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Bangor ( / , /) is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker, and the major commercial and cultural center for eastern and northern Maine. It is also the principal city of the Bangor, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses Bangor and all of Penobscot Countymarker.

As of 2008, Bangor is the third-largest city in Maine, as it has been for more than a century. The population of the city was 31,473 at the 2000 census. The population of the Bangor Metropolitan Statistical Area is over 148,000. The population of the five-county area (Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancockmarker, Aroostookmarker, and Washingtonmarker) for which Bangor is the largest market town, distribution center, transportation hub, and media center, is over 325,000 people.

Bangor is approximately 30 miles from Penobscot Baymarker up the Penobscot River at its confluence with the Kenduskeag Streammarker. It is connected by bridge to the neighboring city of Brewermarker. Other suburban towns include Orono (home of the University of Mainemarker campus), Hampdenmarker, Hermonmarker, Old Townmarker, Glenburnmarker, and Veaziemarker.


Earliest period

The Penobscot people long inhabited the area around present-day Bangor, and still occupy tribal land on the nearby Penobscot Indian Island Reservation. The first European to visit the site was probably the Portuguesemarker Esteban Gómez in 1524, followed by Samuel de Champlain in 1605. Champlain was looking for the mythical city of Norumbega, thought to be where Bangor now lies. French priests settled among the Penobscots, and the valley remained contested between Francemarker and Britainmarker into the 1750s, making it one of the last regions to become part of New Englandmarker.

The British-American settlement which became Bangor was started in 1769 by Jacob Buswell, and was originally known as Condeskeag (or Kenduskeag) Plantation. By 1772 there were 12 families, along with a sawmill, store, and school. The settlement’s first child, Mary Howard, was born that year. The first lawsuit was brought in 1790, when Jacob Buswell sued David Wall for calling him “an old damned grey-headed bugar of Hell” and Rev. Seth Noble “a damned rascall”.

Starting in 1775, Condeskeag became the site of treaty negotiations by which the Penobscot were made to give up almost all their ancestral lands, a process complete by about 1820, when Mainemarker became a state. The tribe was eventually left with only their main village on an island up-river from Bangor, called “Indian Old Town” by the settlers. Eventually a white settlement taking the name Old Townmarker was planted on the river bank opposite the Penobscot village, which began to be called “Indian Island”, and remains the site of the Penobscot Nation.

During the American Revolution in 1779, the rebel Penobscot Expedition fled up the Penobscot River after being routed in the Battle of Castine, Mainemarker, and the last of its ships (at least nine) were burned or captured by the British fleet at Bangor. Paul Revere was among the survivors who fled into the woods. A cannon from one of the rebel warships is mounted in a downtown park, and artifacts from the sunken ships continue to be discovered in the river-bed, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Having grown in size to 567 people, Condeskeag determined to incorporate as a town in 1791, As legend has it, the settlers sent the Rev. Seth Noble to Bostonmarker with a petition to name the town "Sunbury" (at the time, Maine was part of Massachusettsmarker). Noble's favorite song was a hymn tune by William Tans'ur entitled Bangor (after the Antiphonary of Bangor), and, in a moment of either drunkenness or misunderstanding, he caused the town to be given that name instead. History page of the Bangor, Maine official website. Retrieved 6 November 2006

The town was sacked by the Britishmarker during the War of 1812. following the rout of local militia in the Battle of Hampden. After the selectmen surrendered the town, the British raided shops and homes for 30 hours, and threatened to burn ships in the harbor and unfinished ones on stocks. The selectmen, fearing the fires from the ships on stocks would spread to the town, struck a deal by which they put up a bond, and promised to deliver the unfinished vessels to the British by the end of November. The British floated the seaworthy ships into the middle of the Penobscot, set some ablaze, and took others loaded with horses and cattle back to their post in Castinemarker, which they occupied until April 26, 1815, when they left for Canada.The British stayed only 30 hours, according to one account, because in the midst of celebrating their victory the soldiers became so drunk on local rum that the officers felt vulnerable to counter-attack.

Lumber capital

Bangor in 1875
In the 19th century, Bangor prospered as a lumber port, and began to call itself "the lumber capital of the world". Most of the local sawmills (as many as 300-400) were actually upriver in neighboring towns like Oronomarker, Old Townmarker, Bradleymarker, and Milfordmarker, Bangor controlling the capital, port facilities, supplies and entertainment. Bangor capitalists also owned most of the forests. The main markets for Bangor lumber were the East Coast cities - Bostonmarker and New Yorkmarker were largely built from Maine lumber - but much was also shipped directly to the Caribbeanmarker. The city was particularly active in shipping building lumber to Californiamarker in the Gold Rush period, via Cape Hornmarker, before sawmills could be established in northern California, Oregonmarker, and Washingtonmarker. Bangorians subsequently helped transplant the Maine culture of lumbering to the Pacific Northwest, and participated directly in the Gold Rush themselves. Bangor, Washington; Bangor, Californiamarker; and Little Bangor, Nevada are legacies of this contact.

Sailors and loggers gave the city a widespread reputation for roughness — their stomping grounds were known as the "Devil's Half Acre".. (The same name was also applied, at roughly the same time, to The Devil's Half-Acre, Pennsylvania). The arrival of Irish immigrants from nearby Canadamarker beginning in the 1830s, and their competition with local yankees for jobs, sparked a deadly sectarian riot in 1833 which lasted days and had to be put down by militia. Realizing the need for a police force, the town incorporated as The City of Bangor in 1834. Irish-Catholic and later Jewish immigrants eventually became established members of the community, along with many migrants from Atlantic Canada. Of 205 black citizens who lived in Bangor in 1910, over a third were originally from Canada.

Bangor was a center of political agitation during the bloodless Aroostook War, a boundary dispute with Britain in 1838-39. Still wary of the British navy, which had brought violence to the Penobscot twice, local politicians caused the Federal government to build a huge granite fort, Fort Knoxmarker downriver from Bangor at Prospect, Mainemarker from 1844 to 1864. It remains one of the region's most prominent landmarks, although it never fired a shot in anger.

Many of the lumber barons built elaborate Greek Revival and Victorian houses that still stand on Broadway, West Broadway, and elsewhere around the city. Bangor is also noteworthy for its large number of substantial old churches, as well as its imposing canopy of shade trees. The city was so beautiful it was called "The Queen City of the East." The shorter Queen City appellation is still used by some local clubs, organizations, events and businesses.

In addition to shipping lumber, 19th century Bangor was the leading producer of moccasins, shipping over 100,000 pairs a year by the 1880s.

