From the Salt Institute gallery show of Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold, produced by Kate Philbrick, photographer, and Rob Rosenthal, radio producer.


Soon after the State of Maine purchased Malaga in 1911, they committed eight islanders to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. The threat of eviction lingered over the remaining islanders for many months. According to a newspaper report, the state’s agent to Malaga, George Pease, visited the island in February of 1912 and all of the islanders hid. He came upon a young boy and told him to tell the others to come out or he would send more people to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded.

Eventually, the state issued an eviction notice with a deadline of July 1, 1912. On that day, Pease arrived on Malaga to set fire to the buildings. It was a wasted trip, no one was there and the homes were gone. All that remained were the school and the graveyard.

Soon after the islanders vacated Malaga, the State took two more steps to complete the purging of the community. First, the State donated the school to another island. Then, they removed the graveyard. Seventeen bodies were dug up, placed in five caskets, then shipped by train to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded where they were re-buried. A fifty-year old community of black and mixed-race families was destroyed. Six months later, the State sold Malaga to the highest bidder for sixteen hundred and fifty dollars - four times what they paid for it.

Malaga Today
Photo Illustrations

<<Previous Gallery Next Gallery>>

Produced in collaboration with: