, which was reported around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday night. Smith said crews spent most of the day cleaning up the rubble. Volunteers from the community also pitched in to help. Firefighters were able to clear the scene around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the State Department of Public Safety, said five investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the fire at 1 a.m. Thursday. They spent the day and part of the evening at the fire scene interviewing witnesses, neighbors and collecting evidence that might help them determine the cause.

“The fire started in the Dip Net restaurant and quickly spread to two other businesses,” Moss said in a statement. “All three buildings were destroyed. Given the scope of the fire it could take days to conclude the investigation.”

“The town is still reeling from the damage sustained in the Village of Port Clyde last night,” St. George Town Manager Rick Erb said. “I have heard from all of our Select Board members, our state legislator, the county, a local bank, and the St. George Business Alliance. All want to know what can be done to help. That opportunity will come, but the first responders need to finish their job first, so that is what we are focusing on. Next steps will be planned as we learn more from the businesses and take stock of the situation.”


The town manager said he also will be in touch with state government to see what emergency assistance could be available to impacted businesses and individuals.

He said the office of Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, already has contacted the town.

“This fire is devastating for the beautiful and historic village of Port Clyde,” Pingree said in a statement. “I am monitoring the situation and keeping this tight-knit community and these businesses in my thoughts.”

Smith said the Monhegan Boat Line building, the Dip Net Restaurant, and the Port Clyde General Store were fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived shortly after 11 p.m.

Emergency crews from around the region Battle a fire in Port Clyde on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Christine Simmonds/Courier Gazette

The buildings are assessed at more than $2 million combined by the town.

Crews from St. George, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Warren, Cushing, Owls Head, and Rockland were sent to the scene.


At one point trucks were having difficulty getting through to the scene because of cars parked along the narrow road. Responders located vehicle owners and asked them to move the cars.

A picture from the waterfront side of the Port Clyde General Store, Dip Net Restaurant, and Monhegan Boat Line buildings in May 2023. Stephen Betts/Courier Gazette

St. George called for additional help from Rockport and Friendship at 1 a.m. A tanker was requested from Union at 1:45 a.m. A Waldoboro ladder truck arrived later in the morning.

The fire chief said community members have offered food to firefighters, including the Tenants Harbor General Store, which also is owned by Bean. Wives of South Thomaston firefighters also provided food for the crews.

The nearest store for Port Clyde is the Tenants Harbor store, another village in St. George, five miles up the peninsula.

John Falla of the St. George Historical Society said the general store property was owned by the Trussell family from the mid-1800s to the 1940s. In its early days, the Port Clyde General Store building was probably a ship’s chandlery supporting the waterfront activity in the busy port, Fall said.

Courier-Gazette Staff Writers Stephen Betts and Christine Simmonds contributed to this report.

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