Slavery issue and the Civil War

Bangor was a center of anti-slavery politics in the years before the American Civil War, partly due to the influence of the Bangor Theological Seminarymarker. The city had a chapter of the American Anti-Slavery Society with 105 members in 1837, and a parallel Female Anti-Slavery Society with 100 more. In 1841, the gubernatorial candidate of the anti-slavery Liberty Party received more votes in Bangor than in any city in Maine, though he lost by a wide margin to a less radical Bangorean, Edward Kent. U.S. Congressman Israel Washburn Jr. from neighboring Oronomarker was instrumental in organizing 30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss forming the Republican Party, and was the first politician of that rank to use the term "Republican", in a speech at Bangor in June 2, 1854.

That Hannibal Hamlin of neighboring Hampdenmarker became Lincoln's first Vice President, contributed to the strength of local anti-slavery feeling, at least among an educated elite. The city gradually became so hot for the Republican cause that on Aug. 17, 1861 the offices of the Democratic paper, the Bangor Daily Union, were ransacked by a mob, and the presses and other materials thrown into the street and burned. Editor Marcellus Emery was threatened with violence but escaped unharmed. He only resumed publishing after the war.

Bangor and surrounding towns were heavily engaged in the American Civil War. The locally-mustered 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment ("The Bangor Regiment"), was the first to march out of the state in 1861, and played a prominent part in the First Battle of Bull Runmarker. The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, mustered in Bangor and commanded by a local merchant, lost more men than any Union regiment in the war (especially in a single ill-fated charge in the Second Battle of Petersburgmarker, 1864). The 20th Maine Infantry Regiment commanded by Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain from the neighboring town of Brewermarker gained fame for holding Little Round Topmarker in the Battle of Gettysburgmarker. Grant gave Chamberlain the honor of accepting the surrender of Lee's Army of Virginia. A bridge connecting Bangor with Brewer is named for Chamberlain, who was one of eight Civil War soldiers from Bangor or surrounding Penobscot Countymarker towns to receive the Medal of Honor.

Bangor's main Civil War naval hero was Charles A. Boutelle, who accepted the surrender of the Confederate fleet after the Battle of Mobile Bay. A Bangor residential street is named for him. A number of Bangor ships were captured on the high seas by Confederate raiders in the Civil War, including the "Delphine", "James Littlefield", "Mary E. Thompson" and "Golden Rocket".

The University of Mainemarker (originally The Maine State College) was founded in the suburban town of Oronomarker in 1868.

In the 1880s there was a local quarrel over the adoption of Eastern Standard Time because Bangor was so far east. Bangor even elected an anti-EST mayor (J.F. Snow), and the city had, for awhile, two times. Some people set their watches to EST, and some to 'local time'. The issue was finally settled by the state legislature, which made EST 'standard' across all of Maine.

Although Maine was the first "dry" state (i.e. the first to prohibit the sale of alcohol, with the passage of the "Maine law" in 1851), Bangor managed to remain "wet". The city had 142 saloons in 1890. A look-the-other-way attitude by local police and politicians (sustained by a system of bribery in the form of ritualized fine-payments known as "The Bangor Plan") allowed Bangor to flout the nation's most long-standing state prohibition law.

Early twentieth century

Main Street in c.
In 1900 Bangor was still shipping wooden spools to Englandmarker and wooden fruit boxes to Italymarker. An average of 2,000 vessels called at Bangor each year. But its days as a lumber port were numbered, as the Maine woods began to be purchased by paper corporations, and large pulp and paper mills were erected in towns all along the Penobscot. The transition from lumber to paper was completed in the first quarter of the 20th century, though Bangor businesses continued to prosper by serving the paper industry. Local capitalists also invested in a train route to Aroostook Countymarker in northern Maine (the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad), opening that area to settlement.

In 1909, Robert E. Peary, after leading the first expedition to reach the North Polemarker, returned by train to the United States from Canada, via Bangor, where he was treated to a reception and given an engraved silver cup. Peary's Arctic exploration ship, the Roosevelt, had been built just south of Bangor on Verona Islandmarker.

On April 30, 1911, embers from a hayshed near the Kenduskeag Streammarker ignited nearby buildings, sparking the Great Fire of 1911marker. The fire would destroy most of the downtown, forever changing the face of the city, but as in the case of the more famous Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Bangor rose again and prospered. Most of the present downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the 'Great Fire Historic District', while the portion that survived the fire is the 'West Market Square Historic District'.

In 1913, the war of the "drys" (prohibitionists) on "wet" Bangor escalated when the Penobscot Countymarker Sheriff was impeached and removed by the Maine Legislature for not enforcing anti-liquor laws. His successor was asked to resign by the Governor the following year for the same reason, but refused. A third sheriff was removed by the Governor in 1918, but promptly re-nominated by the Democratic Party.

In 1915, a German agent, Werner Hornmarker attempted to dynamite the international railroad bridge in Vanceboromarker but was captured and arraigned on federal charges in Bangor. Later that year, $100 million in British gold bullion was shipped by rail from Halifax to New York, over that same bridge and through Bangor, in order to pay war-related debts.

The city was visited by the global Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and over a hundred died. This was the worst 'natural disaster' in Bangor's history.

In the fall of 1937, "public enemy" Al Brady and another member of his "Brady Gang" were killed in the bloodiest shootout in Maine's history. Federal agents ambushed Brady and his two accomplices on Bangor's Central Street after they had attempted to purchase guns and ammunition from Dakin's Sporting Goods downtown. Brady is buried in the public section of Mount Hope Cemetery, on the north side of Mount Hope Avenue. Until recently Brady's grave was unmarked. A group of schoolchildren erected a wooden marker over his grave in the 1990s, which was replaced by a more permanent stone in 2007.

Second World War and after

Old Post Office, now City Hall
During the Second World War, Bangor's Dow Airfield (later Dow Air Force Basemarker) became a major embarkation point for U.S. Army Air Force planes flying to and returning from Europe. Photographs and obituaries of 112 servicemen from Bangor who gave their lives in the war are preserved in 'Book of Honor' at the Bangor Public Library. There was also a small POW Camp in Bangor for captured German soldiers, a satellite of the much larger Camp Houlton in northern Maine.

In November, 1944, two German spies who had been landed on the Maine coast by U-Boat hitched a ride to Bangor, where they boarded a train to New York. They were eventually arrested and tried after an extensive Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker (FBI) manhunt.

In the post-war period Dow Airfield became a Strategic Air Command Base, and was subsequently converted into the Bangor International Airportmarker. Beginning in the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of international airline passengers, especially those on charter flights, cleared customs in Bangor as their planes refueled on the way from Europe to the interior of the United States or Mexico. The airport also became a major portal for returning troops in both the first and second Gulf Wars.

The destruction of downtown landmarks such as the old city hall and train station in the late 1960s Urban Renewal Program is now considered to have been a huge planning mistake, ushering a decline of the city center that was only accelerated by the construction of the Bangor Mall in 1978 and subsequent big box stores on the city's outskirts. Downtown Bangor began to recover in the 1990s, however, with bookstores, cafe/restaurants, galleries, and museums filling once vacant storefronts. The recent re-development of the city's waterfront has also helped re-focus cultural life in the historic center.

In 1992 Bangor was the launch site for the Chrysler Trans-Atlantic Challenge Balloon Race, which saw teams from five nations competing to reach Europe. The Belgians won, but the American team, blown off course, became the first to pilot a balloon from North America to Africa (it landed near Fez, Moroccomarker), setting new endurance and distance records in the process.

Also in 1992, a series of NASAmarker scientific research flights carried out from Bangor, using a converted U-2 spy plane proved that the hole in the ozone layer had critically grown over the northern hemisphere, prompting an acceleration of the global phase-out of CFC (the Copenhagenmarker Amendment to the Montreal Protocol)


Eastern Trust Building (1912) in Great Fire of 1911 Historic District
Lower Main Street
Bangor is located at (44.803, -68.770). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.7 square miles (90.0 km²), of which, 34.5 square miles (89.2 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (0.86%) is water.

Geography has been both the city's prosperity, and a limiting factor in its growth. The Penobscot River watershed above Bangor is both extensive and heavily forested, yet was too far north to attract American settlers intent on farming. These same conditions made it ideal for lumbering, along with deep winter snows which allowed logs to be easily dragged from the woods by horse-teams. Carried to the Penobscot or its tributaries, logs could be floated downstream with the spring thaw to sawmills on waterfalls (water-power driving the sawblades) just above Bangor. The sawn lumber was then shipped from the city's docks, Bangor being at the head-of-tide (between the rapids and the ocean) to points anywhere in the world needing wood. The combination of forests and sheltered coves along the nearby Maine coast also fostered the development of a ship-building industry to service the lumber trade.

Bangor had certain disadvantages compared to other East Coast ports, including its rival Portland, Mainemarker. Being on a northern river, its port froze during the winter, and could not take the largest ocean-going ships. The comparative lack of settlement in the forested hinterland also gave it a comparatively small home market.

Many of the same conditions that favored lumbering, however, were attractive to the pulp and paper industry, which took over the Penobscot watershed in the twentieth century. One large difference was transportation: the paper was shipped out, and the chemicals in, by railroad. The city began turning its back on the river as its train-yards became more important. The coming of the paper industry assured, however, that the Maine woods would remain unsettled for another century.

Bangor's other geographic advantage, not realizable until the mid-twentieth century, was that it lay along the most direct air-route between the U.S. East Coast and Europe (the Great Circle Route). The construction of an air-fieldmarker in the 1930s, and its continual expansion under military auspices through the 1960s, allowed the city to eventually take full advantage of this geographic gift. Having the Canadian border close-by also helped. Bangor was the last American airport before Europe, or the first American airport one encountered flying from Europe. The extension of air routes connecting Europe with the U.S. West Coast and the Caribbean in the 1970s-80s put Bangor very much in the middle as a refueling stop for charter aircraft. The subsequent development of longer-range jets began to reduce this advantage in the 1990s.

A potential advantage that has always eluded the city is its location between the Canadian port city of Halifaxmarker and the rest of Canadamarker (as well as New York). As early as the 1870s the city promoted a Halifax to New Yorkmarker railroad, via Bangor, as the quickest connection between North America and Europe (when combined with steamship service between Britainmarker and Halifax). A European and North American Railway was actually opened through Bangor, with President Ulysses S. Grant officiating at the inauguration, but commerce never lived up to the potential. More recently attempts to capture traffic between Halifax and Montrealmarker by constructing an East-West Highway through Maine have also come to naught. Most overland traffic between the two parts of Canada continues to travel north of Maine rather than across it.


Downtown Bangor
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,473 people, 13,713 households, and 7,185 families residing in the city. The population density was 913.7 people per square mile (352.7/km²). There were 14,587 housing units at an average density of 423.5/sq mi (163.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.96% White, 1.02% African American, 0.98% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.05% of the population.

Of Bangor's 13,713 households, 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.6% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.81.

Exchange Street
21.3% of Bangor's population was under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median household income in the city was $29,740, and the median income for a family was $42,047. Males had a median income of $32,314 versus $23,759 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,295. About 11.9% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.9% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2007, the population of the Bangor Metropolitan Area (which includes Penobscot and parts of Waldo and Hancock Counties) is 147,180, indicating a 1.56 growth rate since 2000, almost all of it accounted for by Bangor. Metro Bangor had a higher percentage of people with high school degrees than the national average (85% compared to 76.5%) and a slightly higher number of graduate degree holders (7.55% compared to 7.16%). It had much higher no. of physicians per capita (291 vs. 170), because of the presence of two large hospitals.

Cultural institutions

Bangor Public Library Dome
The Bangor Public Library, founded in 1883, traces its beginnings to 1830 and seven books in a simple footlocker. It now has a collection of over 500,000 volumes, and regularly records one of the highest circulation rates in the country.

The University of Maine Museum of Art, located in Norumbega Hall in downtown Bangor, has a permanent collection of over 6500 pieces, including works by Berenice Abbott, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, John Marin, Carl Sprinchorn, and Andrew Wyeth. The Maine Discovery Museum, a major children's museum founded in 2001 in the former Freese's Department Store. The Bangor Museum and Center for History in addition to its exhibit space maintains the historic Thomas A. Hill House. The Bangor Police Department boasts a police museum with some items dating to the 1700s. There is a Fire Museum at the former State Street Fire Station.

Bangor Opera House
There are several performing arts venues and groups in the Bangor area. The Bangor Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1896, is the oldest continually operating symphony orchestra in the United States. The Bangor Band, founded in 1859 and performing continually since then, gives free weekly concerts in the city's parks during the summer, and counts among its past conductors noted march composer Robert B. Hall. The Penobscot Theatre Companymarker, founded in 1973, is a professional theater company based in the historic Bangor Opera House. The Maine Center for the Artsmarker, located at the nearby University of Mainemarker, hosts a wide variety of touring performing artists and events. River City Cinema hosts a free outdoor summer film festival in downtown Bangor.

The University of Mainemarker, the flagship campus of the University of Maine System is located 9 miles from Bangor in the town of Oronomarker, and adds significantly to the city's cultural life. There is also a vocationally-oriented University College of Bangormarker, associated with the University of Maine at Augustamarker. Bangor's Husson Universitymarker, founded in 1898, enrolls approximately 2500 students a year in a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Beal Collegemarker, also in Bangor, is a small institution oriented toward career training. The Bangor Theological Seminarymarker, founded in 1814, is the only accredited graduate school of religion in northern New England.

