History of Penobscot II SP-982 - History

Penobscot II
(SP-982: dp. 415, 1. 121'6"; b. 24'6"; dr. 11'2", s. 11 k.;
cpl. 38; a. 1 3~)

The second Penobscot (SP-982), a harbor tug, was built as Luckenbach No. ~ by Risdon Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif. in 1904. She was acquired by the Navy from Luckenback Steamship Co. and placed in service 29 August 1917 as SP-982. Through World War I she served as a section patrol craft in the 5th Naval Distriet, operating in Hampton Roads and the Elizabeth River.

Shortly after World War I she was redesignated YT-42 and assigned harbor duties in the 3rd Naval Distriet. She was slated for replacement in 1939, but war extended her period of use to the Navy. Through World War II she continued to serve the Fleet as a tug in New York Harbor.

Redesignated YTB 42 in May 1944, Penobscot remained active until 29 October 1945, when she was placed out of service at New York. Struck from the Navy List 17 April 1946, she was turned over to the Maritime Commission 31 January 1947 for disposal.

Historic locomotive rolling out of Hermann Park

After nearly half a century of giving Hermann Park visitors a tangible reminder of Houston's railroad legacy, the ancient Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 is traveling to a new home downtown.

The locomotive, built by Baldwin Locomotive in 1919, will end up just across from Minute Maid Park on an existing green space in the 600 block of Avenida de las Americas at Texas.

Fittingly, the ballpark incorporates the renovated Union Station, which was the city's historic train depot.

"The new site is the ideal home for its historic significance, visibility and support of downtown revitalization efforts," said Janice Harrison, a leader of the Houston Junior Chamber's effort to move and preserve engine 982.

"She's credited with helping settle the great state of Texas, and Houston was once known as 'the city where 17 railroads meet the sea.' We have always seen it as a huge historic landmark," Harrison said.

Operation Choo Choo II

It has been in Hermann Park since then, donated by Southern Pacific to the Houston Junior Chamber and the city of Houston. The co-owners have been looking for a new home for more than a year to make way for the continuing revitalization of the park.

Frank Michel, communications director for Mayor Bill White, called the move a "win-win."

Park directors have a grant to construct a large plaza on the locomotive's Hermann Park site, and the downtown site is near a planned, 12-acre city park between the George R. Brown Convention Center and the ballpark.

The planned move is dubbed Operation Choo Choo II and will be vastly different from the original Operation Choo Choo in 1957, when then-Mayor Pro Tem Louie Welch spearheaded the move from downtown to Hermann.

Over four days in 1957, workers leapfrogged panels of track down Fannin as others pushed the 188-ton engine while tractors pulled. Houstonians lined the streets to gawk.

Orchestrating the move

At midnight, with a caravan of Houston police officers and other workers, the 21-foot-high loaded trailers will head to their new home on the most obstruction-free path, with traffic lights and wires temporarily moved as necessary. Barnhart and city officials still are working out the route.

"There's a lot of different ways we're going to go down before we finally get there," said Barnhart's Richard Davenport. "If it's a four-mile trip the straightest way, we may wind up going 14 or more miles."

SP 982 will arrive at its new home later Aug. 26 &mdash the 169th anniversary of the founding of Houston, says Jaycees President Amy Klein.

Besides Barnhart, other companies providing services either free or at cost are Honesty Environmental Services, which will begin asbestos abatement Monday. Repairs will be performed by Perma Craft Builders before the move.

Engineering efforts

The $1 million renovation of the locomotive's Hermann site will include the plaza, an arts component celebrating Houston's diversity, a pedestrian walkway and a cafe, said Doreen Stoller, Hermann Park Conservatory executive director.

Renovations also are planned to the popular mini-train that runs through the park from a station near SP 982, Stoller said.

Reader Interactions


January 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Is that train sat at Herman park for years?

January 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

I'm not sure about this Chris!

October 30, 2017 at 12:23 am

The train was custom built in Minnesota just for the new ballpark.

This train was located at Herman Park since the 50s i believe. I was just a little kid when I first saw it. I use to take train rides around the park until we get back, and 982 was always there, in all her ole glory. I know this is an old post, but I was recently reminded of my childhood. Its good to see the old girl still about.

History of Penobscot II SP-982 - History

Crossing of the International - Great Northern (I-GN) Railroad and the Texas State Railroad (TSR)

The town of Palestine was established in 1846 at the center of the newly formed Anderson County, eventually becoming the county seat. The International Railroad built through Palestine in 1872 as they worked to complete a line between Hearne and Longview. In 1873, the Houston & Great Northern Railroad reached Palestine from the south with their main line out of Houston. The two railroads promptly merged to form the International & Great Northern (I-GN) Railroad, headquartered in Palestine. That same year, the Hearne - Longview route was completed, giving Palestine excellent rail connections to the northeast, southwest and south.

In 1896, the state of Texas built a five mile railroad near Rusk to haul iron ore to a prison foundry that had been constructed a decade earlier. It was never chartered but became known as the Texas State Railroad (TSR). As the foundry gradually expanded, so did the TSR, building west to Maydelle in 1903 and extending farther west to Palestine a few years later. The extension to Palestine was the idea of Thomas M. Campbell, a native of Rusk and a resident of Palestine where he had been the Bankruptcy Receiver and the General Manager of the I-GN during its reorganization in the 1890s. With respect to the TSR, the more important element of Campbell's biography is that he was elected Governor of Texas in 1906! TSR's only connection was in Rusk with the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Campbell's idea was that making a connection with the I-GN in Palestine would bring competition, lowering freight rates for the foundry. The connection was completed in 1909, but it was not interlocked until February 24, 1931 when Tower 173 was commissioned. Since traffic would have been substantially heavier on the I-GN, this was most likely a gate interlocker similar to the one in Jacksonville. From 1921 to 1962, the TSR was leased to the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad, a subsidiary of Southern Pacific (SP).

In 1925, the I-GN became part of the Missouri Pacific (MP) Lines, which was acquired decades later by Union Pacific (UP) in 1982. The TSR has evolved to become as a tourist line. The I-GN tracks have become the property of UP and remain in active service.

Above :
This annotated Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Palestine from 1935 shows the I-GN (green) and TSR (red) crossing southeast of downtown. The I-GN rail yard occupied the central junction near downtown with tracks radiating out of Palestine to Longview (northeast), Houston (south) and Hearne (southwest). Below : This 1935 Sanborn Map image shows that there were connecting tracks at the Tower 173 crossing. The TSR is labeled as "T&NO RR" on the map because it was under long-term lease to SP at the time the map was drawn.

Annotated Google Earth Satellite Image, Tower 173 Location

Above : The red dashes show where the TSR crossed the I-GN main line. The Tower 173 crossing diamond has been eliminated. Instead, the track from Rusk now curves onto the main line heading north toward UP's yard in downtown Palestine. The west leg of the TSR is now a short industrial lead, but abandoned beyond that. The UP connector (which does not appear on the 1935 Sanborn Map) proceeds west and connects northbound to the line from Hearne into downtown. This allows northbound trains from Houston the alternative to enter the yard from the west instead of the south, and it allows trains leaving Palestine on the Hearne track to move east and proceed to Houston.

Google Maps / Street View Images

Above : A broader Google Earth satellite view of the TSR route highlights the abandoned track crossings of Cook St. (green) and Burkitt St. (blue). Though long abandoned, rails remained visible at these locations as of 2013. Below Left : TSR rails remain buried in the pavement at Cook St. in this Street View to the west. Below Right : TSR rails continue to run across and north of Burkitt St.

Above : UP maintenance was underway when this October, 2006 photo was taken facing southeast at the site of Tower 173. The rail line in the foreground is the TSR going east (left) to Rusk. The I-GN line to Houston is in the background on a southeast heading. (Jim King photo) Below : This Google Street View looks south on Royal St. at the Tower 173 crossing site. A southbound vehicle on Royal St. will cross four different tracks in this order: (1) the TSR connector from Rusk (left) to the former I-GN main into downtown (2) the I-GN main line from Houston (left) (3) an industrial spur coming off the northbound main occupying the former TSR right-of-way to the west (right) and (4) the "UP connector" to the west. The Tower 173 interlocker would have been near the Royal St. grade crossing of the I-GN main line.

Above : Railroad executive John W Barriger III took this photo, most likely in the 1940s, on a visit to Palestine. Barriger is beside the Railway Express Agency building and is looking east. The men are standing adjacent to the Magnolia St. grade crossing. The tower visible past Magnolia St. to the left of the tracks controlled the east end of the MP yard. There's no indication that it was ever submitted to the Railroad Commission of Texas for approval, which would have resulted in a tower number assignment. Numbering yard interlockers did not become standard practice until the mid-1920s, so it may have been built before then. Below : The 1935 Sanborn Map shows the tower as a 2-story structure (highlighted red) located trackside east of the Magnolia St. grade crossing. The tower does not appear on the next earlier Sanborn Map of 1919.

Penobscot County, Maine: Family History & Genealogy, Census, Birth, Marriage, Death Vital Records & More

Biographies, Oral Histories, Diaries, Memoirs, Genealogies, Correspondence


  • Bangor City Directories (Source: fold3 - 7 day free trial)
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  • Maine City Directories Perkins (Source: Explore Ancestry for free) ($)
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Estate Records


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Introduction and Guides

  • Cyndi's List of Maine locality links (Source: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet)
  • Family Ties with Roxanne Moore Saucier Bangor Daily News
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MEPENOBS Penobscot County genealogy

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  • Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services, 1841 Penobscot County (Source: Internet Archive)
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  • List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 188 Penobscot County, Maine (Source: Internet Archive)
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  • Classic Buildings of Penobscot County (Source: Society of Architectural Historians)
  • Maine State Archives Collections 1718-1957 (Source: FamilySearch)
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Newspaper Records

  • Bangor Daily News Nov 28, 1908 - Dec 31, 2008 (Source: Google News Archive)
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Photographs, Postcards, Historical Images

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  • Penobscot County, Bangor America from the Great Depression to World War II (Source: American Memory from the Library of Congress)
  • Vintage Aerial Penobscot County, Maine

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Wadsworth Watch Case Co., No. 2

In 1940, when the new 992B was introduced, it was advertised in two other factory cases in addition to the No. 11. Besides the No. 11, it was available in the No. 2 Wadsworth patented case. The No. 2 case was first introduced March 11, 1926, for use with the 922 and later with the 922E and 950 series. In the 1940 catalog, the No. 2 was only available in 10k natural gold-filled, but later at various times, it was also available in 14k solid gold. The No. 2 was last advertised in the Hamilton 1954 catalog and price lists.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

St. Anne’s Church on Indian Island (2001)

[on Indian Island off Maine Route 43] St. Anne’s mission was established in 1688. By 1700 a church had been built on the site of the present church. The mission was established by Father Louis Pierre Thury who was ordained in Quebec in 1667. In 1705 the mission to the Penobscot tribe was transferred to the Jesuits and Father Antoine Gaulen from 1705 to 1732. From then to 1792 no priest was at Indian Island except for the occasional missionary on route from Quebec to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

From 1792 to 1818, several missionaries ministered to the Indians during the summer months and spent the winters with the Kavanaughs at Damariscotta Mills in Newcastle. This was the earliest Irish Catholic settlement in Maine. It was during the visits of John Cheveus that the second church was built occupying the site of the first.

In the late 1820’s and early 1830s Father Virgil Barber was the resident priest. During his pastorate the third and present church was built on the site of the first two St. Anne’s. The church was finished in 1830 with funds granted by the Maine State Legislature. In 1848, when Father John Bapst arrived the church was “a rather good looking building with a steeple and bell and a choir gallery.” He only ministered to the Indians for a few years until he went to minister to Catholics in Bangor and Ellsworth. From about 1855 to 1926, St. Anne’s used the resident priests at the parishes in Old Town. In 1926, it became a parish with its own full time priest.

The history of the French missions to Maine Indians revolves around the church, one of the oldest Catholic churches in New England. The building itself is also one of the oldest Catholic churches still standing in New England. The oldest Catholic burying ground in New England, established in 1688, is at Indian Island.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Springfield Congregational Church on Route 6 in Springfield

[Maine Route 6 N45° 23′ 43.56″ W68° 8′ 14.46″] Springfield lies in a remote area of east-central Maine, between Lincoln on the Penobscot River and Vanceboro on the Canadian border. The region, primarily agricultural, has always been sparsely settled and is set apart from any main stream of economic development.

In spite of these limitations, this small but stylishly conceived board-and-batten Gothic Revival church was built only 22 years after the first settlement. Clearly the work of a competent professional, the building was built in 1852 by the Congregational Society which had been formed in 1846 by the residents of Springfield and the neighboring communities of Lee and Carroll. The original congregation numbered about forty.

Through the years the church suffered almost continuously from lack of funds and was closed temporarily in 1933 due to the economic distress of the Depression. For a time the congregation shared a pastorate with the Congregational Church in Lincoln. Electric lights were not available until 1946. Recent years have seen some amelioration of these difficulties. In 1978 church again had its own resident minister and the structure was well maintained. Relatively speaking, the Springfield Congregational Church ranks as an architectural jewel in ordinary surroundings.*

1 Comment

I ran into a man the other day who said he worked in a re-enactment of olden times in Sprigfield. I’ve looked a few places online, and asked around but can’t find any information. Could someone here point me in the right direction?

History of Penobscot II SP-982 - History

Local History

The Local History Department houses historical sources that provide information on Bangor, the Penobscot Valley, the State of Maine, and New England.

Local history sources include historical accounts of Maine pioneers, who populated this area while Maine was still part of the state of Massachusetts. Our collection includes relevant legislative materials beginning in this period.

