St. George Chapel at Long Cove (approximately eight miles south of Thomaston, two miles north of Tenants Harbor) has led a split life. For its first 61 years, from 1901 until 1962, it was a mission of the diocese; since then, it has been a summer chapel, a status it plans to maintain as it reaches towards its first 100 years.
With T. McAdams Deford as senior warden, St. George is run by a vestry of seven, three of whom live all year in Maine and four of whom come just for the summer. In general, the congregations are made up of summer people, many of who have been attending the Chapel for decades, but with a sprinkling of always-welcome newcomers and Mainers.
In the earlier days, things were different. St. George was started to answer the religious needs of the residents of Long Cove, most of whom were of English or Scots background and were of the Anglican faith. Almost all of the men worked in the large granite quarry that occupied much of the Long Cove land, with just a few being fishermen or small farmers or storekeepers. St. George was under the care of clergymen from either St. Peter in Rockland or St. John Baptist in Thomaston.
The quarry closed in the early nineteen-forties. The closing of the quarry and World War II caused many of the residents to leave the In the past 30 years, their homes have been acquired by campers and retirees, by a few fishermen, by a few who work in the Mussel Processing Plant, by a few who remove the quarry's left-behind grout to use in the building of roads and piers, and by residents who work elsewhere on the St. George peninsula.
Meanwhile, the Chapel itself is a lesson in survival. Over the years it has changed little. One of the first priests at St. George described it as "small and simple yet wholly adequate," and Bishop Robert Codman told his Diocesan Convention of 1902 that it "was build for exactly five hundred dollars" and was "marvelously well built for the price." A straightforward, symmetrical wooden structure, its front has a red-painted main door. The roof is sharply pitched and bears a slender white cross and an old bell set on a platform with a pyramid-shaped cover. The only landscaping is provided by nature itself.
Inside, St. George is still "simple…but adequate." Sheathed with warm, brown Southern pine, the chapel has all the necessities for worship: the wooden, three-paneled altar, the double-barred communion rail, the small table that serves as a credence, the "Bishop's chair,' a small electric organ, a plain lectern, a Victorian baptismal font made of wood with a carved stand and a rounded top, the sturdy pews. A dark green curtain with flowered sides behind the altar and a matching frontal give touches of color aided by the brass vases of flowers picked from the parishioners' gardens.
Years ago, one of the St. George parishioners who regularly brought flowers to the chapel, said she found it a "very sweet little space" and a "sacred spot." On any Sunday in summer, there are many in the small chapel in the Long Cove woods who agree with her.