Bangor has a sister city relationship with nearby Saint John, New Brunswickmarker.


West Market Square
has a fascinating, mostly 19th-century cityscape, and sections of the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city has also had a municipal Historic Preservation Commission since the early 1980s.

The Thomas Hill Standpipemarker, a huge elegant shingle style structure, is visible from most parts of the city. Also prominent are the spires of the Hammond St. Congregationalmarker and Unitarian churches, built from similar designs by the Boston architectural firm Towle and Foster, and that of St. John's Catholic Churchmarker constructed around the same time. The Bangor House Hotel, now converted to apartments, is the only survivor among a series of "Palace Hotels" designed by Boston architect Isaiah Rogers which were the first of their kind in the United States. Bangor also boasts the country's second oldest garden cemetery, the Mt.marker Hope Cemeterymarker, designed by Charles G. Bryant.

Richard Upjohn, British-born architect and early promoter of the Gothic Revival, received some of his first commissions in Bangor, including the Isaac Farrar House (1833), Samuel Farrar House (1836), Thomas A. Hill House (presently owned by the Bangor Historical Society), and St. John's Church (Episcopal, 1836-39). The later was designed just prior to his most famous commission, Trinity Church in New York City. Upjohn was a founding member of the American Institute of Architectsmarker and its first president (1857-76).
St. John's Catholic Church with Thomas Hill Standpipe in distance

Other local landmarks include the Bangor Public Library by Peabody and Stearns; All Soul's Congregational Church by Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson; the Wheelwright Block by Benjamin S. Deane; and The Eastern Maine Insane Hospital by John Calvin Stevens. Bangor also contains many impressive Greek Revival. Victorian, and Colonial Revival houses, some of which are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The most photographed is the William Arnold House of 1856, Bangor's largest Italianate style mansion and home to author Stephen King. Its wrought-iron fence with bat and spider web motif is King's own addition.

The bow-plate of the battleship USS Maine, whose destruction in Havana, Cubamarker presaged the start of the Spanish-American War, survives on a granite memorial by Charles Eugene Tefft in Davenport Park.

In the category "roadside architecture", Bangor has a huge, famous fiberglass-over-metal statue of mythical lumberman Paul Bunyan by Normand Martin (1959) and one of only two Howard Johnson's restaurants left in the country.

Public art

Sculpture "Continuity of Community" (1969) in West Market Square
Peirce Memorial
There are three large bronze statues in downtown Bangor by Brewermarker sculptor Charles Eugene Tefft, including the Luther H. Peirce Memorial, commemorating the Penobscot River Log-Drivers, a statue of Hannibal Hamlin at Kenduskeag Mall, and an image of "Lady Victory" at Norumbega Parkway.

The abstract aluminum sculpture "Continuity of Community" (1969) in West Market Square is by the Castine sculptor Clark Battle Fitz-Gerald (1917-2004) whose works also stand at Coventry Cathedralmarker, Independence Hallmarker, and Columbia University

The U.S. Post Office in Bangor contains the three-part mural "Autumn Expansion" (1980) by noted artist Yvonne Jacquette.

A large bronze commemorating the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment (1962) by Wisconsin sculptor Owen Vernon Shaffer stands at the entrance to Mt.marker Hope Cemeterymarker

Public safety

Ironically, this city associated with the novels of Stephen King is among the safest in the United States. Its crime rate is the second lowest among American metropolitan areas of comparable size.

Beginning 19 January 2007 the city has banned smoking in automobiles if children under 18 are present. Offenders can be fined $50 under the ordinance. According to the New York Times, Bangor is "believed to be the first city to outlaw smoking in cars with children."


Bangor has had a Council-Manager form of government since 1931, with a nine-member City Council. Three city councilors are elected to three-year terms each year. Although Bangor has no "Mayor", the Chair of the City Council is often informally referred to as the City's Mayor.

In 1996, Bangor's City Council was the first in North America to unanimously approve a resolution opposing the sale of sweat-shop produced clothing in local stores.

Bangor and Augustamarker have together produced the largest number of Governors of Maine (nine each, including two non-consecutive terms by Edward Kent). This list includes the present governor, Democrat John Baldacci, and the last Republican governor, John McKernan. A number of others were born or lived in suburban towns such as Brewermarker, Hampdenmarker, and Oronomarker.


The Bangor State fair, held starting the last Friday of each July, for more than 150 years, is one of the country's oldest fairs, featuring agricultural exhibits, carnival attractions, and live performances.

In 2002, 2003, and 2004, Bangor was the host of the National Folk Festival. In August 2005, the newly created American Folk Festival began as an annual event on the city's waterfront. The annual Bangor Book Festival brings Maine-based writers together at the Bangor Public Library and other venues.

The Kenduskeag Streammarker Canoe Race, a celebrated white-water event which begins just north of Bangor in the town of Kenduskeag, has been held annually for the last 40 years. Bangor also hosts an annual Soapbox Derby race, and a Paul Bunyon marathon.


The Bangor region has a large number of media outlets for an area its size. The city has an unbroken history of newspaper publishing extending from 1815. Almost 30 dailies, weeklies, and monthlies had been launched there by the end of the Civil War .

Bangor Daily News building
The Bangor Daily News was founded in the late nineteenth century, and is one of the few remaining family-owned newspapers left in the United States.Bangor Metro, founded in 2005, is the area's glossy business, lifestyle, and opinion magazine. The alternative/lifestyle weekly The Maine Edge also publishes in the city.

Bangor has more than a dozen radio stations and seven television stations, including WLBZ 2marker (NBC), WABI 5marker (CBS), WVII 7marker (ABC), WBGR 33marker, and WFVX 22marker (Fox). WMEB 12, licensed to nearby Oronomarker, is the area's PBS member station. Radio stations in the city include WKIT-FMmarker and WZONmarker, owned by Zone Radio Corporation, a company owned by Bangor resident novelist Stephen King. WHSNmarker is a non-commercial alternative rock station licensed to Bangor and run and operated by staff and students at the New England School of Communicationsmarker located on the campus of Husson Collegemarker. Several other stations in the market are owned by Blueberry Broadcasting and Cumulus Media.

Sport and recreation

Bangor Auditorium
The Eastern Maine High school basketball Tournament is held each February at the Bangor Auditoriummarker drawing fans from central, eastern and northern Maine. The nearby University of Mainemarker fields major college sports teams in football, ice hockey, baseball, and men's and women's basketball. Bangor has also been home to two minor league baseball teams in the past decade: the Bangor Blue Ox (1996-1997) and the Bangor Lumberjacks (2003-2004). Both were affiliated with the Northeast League that existed under that name from 1995-1998.

