In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold

In 1912, a multi-racial community of about forty-five people was evicted by the state of Maine from Malaga Island, just off the coast of Phippsburg. It was an act motivated by economics, racism, eugenics, and political retribution.

Eight islanders were committed to the then-called Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. The remaining islanders faired as best they could after moving to the mainland. Once the state cleared the island of inhabitants, they moved the Malaga school to another island. Then state-funded workers dug up the graves and reburied the remains in the graveyard at the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded, as of 2022 the Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine.

The Malaga community was erased.

For generations, descendants have feared to speak about what happened to their families because of the local stigma of mixed-blood and feeble-mindedness. Others in Phippsburg would rather forget the incident - a story best left untold, some say.

This is that story.

Watch a 3:10 minute video introduction to "Malaga Island, A Story Best Left Untold" documentary produced by Rob Rosenthal and Kate Philbrick in 2009.

Photographer Kate Philbrick and radio producer Rob Rosenthal produced Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold in collaboration with WMPG-FM and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine in 2009. This webpage archives the 2009 project at Maine Historical Society and on Maine Memory Network. The site was previously found at

The content on this site and use of the audio, video, and images are strictly for educational purposes. For other permissions, contact Rob Rosenthal,