Maine citizens’ military involvement can be traced utilizing our local history collection. Sources on the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II may be found in the Local History Department. Staff may assist patrons in online searches through the National Archives to find information on the Korean War and Vietnam War.

Our sources portray the world of Bangor, Maine inhabitants of yesterday and today. Historical references about Maine industries, such as logging and paper, provide useful information for a better understanding of this region. Biographies of area authors, artists, military leaders, and others can be found in this department. Local history accounts recreate the world of the people who lived and died in Bangor, Maine.

Bangor History: 1500-1700's By William Cook

The first European believed to have visited the site of Bangor is Esteban Gomez, the Portuguese explorer who sailed to the head of the tide, in the early 1500's. Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635), French explorer, and other explorers also visited the area in the early 1600's.

In 1605, five Indians are kidnapped from Pemaquid by an English vessel and kept to serve as guides for English seeking sites for settlement on the American coast. The kidnapping of indigenous peoples for slavery or servitude was a common practice of early European explorers of North America. French establish first European settlement in Maine, St. Sauveur, at Lamoine Point across from Mount Desert Island. They are driven out by the English, who establish permanent settlements on Damariscove and Monhegan Islands in 1614. 1616-1619: More than 75 percent of Maine's Indians die from diseases such as smallpox, cholera, measles and plague brought by Europeans.

Slaves began arriving in Maine with their white owners in the 1600s. Some slaves helped the British in their fight against the Native Americans in Maine, while others joined forces against the British. In 1689 a slave was killed while fighting the Indians.

With the establishment of Fort Pownal in 1759, by Massachusetts Royal Governor Thomas Pownal, people began to explore the upper reaches of the Penobscot River with the intention of settling. The first person to actually settle near the junction of the Kenduskeag and Penobscot Rivers was Jacob Buswell (Bussell). He built a cabin near what are now York and Boyd Streets in 1769 and shortly thereafter his in-laws, the Goodwins, also settled here.

In 1772-73 there was an influx of people that included: Thomas Howard, Jacob Dennet, Simon Crosby, Thomas, John and Hugh Smart, Andrew Webster, Joseph Rose, David Rowell, Solomon and Silas Harthorn, and Joseph Mansel. Joseph Mansel built both the first sawmill on the East side of the Penjejawock stream and the first gristmill.

Also in 1772, occurred the first birth in what is now Bangor, Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard.Thomas Goldthwait built the first trading house in the area in that year. Abigail Ford taught the first school founded in 1773.

The first few years of the American Revolution were quiet in the Penobscot River Valley, as it was so isolated and far from the area of action. However, in 1779, that quiet changed as a British invasion fleet came up the Penobscot River and approached Bangor. There was a brief battle near Hampden where the local militia was no match for the British regulars. The area was then peacefully handed over to the control of the British forces. Later that year, ships from the American “Penobscot Expedition” came up the river to do battle with the British. The American fleet was trapped, and many of the ships were scuttled near the mouth of the Kenduskeag River. The Bangor area remained under British control till 1783. Massachusetts banned slavery in that year as well.

In 1787 the people of Condeskeag, as Bangor was once known, built their first meetinghouse. Shortly afterwards the inhabitants of Condeskeag changed the name of their town’s name to “Sunbury,”. On Sept. 11th, 1787 they petitioned the Massachusetts legislature, but this was rejected by the legislature, before Oct. 6, 1788. The town obviously dismayed by this rejection sent Rev. Seth Noble to Boston with a new Petition of Incorporation, which was left blank until Rev. Noble could choose a name that would be accepted by the legislature in Boston. The Incorporation Petition of 1790 was written by Seth Noble and the name of BANGOR was approved February 25, 1791 by John Hancock, Governor of the Commonwealth of Mass.

The tune Bangor was written by William Tans’ur in 1734 and became very popular during the Revolution. It was so popular that it was reported to have been played at the eulogy for President George Washington.

Bangor History: 1800's BY WILLIAM COOK

The first survey of the Bangor area was done between 1797 and 1801 by Park Holland. He included all of the lots of the first settlers. Each who settled before 1784 was to receive a lot of 100 acres for the price of $8.70 and each who settled after that date could purchase a lot of 100 acres for $100. The population in 1800 was 277 and over the next thirty years it would grow to about 8,000.

As commerce flourished in Bangor access between the two areas on either side of the Kenduskeag became necessary so, in 1807, they built the first bridge. The toll was one cent for strangers and free for residents. Between 1807 and 1812 the Rev. John Seymour, during his stay here, founded the Bangor Theological Seminary.

Once again, during the War of 1812, Bangor was not immune from the warfare. The town was captured and occupied by the British in September of 1814. However, the occupation did not last long and by the middle of 1815 Bangor was once again American. In November of that same year, Peter Edes started the first newspaper titled the “Bangor Weekly Register.”

The year 1820 was a banner one for the new State of Maine, and Bangor, with a population of 1200, was instituted as the shire town of Penobscot River County. This decade ushered in a period of phenomenal growth in both population and prosperity. This was due to the lumber industry coming to the forefront of the Maine economy. Trees were harvested in the winter and skidded down to the Penobscot River and tributaries. In the spring the logs were driven down the rivers to Bangor, where they were sawn and then shipped to various destinations. Bangor became the center of the lumber industry, which included all levels of society: the timberland owners, lumber companies, sawmills, shingle mills, lumbermen and log drivers. The rough characters who worked in the woods and the waterfront lived and sought recreation in the part of town known as the “devil’s half acre” by the more pious residents. Bangor became a very prosperous town and grew incredibly fast.

Anti-slavery groups organize in Maine towns such as Hallowell, and the Maine Antislavery Society is created in 1834. Also in 1834, a series of brawls in the “devil’s half acre” erupted into riots, and the rioters rampaged through the city for a number of days. The town government was completely unable to cope with the riots and suggested some changes. The incorporation of Bangor, now with a population of over 8,000, as a City was the solution. Allen Gilman, the town’s first lawyer was elected the city’s first mayor. Bangor was referred to in the press as being a New York City in miniature.

Over the next three decades, Bangor grew in population and in wealth. In 1833, the Bangor House opened as a first class hotel.

The second “garden cemetery” in the country, Mount Hope Cemetery, was opened in 1834, as an indication of the progressive nature of the new city. 1836 saw the first railroad open: the Bangor and Piscataquis Canal Railway. In 1838, the “Daily Whig and Courier” newspaper began to publish. Also in that year a road was built to Houlton connecting the timberlands of the northeastern part of Maine to the rest of the state. Lumbering, in what is now Aroostook County, led to a border dispute between Maine and New Brunswick. It was a dispute that almost caused a war. By 1839 the dispute, called the Aroostook War, became so heated that militias and forces were called out on both sides of the border. Bangor was involved as the staging area for the Maine Militia. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the dispute was settled through negotiation and the signing of the Webster–Ashburton Treaty.

The year 1846 brought the first disaster to Bangor. In the spring of that year the ice built up above the falls on the Penobscot River and when the water and ice finally broke loose, Bangor was flooded. On the up side this was the first year that Henry David Thoreau came to the area. In1847, Bangor became a “Port of Entry”, and in 1853 built its first customhouse. In the 1850s, the Underground Railroad funneled runaway slaves through Maine.

1855 was a year of culture and chaos. Norumbega Hall was built for cultural events and expositions, and it indicated the prosperity that the city was enjoying. The new wealth in the area, though, attracted immigrants, and the Irish were a large portion of these people who supplied labor. In that year the “Know Nothing” Party was elected to office. They were anti-immigrant and pro-temperance - a combination that is at odds with the labor force. In the late summer of 1855, the enforcement of temperance and the anti-foreign feelings led to violence. The Irish and their taverns were the targets of the “Know Nothings.” The rioting was not quelled until October when the agents of enforcement were disbanded.

The War Between the States began in 1861 and the sons of Bangor did their part. The 2nd Maine Infantry was raised in the Bangor area and was known as the “Bangor Regiment.” Bangor supplied a large number of men to many Maine regiments throughout the war and after the war things returned to normal in Bangor. Civil War President Abraham Lincoln’s first vice-president was Bangor native Hannibal Hamlin.

The lumber and shipping economy reached a high point in the 1870’s. The European and North American Rail Road opened withPresident Ulysses S. Grant in attendance. President Grant stayed at the Bangor House, which still stands at the corner of Maine and Union streets. In the 1890’s both the Bangor and Aroostook and Maine Central Railroads served the Bangor area and made possible the success of Great Northern Paper Company. In 1906-07 the Union Station was completed and helped make Bangor the hub of transportation for northern and eastern Maine.

In 1896 the Bangor Symphony Orchestra was founded, and continues as the oldest community orchestra in the country. A Bangor landmark, the standpipe on Thomas Hill, was built in 1897. At the same time, a dam on the Penobscot River allowed water to be pumped to the standpipe and electricity to be generated for a newly electrified city. This decade saw Bangor’s streets paved, sewers, telephone service, electric utilities, and street railways instituted.

Lumber was not the only industry to support Bangor. The ice industry tapped another abundant commodity of the area and flourished between 1876 and 1906. Every winter the Penobscot River froze and the ice was harvested. Penobscot River ice was considered to be the finest in the world and was shipped as far as India. Many icehouses could be found around the Bangor waterfront.

