The History of the Margaretta Inn
Around 1960, there became a growing need for accommodations in the Machias area. Multiple families came together and built what was then known as the Margaretta Motel. The motel was sold to Lida Geel, who briefly owned it before turning it over to her granddaughter, Donna Williamson and her husband Bruce, in 1973. Donna and Bruce owned and operated the motel for forty years. In the spring of 2014, Michael and Sherry Radeka and Ryan and Ashley Maker purchased the motel and began a complete renovation. Now known as the Margaretta Inn, we look forward to providing you and your family a comfortable place to stay while you enjoy all that Down East Maine has to offer.
The History Behind the Margaretta Name
Our inn was named for the British Battleship Margaretta. To provide housing for the growing British forces in Boston, Admiral Samuel Graves arranged for the armed ship Margaretta to escort the colonial ships Unity and Polly to Machias where they were to obtain two shiploads of lumber from the forest and mill of Maine. The Unity, Polly, and Margaretta anchored in Machias Harbor on June 9, 1775. Earlier that month, the residents had been elated by the news of the colonial uprising at Lexington and Concord. In addition, when the folks of Machias met at a town meeting, they declared that they would never contribute lumber to the British. The town folks then erected one of the first liberty poles of the era in the town square to emphasize their declaration. They were incensed by the presence of a British symbol of power in their own harbor and were further angered when the Margaretta's captain demanded the removal of their liberty pole. Following an unsuccessful attempt by the infuriated townspeople to capture the Margaretta's officers at church, Captain Jeremiah O'Brien organized a crew and seized the schooner Unity. Displaying exceptional seamanship, he skillfully maneuvered the smaller Unity into a position that allowed her bowsprit to pierce the mainsail of the warship Margaretta. On June 12, 1775, near Round Island on Machias Bay, the patriots crashed into the Margaretta and engaged in hand to hand combat. The Margaretta surrendered. The wounded captain of the Margaretta was carried to the Burnham Tavern for medical assistance, but he died there. The town of Machias forevermore carries the honor of launching the first naval battle of the American Revolution.