Photographer rediscovers abandoned secret nudist colony in small Maine town


Full disclosure: There are no pictures of naked people in this post.

This is about an unexpected place where people indeed once gathered au naturel, but those days are gone and the photographs depict only what remains.

Photographer and historian Tia Nadeau recently hiked with friends through their Durham property to the forested site of a once-secret — and now long-forgotten — nudist colony.

Nadeau is a member of the local historical society in the nearly 4,000-person town, and she also manages the Facebook page Quest For The Unknown, which boasts more than 20,000 followers. She’s made a name for herself photographing abandoned buildings and cemeteries in the area reclaimed by the woods and time.

Nadeau, an Old Town native, said she learned about the hidden nudists’ retreat from friends whose relatives were once members back in the club’s heyday in the 1960s.

An abandoned outhouse, a few collapsing shacks and a glass bottle of baby oil from the 1970s are the only remnants left of the old colony. Nadeau said people at the time only learned of the club through word of mouth. The gathering place was remote — members had to hike through the woods to reach it — and those who participated were sworn to secrecy once they were allowed to join.

Now, decades later, few people in the town are aware Durham was ever home to a nudist colony.

See Nadeau’s photographs of the abandoned nudist colony below: