Desert or Dessert?
An Ongoing Debate
By: Richard Sassaman
An ongoing debate about the pronunciation of the middle word in the phrase Mount Desert Island leads us to no firm conclusion.
The island, of course, got its name on September 5, 1604, when Samuel de Champlain sailed across Frenchman Bay. He later wrote in his notes:
“That same day we passed near to an island some four or five leagues long . . .The island is high and notched in places so that from the sea it gives the appearance of a range of seven or eight mountains one alongside the other. The summits are all bare and rocky. The slopes are covered with pines, firs, and birches. I named it Isle des Monts Desert.”