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  • Virginia M. Wright

Why is this rusty tractor sinking into a Maine island beach?

Updated: May 31, 2021

This is Edgar Bunker’s tractor. The 26-year-old left at the head of the beach on Great Cranberry Island in Maine after a day of hauling in boats on September 15, 1950. The next day, Edgar departed for service in the army's 5th Cavalry Regiment. He was killed in action during Operation Commando near Magori, North Korea, on October 8, 1951. Though the beach has shifted around Edgar's tractor, it remains where he left it, an unofficial memorial to both him and his father, Elisha Bunker. Elisha, 82, a boatbuilder and owner of the island's general store, died suddenly, some say of a broken heart, shortly after his son's body was returned home for burial in May 1952. There is no plaque on the tractor. None is needed. If you live on Great Cranberry, you know.

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