The Maine Highlands
Bangor is the commercial center for the region and Maine’s third largest city. It was surprisingly active in shipping because of its location on the Penobscot River. In the early to mid-1800s, Bangor was the world’s busiest lumber port.
In 1885, Hiram Maxim invented the world’s first automatic portable machine gun. It could fire 500 rounds per minute, roughly equivalent to 100 rifles. Maxim was born in Sangerville, Maine.
A 31-foot statue of Paul Bunyan can be seen on Main Street in Bangor. He was born in Bangor, Maine on February 12, 1834 (although some Minnesotans might disagree).
Bangor is home to author world-famous suspense author, Stephen King.
Bangor International Airport is a frequent stop for overseas flights that have unruly passengers.
Once known as Kenduskeag (Ken-DUS-keg) Plantation, Bangor didn’t begin to thrive until Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820. Maine timberlands were being sold to private investors and lumber was an important resource for a growing nation, so people flocked to the area. By the 1830s, Bangor was growing by leaps and bounds with as many as 500 buildings per year being built in the city.
Many manufacturing industries were built to service the burgeoning lumber industry making products such as stoves, sawmill machinery, shoes and shipbuilding. Up until 1870, Bangor was the lumber capital of the world with a billion board feet of lumber being shipped from its docks.
Eventually the timber industry moved out west to Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest, so Bangor adapted with new industries such as shoes, paper, fishing rods and tourism. These industries fared well until April 1911 when a massive fire destroyed 55 commercial and residential acres.
In the 20th Century, Bangor rebuilt and became the financial, retail and cultural center for Northern and Eastern Maine. Historical and architectural walking tours are available in Bangor. For details contact the Bangor Museum and Center for History.
Before snowplows were invented, communities used snow rollers that packed down the snow. The Cole Land Transportation Museum has a collection of snow rollers in addition to 200 antique Maine vehicles, dating back to the 19th century. Exhibits include snowplows, wagons, trucks, sleds, rail equipment and more.
This region boasts Maine’s largest lake, Moosehead Lake, which is 40 miles long and covers an area of 117 square miles.
At the height of its popularity, there were 50 steamboats navigating the lake. The S/S Katahdin was built at Bath Iron Works, is the last ship to survive and it still offers tours of Moosehead Lake. It is 115-feet long and can carry 150 passengers.
Greenville is New England’s largest seaplane base. The planes are used to transport people to the many remote sporting camps and campsites in the region.
Mt. Kineo has a sheer cliff that rises 800 feet above the lake’s surface. The cliff is comprised of a flint-like rhyolite that was used by native people for fashioning stone tools and arrowheads. Indian legend says that Mt. Kineo is the petrified remains of a monster moose sent to Earth by the Great Spirit as punishment for their sins.
Kineo Island once housed a hotel that could accommodate 500 guests, a golf course, yacht club and stable. The hotel burned in 1938, but the golf course is still there and open to the public.
Ripogenus Dam on the Penobscot River is one of the most popular departure points for whitewater rafting expeditions.
Southeast of Greenville is Gulf Hagas, known as the
Grand Canyon of the East. It is a three-mile-long canyon with five major waterfalls and nearly vertical walls up to 40 yards high.
Mt. Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain at 5,267 feet, is located in Baxter State Park. The Park was a gift to the state from former Governor Percival Baxter and encompasses 200,000 acres.