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Kim Colbeth

This interview with Kim Colbeth, a lifelong resident and former schoolteacher of Swan's Island, Maine, provides a comprehensive insight into the island's history, community, and socioeconomic changes. Colbeth shares her personal experiences and observations, offering a unique perspective on the island's evolution over time. The interview begins with Colbeth discussing her upbringing and career as a schoolteacher on Swan's Island. She emphasizes the importance of preserving the island's history, which she did through teaching Swan's Island Studies to local students. Colbeth also reflects on the decline in community gatherings and events, attributing this to the increasing use of technology and the convenience of staying home. The conversation then shifts to the community dynamics on Swan's Island, including the interaction between summer visitors and island natives. Colbeth discusses the impact of satellite and internet on the island, noting changes in communal spaces and the rise of remote work. She also mentions the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the island's population, with some individuals choosing to stay on the island after relocating there during the pandemic. Colbeth further explores the economic challenges and opportunities on Swan's Island. She highlights the close-knit community's need for new businesses and jobs and the potential impact of population and transportation changes on the island's future. She identifies the growth of aquaculture, such as oyster farming and kelp harvesting, as potential income sources for the community. The interview also covers changes in healthcare and housing on Swan's Island and the impact of summer residents on the local economy. Colbeth notes the decline in local businesses and the island's restaurant culture. She also shares her involvement in community activities and projects. Finally, Colbeth reminisces about her childhood in Swan's Island, describing the simple pleasures of small-town life. She talks about the local businesses and the sense of community.




Tiegan Paulson and Sophia Rexing

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Suggested citation: Kim, Colbeth, Frenchman Bay Oral History Project, October 27th, 2023, by Phoebe Wagner et al., 21 pages, Maine Sound and Story.


Oral histories are personal first-hand narratives of the past, and rely on the memories, interpretations, and opinions of the narrator. As such, they may contain offensive language, differing viewpoints, and/or negative stereotypes. The opinions expressed in the accounts here reflect those of the narrator, and not the positions of Maine Sound & Story.

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