Bangor High Schoolmarker sports teams are traditionally strong competitors. In the state "class A" division of both baseball and basketball, Bangor holds the record for number of combined champion and runner-up placements. In football they share that record with South Portlandmarker. Both the boy's and the girl's swim teams have also tallied the most state-wide wins.
Kenduskeag Stream
Bangor Raceway offers live harness racing and features an off-track betting center. Also, nearby Hollywood Slots operated by Penn National Gaming is Maine's first slot machine gambling center. In 2007, construction began on a $131 million casino complex in Bangor that houses, among other things, a gaming floor featuring approximately 1,500 slot machines, a seven-story hotel, and a four-level parking garage. The controversial new racino opened in the summer of 2008. Maine is one of few states where racinos are legal, and the one in Bangor is expected to change the city's tourism profile.

Every August (since 2002) Bangor has been home to the Senior League World Series.

Bangor has also been of historical importance to professional wrestling. Vince McMahon promoted his very first wrestling event in Bangor in 1979. In 1985, the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship changed hands for the first time outside of Puerto Rico in Bangor at an IWCCW show.

The Bangor City Forest and other nearby parks, forests and waterways support a wide variety of outdoor activities including hiking, sailing, canoeing, hunting, fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling.

The Penobscot has always been the premier salmon-fishing river in Maine, and the Bangor Salmon Pool traditionally sent the first fish caught to the President of the United States. Low fish stocks resulted in a ban on salmon fishing in 1999-2006 but the wild salmon population (and the sport) is slowly recovering. The Penobscot River Restoration Project is presently working to help the fish population by removing certain dams north of Bangor.

In 2009, due to the help of fighter Marcus Davis, Mixed Martial Arts was sanctioned in the state.


Bangor is located along I-95, U.S. 1, US 2, and State Route 15. I-395 branches from I-95 and runs to the east. Three major bridges, including the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge and Penobscot River Bridgemarker, connect Bangor to its neighbor Brewer.

Five major airlines offer over 60 flights a day to and from Bangor International Airportmarker, giving the city non-stop service to Bostonmarker, Newarkmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Detroitmarker, Cincinnatimarker, Atlantamarker, Orlandomarker, and seasonal non-stop service to New Yorkmarker's LaGuardia Airportmarker and Minneapolismarker. Most of the major car rental companies have desks at the airport.

Ferry service from nearby Bar Harbor connects the area with the Canadian province of Nova Scotiamarker

Daily bus service provided by six companies connects Bangor with nearly all large surrounding towns and cities in Maine, as well as with Bostonmarker; Portsmouth, New Hampshiremarker; and St. John, New Brunswickmarker.

Public transportation within Bangor and to adjacent towns such as Oronomarker is offered by the BAT Community Connector system. There is also a seasonal (summer) shuttle between Bangor and Bar Harbor.

Military installations

Although Dow Air Force Basemarker has been the city-owned Bangor International Airportmarker since 1969, the US military and the Maine Air National Guard continue to house units there and share the runway. These include the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the United States Air Force (USAF) and its 132nd Air Refueling Squadron, which mostly fly KC-135 tanker planes. The 132nd, which has been based in Bangor since 1947, and calls itself “The Mainiacs”, was a fighter squadron until 1976.

In 1990, the USAF East Coast Radar System (ECRS) Operation Center was activated in Bangor with over 400 personnel. The center controlled the Over-The-Horizon Backscatter radar system, whose transmitter was in Moscow, Mainemarker, and receiver in coastal Columbia Fallsmarker. Designed and built by General Electric, and incorporating 28 Digital Equipment VAX computers housed in Bangor, it was the most powerful radar in the world, capable of monitoring virtually the entire North Atlanticmarker, from Icelandmarker to the Caribbeanmarker. A similar system on the West Coast was built but never activated. With the end of the Cold War, the facility's mission of guarding against a Sovietmarker air attack became superfluous, and though it briefly turned its attention toward drug interdiction, the system was decommissioned in 1997 as an expensive Cold War relic.

In 1960-64, Bangor had a similar experience as one of a dozen BOMARC anti-aircraft missile bases. Abandoned by the Air Force four years after construction, the fortified concrete missile bunkers long survived as ghostly landmarks, and a deactivated BOMARC missile was briefly mounted, statue-like, next to Paul Bunyan at Bass Park.

Famous and notable Bangorians


Bangor is the hometown of Hannibal Hamlin, who served as Abraham Lincoln's first Vice President, and was a strong opponent of slavery. His statue stands in a downtown park, and his house is on the National Register of Historic Places. His daughter and son were present in Ford's Theatremarker the night Lincoln was shot. Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, William P. Fessenden, practiced law in Bangor in the early 1830s.

William Cohen, former U.S. Senator and United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton, is a Bangor native. A local middle school is named in his honor.Current U.S. Senator Susan Collins lives in Bangor.

Sixteen citizens of Bangor have served as U.S. Congressmen: Francis Carr (1812-13); James Carr (1815-17); William D. Williamson (1821-23); Gorham Parks (1833-37); Elisha Hunt Allen (1841-43); Charles Stetson (1849-51); John A. Peters (1822-1904); Samuel F. Hersey (1873-75); Harris M. Plaisted (1875-77); George W. Ladd (1879-1883); Charles A. Boutelle (1882-1901); Donald F. Snow (1929-1933); John G. Utterback (1933-35); Frank Fellows (1941-51); John R. McKernan (1983-87); and John Baldacci (1995-2003). Four of them (Williamson, Plaisted, McKernan, and Baldacci) became Governors of Maine. Boutelle was Chairman of the House Committee on Naval Affairs during the building of the Great White Fleet. Hersey willed his estate to the City of Bangor, which used it to found the Bangor Public Library in 1883. Snow was sentenced to two years in prison for embezzlement in 1935, but was pardoned a few months later.

Ten U.S. Congressmen from other states were either born in Bangor or formerly lived there, namely Abner Taylor (Illinois), Orrin Larrabee Miller (Kansas), Donald C. McRuer (California), Mark Trafton (Massachusetts), Daniel T. Jewett (Missouri), Alpheus Felch (Michigan), and Loren Fletcher, Solomon Comstock, William D. Washburn, and Frederick Stevens (all Minnesota). Dorilus Morrison, the first mayor of Minneapolismarker, was a Bangor lumber merchant in the 1840s.

The vice presidential candidate of the Green Party in the 2004 election, Patricia LaMarche was raised in Bangor. The first African-American elected to the Maine State Legislature was Bangor-born Gerald E. Talbot, who served 1972-78.

