Can you identify these locks of love?
Photograph by Pat and Chuck Blackley
Some couples say it with roses and chocolates. Others opt for candlelit dinners. Still others express their devotion with a slightly more enduring gesture: by securing a padlock to a chain-link fence in this Maine city and throwing away the key. It’s a practice that took root in Europe during the early 2000s and has sine spread worldwide, but not without controversy. New York City transportation officials recently cracked down on the tradition by cutting thousands of lock from the Brooklyn Bridge. And in June, a railing on Paris’ Pont des Arts collapsed under the weight. Set along one of Maine’s busiest working waterfronts, this collection of love locks has yet to cause a stir, despite rapid growth.
A great deal has changed here, but time has yet to alter this footpath’s tranquil beauty on a sunny summer morning. “The bay is very calm and the waves reflect the gold and purple tints of the clouds so vividly,” wrote a reporter from the Ellsworth American in 1877, describing a boat ride through these very waters. “We move lazily along, there is no need for haste — that belongs to a world far from this. We approach the delectable condition when the body is at perfect rest.” It’s a fitting endorsement for a town that was originally incorporated under a slightly more telling name — one it shared with another (much older) storied paradise.
If you can identify these locks, register with Down East and then fill out the form below. We’ll feature our favorite letter in an upcoming issue — and send the winner a Down East wall calendar.