Bangor History: 1900's BY WILLIAM COOK

April 30, 1911 is a day that forever changed Bangor. That is the day of the great fire. It began in a hay barn and because of high winds spread rapidly across the Kenduskeag and in the nine hours it raged, it destroyed over 100 buildings and 285 residences. Most of the waterfront sawmills, warehouses and icehouses were not rebuilt afterward.

A change had taken place the old economies of lumbering and ice were on the decline and these were being replaced by retail businesses and numerous other small enterprises. Bangor never did cultivate any new industries to replace the resource based ones. The current Bangor Public Library and the Bangor High School were rebuilt next to each other, on Harlow Street in 1912. In 1913, Milton R. Geary graduated from the University of Maine and opened his law practice in Bangor.

During World War I Bangor was represented in the ranks of the 103rd Infantry 26th Division. In 1917 women’s suffrage appeared on the ballot for the first time and it was overwhelmingly defeated. The 1918 influenza hit Bangor and over 1600 people contracted the virus and over 100 died.

The Post-war years saw the influx of new technology in the Bangor landscape and some new issues. Automobiles and the related parking problem was the biggest change. In November of 1924, WABI began broadcasting as the first radio station in the area.

The years of the depression did not hit Bangor as hard as some cities. No banks closed and only a few businesses closed. An airfield opened in the early 1920’s, and was visited by General “Billy” Mitchell with fifteen Martin Bombers and eight fighters. This landing field soon became Godfrey Field and scheduled air service arrived in the 1930’s. Steamship service, however, did cease in 1936 reflecting not only the effect of the depression, but also the effect of the new and emerging modes of transportation supplanting the old.
One day in October of 1937 one could find Central Street littered with bodies. Federal Agents gunned down public enemy number one, Al Brady, and a couple of his associates after patronizing a local gun shop. By 1940, Freeses, the largest department store in town expanded even more.

During World War II the airfield became a large air base known as Dow Field, which became the eastern end of the ferry route to Europe. Again, as in previous national emergencies, Bangor contributed her share of service personnel for the Second World War. One hundred twelve did not return and are memorialized in the Bangor Book of Honor at the Bangor Public Library.

In 1945, the Penobscot Interracial Forum held events celebrating African American History opposing discrimination and insensitivity.
Following World War II, Bangor and Dow Field (later Dow Air Force Base) played an important roll in the defense of North America during the “Cold War,” as part of the “first line” of defense. Dow AFB closed in1969 and the facility became the Bangor International Airport.

During the Korean Conflict, the 132nd Fighter Squadron was activated and a number of Bangor people served once again in a far off land. In December of 1959, Bangor became the first city defended by missiles with the installation of the first BOMARC at what is now Bomarc Industrial Park. Bangor again sent her share of sons to fight in the name of democracy to South East Asia during the 60’s and 70’s.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy visited Bangor on his campaign tour and later was awarded an honorary degree at the University of Maine. In the years following, the changes in Bangor have been gradual. Racial conflict was a part of Bangor citizen's lives in the 60s. March 14, 1965, approximately 500 people marched to protest the denial of civil rights to African Americans in Alabama.

The Interstate arrived in the mid 1950’s and the Bangor Mall opened in 1978 changing the downtown area for good. In 1976 Bangor was once again flooded, this time the area surrounding the Kenduskeag was inundated and over 200 cars were stranded.

In 1991 Bangor was a center of the welcome home for troops returning from the Gulf War. Crowds greeted the returning service persons as they made their first stop on US soil at the Bangor International Airport. In 1992 the first balloon race to Europe started here in Bangor on September 17th, and in 1996, Bangor native and long time congressman and Senator, William Cohen was selected to be Secretary of Defense by President William Clinton. The final big event of the 20th Century happened in January of 1998 when the great ice storm hit. Bangor, and the whole North East, was shut down and power was out for many businesses and residences from three days to weeks.


Statehood began a period of explosive population growth, slowing only forty years later:

1820 1,221
1830 2,867
1840 8,627
1850 14,432
1860 16,407

Population Trend 1800-2010

Congressional Medal of Honor

Bangor Medal Winners:

Civil War: Thomas Belcher Francis S. Hesseltine Thomas Taylor Sidney W. Thaxter Henry W. Wheeler.

Indian Wars: Henry J. Hyde
Interim 1976: Charles Gidding

Bangor City Hall (2001)

Bangor Downtown near the Market Square Historic District (2001)

[BAN-gor or BANG-gor] is the major city in, and county seat of, Penobscot County, incorporated as a town on February 24, 1834 from the former Kunduskee (or Kenduskeag) Plantation. On March 26, 1853 the “Queen City” was incorporated as a city just at the beginning of its legendary history as a booming community when logging was king.