Bangor elected the only member of the Spiritualist religion known to have achieved state-wide office in the United States: attorney Mark Alton Barwise, who served in the Maine House of Representatives, and then the Maine State Senate, in 1921-26. Barwise was a trustee (and senior counsel) of the National Spiritualist Association and Curator of its Bureau of Phenomenal Evidence. He also wrote prolifically on Spiritualism.[17834]


Stephen King's house.
The most famous Bangor resident is undoubtedly Stephen King, the author best known for his horror-themed stories, novels, and movies. His wife, Tabitha Spruce-King, is also a writer, as are sons Joseph Hillstrom King (aka Joe Hill) and Owen King. The family donates a substantial amount of money to local libraries and hospitals and have funded a baseball stadium, Mansfield Stadium (home to the Senior League World Series), and the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Center, both on the grounds of Hayford Park, for the citizens (especially the children) of the city. King's fictional town, Derry, Maine, shares many points of correspondence with Bangor — the rivers, the Paul Bunyan Statue, the Thomas Hill Standpipemarker, the hospital — but is always referred to as separate from Bangor. King also features Bangor in many of his stories, such as The Langoliers and Storm of the Century. King owns radio stations WKITmarker, WZONmarker, and WZON-FMmarker.

Hayford Peirce, the science-fiction writer and nephew of Waldo Peirce, is likewise a Bangor native. Other contemporary authors from Bangor include novelists Don J. Snyder, Christina Baker Kline, Barbara Goldscheider, Henry Garfield, Christopher Willard, and Mameve Medwed; poets Terry Godbey, Sarah Ruth Jacobs, David Baker, and Annaliese Jakimides; and children's book authors Susan Lubner and Bruce McMillan.

Bangor had strong links to Transcendentalism through Frederick Henry Hedge, minister of the Congregational Church there in the 1830s. His circle, which included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, met as "Hedge's Club" or the Transcendental Club whenever Hedge returned to his native Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker. Emerson had previously lectured in Bangor and Hedge took the position here on his advice. Thoreau visited Bangor a number of times (his aunt and cousins also lived here) and describes the city in his book The Maine Woods.

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Owen Davis (1874-1956) lived in Bangor until he was 15, and his prize-winning play Icebound (1923) is set in neighboring Veaziemarker. Davis wrote between 200 and 300 plays, as well as radio and film scripts, and two autobiographies. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was president of the Author's League of America and the American Dramatist's Guild.

Christine Goutiere Weston (1904-1989), author of ten novels, more than thirty short stories, and two non-fiction books (about Ceylonmarker and Afghanistanmarker), lived the latter part of her life in Bangor. She had been born in Indiamarker and much of her fiction was set there.

Katya Alpert Gilden (1919-1991) of Bangor co-authored with her husband Bert Gilden the best-selling 1965 novel Hurry Sundown, which became an Otto Preminger film in 1967.

Blanche Willis Howard, a best-selling late nineteenth century novelist, was born and raised in Bangor. She eventually moved to Stuttgart, Germanymarker and married the court physician to King Charles I of Württemberg, thus becoming the Baroness von Teuffel.

Eugene T. Sawyer, the "Prince of Dime Novelists", was born and raised in Bangor. In a 1902 interview, he claimed to have authored 75 examples of that genre, mostly for the Nick Carter series, once producing a 60,000 word novel in two days. His major innovation was to "begin the plot with the first word", i.e. "We will have the money, or she shall die!"

Bangor-born Henry Payson Dowst (1872-1921) was a novelist and short-story writer, and saw a number of his stories made into silent films. One was The Dancin' Fool (1920) starring Wallace Reid. He spent his later life in a New York advertising agency, but was buried in Bangor.

Ruel Perley Smith (1869-1937), born in Bangor, was the author of the Rival Campers series of boy's book in the early 20th century. His regular job was as Night and Sunday Editor of the New York World newspaper. Like Smith, Frederick H. Costello (1851-1921) was a nationally-successful writer of adventure novels for young adults, who for 30 years held a day-job as local (Bangor) manager of the R.G. Dunn credit reporting company.


The painter and bohemian Waldo Peirce, confidante of Ernest Hemingway, was from a prominent Bangor family.

Portrait painter Jeremiah Pearson Hardy (1800-1887), who apprenticed under Samuel F.B. Morse, lived and worked in Bangor for most of his career, sustained largely by the patronage of lumber barons. His children Anna Eliza Hardy and Francis Willard Hardy, and sister Mary Ann Hardy, were also part of a 19th century circle of Bangor painters. Other members of this circle included Florence Whitney Jennison and Isabel Graham Eaton, who was also an author.

Walter Franklin Lansil studied first under Hardy, and then at the Academie Julian in Paris. He established a studio in Boston and became a celebrated landscape and marine artist. His brother Wilbur H. Lansil, a noted painter of rural landscapes, accompanied him to Boston.

Frederic Porter Vinton (1846-1911) left Bangor at age 14 for Boston, where he became that city's most sought-after portrait painter - producing over 300 canvases - and one of the original members of The Boston School. He studied in Munich and with Leon Bonnat in Paris, as well as with William Morris Hunt.

Show-business people

Bangor is the birthplace of comedian/actor Charles Rocket (1949-2005), who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and appeared in more than eighty other television shows and films, including Touched by an Angel, Miami Vice, and Star Trek: Voyager.

Sportscaster Gary Thorne was also born here and once served as an assistant district attorney in the city.

Actor Wayne Maunder, who played George Armstrong Custer in the series Custer on ABC in 1967, and co-starred with Andrew Duggan, James Stacy, and Paul Brinegar on CBS's Lancer western series, was reared in Bangor though born in New Brunswickmarker, Canada.

Actress Stephanie Niznik of the television series Everwood and the film Star Trek: Insurrection was also reared in Bangor.

Character actor Everett Glass (1891-1966) was born in Bangor. He appeared in more than seventy films and television shows from the 1940s through the 1960s, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and episodes of Superman, Lassie, and Perry Mason.

Bangorian Leonard Horn (1926-1975) directed episodes of twenty-nine prime-time television series and a number of made-for-TV movies between 1959 and 1975, including Mission: Impossible, Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits, and Lost in Space.

Bangor-born actor Ralph Sipperly (ca.1890-1928) appeared in ten films between 1923 and 1932, most of them silent, including the Academy Award winning Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.

Comedian Ed Wynn once ran out of money in Bangor and took a job playing piano in a brothel.

Actress Myrna Fahey (1933-1973), who was born in nearby Carmelmarker, is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Bangor. From the 1950s to the 1970s she appeared in more than forty films and television shows, including House of Usher (1960) where she co-starred with Vincent Price, and episodes of such series as Zorro, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Perry Mason, Batman, and The Time Tunnel. She dated Joe DiMaggio after his divorce from Marilyn Monroe. Stage actor Richard Golden (1854-1909), born in nearby Bucksport and called by one turn-of-the-century theatre critic "the best character actor in America" is buried at Bangor's Mount Hope Cemeterymarker

Bangor-born Guy Nicolucci was on the writing team from the TV show Late Night with Conan O'Brian which won an Emmy in 2007. Niccolucci also wrote for The Daily Show.

