In 1789, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted the Corporation for the Town of Mount Desert, including the islands called Cranberry Island, Bartlett's Island, Robertson's Island, and Beech Island. Realizing the difficulties in travel between the islands, rapid population growth, and local demands caused the residents to decide to form additional townships on Mount Desert Island. By 1796, the eastern side of the island was incorporated into the Town of Bar Harbor, 1830 saw the creation of the Town of Cranberry Islands, and in 1848 the western third of the island was spun off into the Town of Southwest Harbor.
Today, the Town of Mount Desert consists in area of the middle third of the island and is the governing body for the distinct villages of Otter Creek, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Somesville, Hall Quarry, and Pretty Marsh. Our year-round population is at this time approximately 2100 people. Long recognized for its spectacular beauty with combination of mountains and rugged coastlines, the summer population is greatly increased not only with seasonal residents but masses of visitors to the renowned Acadia National Park. Each village is unique in its anchorages and attractions.
Our governing body is based at the Town Office, on Sea Street, in Northeast Harbor. We operate under the Town Manager form of government and have an elected board of five Selectmen. Our Town Charter mandates the creation of a number of appointed boards including a Planning and Zoning Board, Warrant Committee, Harbor Committee, and Appeals Board. We have a full time year round Town Clerk, Police Department, Fire Department. Tax and Property Assessor, Code Enforcement Officer, Highway and Sewer Department, Harbormaster, and Financial Officer.