The area was first settled by Jacob Buswell and his family in 1769. Others came and went, but even by the beginning of the 19th century Kenduskeag Plantation was a struggling frontier outpost. One estimate has the population at 150 in 1790.

According to Henry Gannett,* Bangor was named by the Rev. Seth Noble, its representative in the legislature, from an old psalm tune.

During the War of 1812, the British forged up the Penobscot River, shelled the community, and ignited a disastrous fire virtually destroying it.

Life was breathed into the area when Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820. At the time, the vast Maine timberlands were put on the block for private speculation. The wealth of the woods drew investors and fortune hunters.

By the 1830s, Bangor, now a city, was building 500 structures annually. It boasted luxury residences, a grand hotel, a lovely downtown and hoped to surpass Boston in size and importance.

In 1834, the 264-acre Mount Hope Cemetery was established. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the second oldest garden cemetery in America, designed to serve as a haven for the living as well as a final resting-place for the deceased.

However, the financial panic of 1837 brought much of the City’s creativity and optimism to a halt. Lumbering finally revived the economy and dominated it in the mid- to late 19th century. Foundries were built to provide stoves for the lumber camps, and the machinery to run huge sawmills the shoe industry made boots the tool and dye industry supplied the tools needed in the woods the ships were built to haul lumber to distant ports.

Until the 1870s, Bangor was the lumber capital of the world with a billion board feet of lumber shipped from its docks. By the 1880’s, the lumber industry had declined significantly, as did the city’s economy. In the 19th century “Maine’s First Mapmaker,” Moses Greenleaf, operated one of his several general stores here, near where the Kenduskeag Stream enters the Penobscot River.

Bangor Skyline (2001)

Other smaller industries soon emerged to fill the economic gap left by lumber – shoes, paper, fishing rods, tourism. Cheap hydroelectric power encouraged quantity and diversity. In the late 19th century labor unions emerged in response to the efforts of the Knights of Labor to enact labor reform laws. The following 1903 list of Bangor labor unions provides an insight into the local economy of the time.

Industrial: Sheet Metal Workers Iron Moulders Machinists.
Railroads: Railway Conductors Locomotive Engineers Locomotive Firemen Railroad Trainmen Railroad Telegraphers.
Shipping: Atlantic Coast Seamen Longshoremen.
Services: Bangor Typographical Barbers Cigarmakers Journeymen Tailors Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers.
Construction: Bricklayers, Plasterers and Masons Carpenters and Joiners Laborers Electrical Workers Plumbers, Gasfitters and Steamfitters Slate, Gravel and Metal Roofers Stovemounters Woodworkers.
Transportation: Teamsters.
Manufacturing: Shoemakers.

This industrial adaptation would come to a tragic halt on April 30, 1911, the day of the Great Fire. Fifty-five commercial and residential acres burned in one of Maine’s worst fires.

The economic disaster of the Great Fire was real, but the city rebuilt quickly with the best materials available, in the most avant-garde styles, using architects from Boston and New York as well as Bangor. The Great Fire District is an architectural monument to the dynamic spirit and will to survive.

Historic John Bapst High School (2003)

In the 20th century, with the coming of the automobile, Bangor emerged as the financial, retail and cultural center for northern and eastern Maine. In 1928, John Bapst High School, named for a 19th-century Swiss Jesuit priest and missionary, opened as a parochial high school for boys and girls to accommodate a growing Catholic community. The river, rail service, and the emerging medical center contributed to its continued growth.

Long View of Bangor from the South (2003)

Eastern Maine Medical (󈧅)

On June 15, 1955, the city briefly became a ghost town as it participated in a national civil defense exercise in which about fifty cities across the country were evacuated. Hospitals and public safety organizations assisted “victims” of a nuclear attack. Dow Air Force Base provided an economic and civic boost during the Cold War until its decommissioning in 1968, resulting in a major loss of population.

Airport Terminal (2013) @

International Arrivals (2013) @

Hotel at the Airport (2013)

Terminal Interiors @ . . .

Bangor International . . [email protected]

. . . Airport (2013) @

The City’s creation of Bangor International Airport, capitalizing on its strategic position along the great circle route from Europe to key locations in the United States, turned the potential liability into an economic asset. The BIA property also hosts business and civic institutions.

Bangor Standpipe (2001)

Strict historical ordinances, downtown restoration and revitalization, and interest in Bangor’s older residential neighborhoods has marked a change of attitude from the “new is always better” approach of Urban Renewal in the late 1960s. During that period, the classic Union Station was razed, along with many other historic structures. The landmark “Standpipe” at left, however, still towers over the city.