Eric Saindon of Bangor was visual effects supervisor for the films King Kong and Night at the Museum, and a key member of the visual effects team of I, Robot and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He is a three-time winner of the Visual Effects Society Award. A second visual effects man from Bangor, Christopher Mills, has contributed to such films as Evan Almighty, The Golden Compass, and Night at the Museum

Comedian Bob Marley, born and raised in Bangor, has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien as well as Comedy Central and huge cult film "The Boondocks Saints".

Pro-Wrestler/Adult Film Star, Chad Vargas calls Bangor his hometown.

Singers, musicians and song-writers

Singer/songwriter Howie Day, who recorded the hit Collide, was born in Bangor, and got his start playing local clubs. Country singer Dick Curless, who recorded the 1965 hit Tombstone Every Mile, also lived there.

George Frederick Root (1820-95), a noted Civil War era composer of songs such as The Battle Cry of Freedom, lived in Bangor before becoming a successful music publisher in Chicagomarker.

The celebrated composer (and collector of folk songs) Norman Cazden, who was a victim of McCarthyism in the 1950s, taught at the nearby University of Mainemarker from 1969 and died in Bangor in 1980.

Paul T. White (1895-1973), composer, professor of music at the University of Rochestermarker, and conductor of the Rochester Civic Orchestra (1953-1965) was born in Bangor, as was Rudolph Ringwall, associate conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra (1934-56). Berlin-born Werner Torkanowsky, director of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, came to Bangor in 1981 to direct the Bangor Symphony and did so until his death in 1992.

Kay Gardner (1941-2002), flutist and pioneering composer of 'healing music' lived and died in Bangor.


Bangor is the home of Philadelphia Phillies hitter Matt Stairs. Major League baseball player Matt Kinney of the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and now Japan's Seibu Lions is also a native, as is Jon DiSalvatore, of the National Hockey League (now with the Phoenix Coyotes). Fictional character Julie "The Cat" Gaffney (played by actress Meghan MacDonald) from the Mighty Ducks movies grew up in Bangor, according to a voice-over biography in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

Former Major League baseball players born in Bangor include Bobby Messenger (1901-1964) of the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns; Jack Sharrott (1869-1927) of the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies; and Pat O'Connell (1861-1943) of the Baltimore Orioles.

Former National Basketball Association player Jeff Turner of the New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic was born in Bangor. He also won a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. Basketball Team.

Former National Football League player Al Harris (b. 1956) of the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles comes from Bangor.

Toronto Blue Jays bench coach Brian Butterfield was born in Bangor, as was Clemson Universitymarker baseball coach Jack Leggett and Ohio Wesleyan Universitymarker football coach Mike Hollway. Jerry "The Hammer" Smith, former Bangor boxer, is Chief of Ushers at Fenway Parkmarker (home of the Red Sox in Boston).

Professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighter Marcus Davis and his Team Irish currently call Bangor their home.

Kevin Mahaney of Bangor won a silver medal in sailing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and went on to reach the finals of the America's Cup trials with his Bangor-based PACT-95 team.

Cross-country biking champion Adam Craig was born in Bangor and grew up in nearby Corinth, Mainemarker. He was a member of the U.S. Biking Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Jack McAuliffe, World Lightweight Boxing Champion in the 1880s-90s and known as "The Napoleon of the Ring", learned to fight growing up as a child in a tough Bangor neighborhood. He retired with an unbeaten record. Another local boxer, Michael Daley, became Lightweight Boxing Champion of New England, but was arrested in Bangor in 1903, along with George La Blanche, the former Middleweight Champion of the World, for robbing a man at a local hotel.

In the 1890s, Harry Orman Robinson of Bangor was Head Coach of the University of Texasmarker football team, the Texas Longhorns, and before that the University of Missourimarker team, the Missouri Tigers.

Karen Colburn of Bangor was Girl's National Free-Style Ski Champion in 1975.


The "Father of American Sociology", Albion Woodbury Small, attended grade-school in Bangor. He was the first American professor of sociology, founder of the first dept. of sociology (at the University of Chicagomarker), edited the discipline's first American journal, and was President of the American Sociological Society (1912-13).

Edith Lesley, founder of Lesley University in Massachusetts, grew up in Bangor.

University of Maine psychologist Doris Allen (1901-2002), who was born in nearby Old Town, and practiced at the Bangor Mental Health Institute in the 1970s, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Children's International Summer Villages. She was also President of the International Council of Psychologists.

William Witherle Lawrence (1876-1958) of Bangor became a Professor of English at Columbia University and a ground-breaking scholar of Beowulf and the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. He was awarded the Royal Order of Vasa with the rank of knight by the King of Sweden. Charles Huntington Whitman (1873-1937) of Bangor was Chair of the English Dept. at Rutgers Universitymarker for 27 years, and a noted scholar of Edmund Spenser.

John Irwin Hutchinson (1967-1935) of Bangor became a noted Professor of Mathematics at Cornell Universitymarker, and Vice President of the American Mathematical Society.

Robert Winslow Gordon of Bangor became the first Director of the Archives of the American Folk Song at the Library of Congressmarker. In the 1910s-1930s he was arguably the leading authority on this genre of music, personally recorded nearly a thousand folk songs and transcribing the lyrics of 10,000 more.

Hayford Peirce Sr., father of the science fiction author and brother of painter Waldo Peirce, was a noted scholar of Byzantine Art.

William D. Williamson, a Brown Universitymarker-educated Bangor lawyer who became the second Governor of Maine, was also the state's first historian, producing a two-volume History of the State of Maine as early as 1832. It remained the standard reference throughout the 19th century. Historian of Japan Gregory Clancey, winner of the 2007 Sidney Edelstein Prize for his book "Earthquake Nation", was born in Bangor. He is Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singaporemarker

Bangor-born Egyptologist Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabamamarker was the first member of her discipline to experiment with satellite imaging, and was able to locate 132 undiscovered ancient Egyptian archaeological sites. An earlier archaeologist from Bangor, Henry Williamson Haynes, also did field-work in Egypt.