Bangor Downtown (2001)

The downtown area remained a huge parking lot for nearly two decades with development hindered by the phenomenal expansion of a former dairy farm’s fields into the huge and growing Bangor Mall complex.

Recent years have seen real renewal in the city’s downtown with a children’s museum, a local theater company, and recreational development of the Penobscot riverfront.

Waterfront Sculpture (2014) @

Dock on the Penobscot (󈧒) @

Waterfront Park (2014) @

Performance Space (2014) @

Waterfront Cityscape (2014) @

Casino on Main Street (2014) @

Police Department (2014) @

Bangor Auditorium (2001)

Cross Center (2014) @

The Queen City’s famous citizens include author Stephen King Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s first Vice-President William S. Cohen, a U.S. Senator and Secretary of Defense and a series of governors:

U.S. Representatives to Congress from Bangor include Elisha H. Allen, John R. McKernan, Jr., Gorham Parks, Donald F. Snow, Charles Stetson and John G. Utterback (who was also an alderman and mayor). 19th century U.S. Senator Wyman B. Moor was a resident here when appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Three major league baseball players had Bangor as their birthplace. Matt Kinney, born in 1976, had a career spanning 2000 through 2005 with the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, and San Francisco Giants. In the 19th century Bobby Messenger, born in 1884, played for the Chicago White Sox from 1909 through 1911 and the St. Louis Browns in 1914. Pat O’Connell, born in 1861, played one year, 1886, for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Bangor Auditorium, with its trademark Paul Bunyan presence, and nearby Bass Park raceway, attracted major events to the city from 1955 to 2013, when it was demolished and replaced with the Cross Insurance Center.. Bangor is home to several institutions of higher learning: Bangor Theological Seminary, Beal College, Eastern Maine Community College, Husson University, and a branch of the University of Maine system.

University of Maine Building at BIA (2013) @

General Aviation Terminal at BIA (2013) @

General Electric Plant at BIA (2013) @

The National Register of Historic Places has placed over thirty-five buildings or sites in Bangor on its extensive list of historic places.

Form of Government: Council-Mayor-Manager.

Additional resources

*See Glossary , source number 7.

Arndt, John Christopher. “The Solid Men of Bangor”: Economic, Business and Political Growth on Maine’s Urban Frontier, 1769-1845. Thesis (Ph.D.)– Florida State University, 1987.

City of Bangor, Me. The Charter and Ordinances of the City of Bangor: Together with Acts of the Legislature Relating to the City. City of Bangor, Me. 1915.

Bangor Board of Trade (Me.) The City of Bangor: A Condensed Historical and Descriptive Review Together with a Brief Statement of Facts Relating To Her Commercial and Manufacturing Advantages, Industries and Resources: Also Her Leading Manufactures and Exports For The Year 1882. Bangor , Me. The Board. 1883. (Mining and Industrial Journal)

Callinan, M. J. The Bangor Fire, April 30, 1911: A True Story of the Fire. Augusta , Me. Kennebec Journal Press, 19–?

Chadbourne, Ava Harriet. Maine Place Names and The Peopling of its Towns.

Godfrey, John Edwards. History of Penobscot County: The Annals of Bangor, 1769-1882. Salem, Mass. Higginson Book Company. 1990.

Hannemann, Paul. Little Known Historical Facts about Bangor and the North Country. Bangor , Me. Bangor Historical Society. 1952.

Hawkins, Viola M. History of the Bangor Ward (1832-1970). Bountiful , Utah . Family History Publishers. c1994.

Hayes, Kenneth P. Public Opinion and Policy Evaluation in Bangor, Maine. 1975. Orono, Me. Social Science Research Institute. 1976.

Paine, Albert Ware. The Territorial History of Bangor Maine . Portland, Me. 1887. “Reprinted from Volume IX, Collections of Maine Historical Society.”

Scontras, Charles A. Two Decades of Organized Labor and Labor Politics in Maine 1880-1900. Orono, Me. University of Maine. Bureau of Labor Education. 1969.

Scree, Trudy I. Mount Hope Cemetery: A Twentieth-Century History. Bangor Daily News, June 16, 1955, p.1.

Thompson, Deborah. Architectural Papers 1978-1984. The architectural papers concern primarily the research and writing of the book Bangor, Maine, 1769-1914: An Architectural History. The collection includes manuscripts, proofs, and notes. Special Collections, Fogler Library, University of Maine. Orono.

Thompson, Deborah. Bangor Historic Resources Inventory. Bangor, Me. City of Bangor Community Development Department. 1986.

Thompson, Deborah. Bangor, Maine 1769-1914: An Architectural History. Orono, Maine University of Maine Press. 1988

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