Soldiers and sailors

Charles Boutelle

Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburgmarker who also accepted the surrender of General Lee's Army at Appomattox, was born in the neighboring city of Brewermarker but studied at the Bangor Theological Seminarymarker. The bridge connecting the two cities is named for him. Chamberlain, a professor at Bowdoin Collegemarker when the war began, and later its president, could read seven foreign languages. He was also elected Governor of Maine, as was another Civil War general from Bangor, Harris Merrill Plaisted. Cyrus Hamlin, who commanded a regiment of African-American troops, and Charles Hamlin, both sons of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, also became generals in the Civil War. Other Bangorians who achieved a general's rank in the same conflict included Edward Hatch, who commanded the cavalry division of Grant's Army of the Tennessee; Augustus B. Farnham, Chief of Staff of the Third Division, who was severely wounded; Charles W. Roberts; George Varney; John F. Appleton, and Daniel White. Col. Daniel Chaplin, who died in battle, was posthumously made a Maj. General. Naval Lt. Charles A. Boutelle accepted the surrender of the Confederate fleet after the Battle of Mobile Bay, where he commanded an ironclad.

Charles Albert Whittier (d. 1908), who was born in Bangor but became a wealthy merchant in Boston and New York, volunteered for the Spanish-American War and was made a Brigadier General for his part in the capture of Manilamarker. He subsequently became Collector of Customs in the Philippine capital. His daughter Susan married Prince Sergei Beloselsky-Belozerskymarker, son of the aide-de-camp to the Tsar of Russia, and a second daughter, Polly Whittier, won the silver medal in women's golf at the 1900 Paris Olympics.

Vice Adm. Carl Frederick Holden of Bangor began World War II as executive officer of the battleship USS Pennsylvania during the attack on Pearl Harbormarker. He became the first captain of the battleship USS New Jerseymarker, and ended the war as a Rear Adm. commanding Cruiser Division Pacific. He was on the deck of the USS Missourimarker to witness the Japanese surrender in 1945.

Lieutenant Frank Bostrom won the Distinguished Flying Cross for piloting the bomber which rescued Gen. Douglas MacArthur, his staff, and family, from the Philippines in 1942, flying them to Australia over Japanese-occupied territory.

Lt. Gen. Donald Norton Yates of Bangor helped select June 6, 1944 as the date for D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe, in his capacity as chief meteorologist on General Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff. He chose well - it turned out to be the only day that month the invasion could have been successfully launched - and was subsequently decorated by three governments. He went on to become the chief meteorologist of the U.S. Air Force, Commander of the Air Force Missile Test Center at Patrick Air Force Basemarker in Florida, and retired as Deputy Director of Defence Research and Engineering in the Pentagon.

Other Bangorians who have risen to flag rank in the armed services include Lt. Gen. Walter F. Ulmer, former Commandant of Cadets at West Pointmarker and commander of the III Corps and Fort Hoodmarker; Rear Adm. George Adams Bright, surgeon and Medical Director of the Naval Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and Maj. Gen. Elmer P. Yates, an early proponent of nuclear power in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Molly Kool (1916-2009) the first registered female sea captain in North America, spent the last years of her life in Bangor.


Two future astronauts were among the pilots stationed at Bangor's Dow Air Force Basemarker in the 1950s. Robert A. Rushworth of Madison, Mainemarker, and a graduate of the University of Mainemarker in nearby Oronomarker, was at Dow in 1951-53. He was one of 9 test pilots initially selected to be astronauts in 1958, and undertook a record number of rocket research flights (34) in the X-15, then the world's fastest and highest-flying winged aircraft. James A. McDivitt, a fighter pilot at Dow in 1953-54, became the command pilot of the NASAmarker spacecraft Gemini 4 in 1965. This space mission was the first in which an American astronaut (Edward Higgins White) conducted a space-walk. McDivitt took the famous photographs of that event. He was later commander of the Apollo 9 mission, which first tested the lunar module, and subsequently became Manager of the Apollo space program itself.


Commercial Chewing gum was invented in Bangor in 1848 by John B. Curtis, who marketed his product as "State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum". He later opened a successful gum factory in Portland, Mainemarker

L.B. Davies of Augusta, Mainemarker, who came to work as a millwright in Bangor when he was 17, and subsequently joined the crew of a local steamboat, ended up in Ohio. There he invented the cow-catcher. He never patented it, nor made a cent from its widespread use.

Bangor's Hinkley & Egery Ironworks (later Union Ironworks) was a local center for invention in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A new type of steam engine built there, named the "Endeavor", won a Gold Medal at the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition of the American Institute in 1856. The firm won a diploma for a shingle-making machine the following year. In the 1920s, Union Iron Works engineer Don A. Sargent invented the first automotive snow plow. Sargent patented the device and the firm manufactured it for a national market.

Bangor-born physicist Hobart C. Dickinson invented the guarded hot plate, an improved calorimeter, and other important testing devices while working at the National Bureau of Standards. He was also on the design team of the Liberty aircraft engine during World War I and designed and built the first altitude chamber to test full-sized aircraft. After the war he founded the research lab of the Society of Automotive Engineers and later became that organization's president.
The MOS 6502 Microprocessor, designed by Chuck Peddle in 1975

Col. Paul E. Watson of Bangor, chief engineer of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, headed the team that built the army's first long-range radar in 1936-37. This was the radar deployed in Hawaii at the time of the Pearl Harbor Attackmarker. The Army's radar laboratory was named "Watson Laboratories" after his death, and became the kernal of the present USAF Rome Laboratorymarker.

Chuck Peddle, who developed the MOS 6502 microprocessor in 1975, was born in Bangor in 1937.

Architects and engineers

Maine's first architect, Charles G. Bryant (1803-1858), lived and practiced in Bangor in the 1830s and designed Mt.marker Hope Cemeterymarker, the second garden cemetery in the United States. Bryant later moved to Texasmarker (Galvestonmarker) and became the first architect in that state, where, joining the Texas Rangers, he was eventually killed and scalped by Apache Indians. Other prominent Bangor architects, many of whose buildings survive in the city and nearby towns, included Calvin Ryder, Benjamin S. Deane, George W. Orff, C. Parker Crowell, and Wilfred E. Mansur. The modern architect Eaton Tarbell has also strongly influenced Bangor's cityscape.

Edward Austin Kent (1854-1912) became a leading architect in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker and three-time president of the American Institute of Architectsmarker. He went down on the Titanicmarker in 1912.

Bangorian Charles Davis Jameson, an engineer who taught at MITmarker, subsequently went to Chinamarker and became Chief Consulting Engineer and Architect to the Imperial Chinese Governmentmarker (1895-1918). He planned important hydraulics projects and witnessed the Boxer Rebellion

Another hydraulic engineer from Bangor, Hiram Francis Mills (1836-1920), headed the Lawrence Experiment Station, which was the first in America to develop a practical method of treating wastewater. Mills' work stopped a typhoid fever epidemic in Massachusetts, and he was subsequently christened "The Father of American Sanitary Engineering".[17835]

Although not strictly an engineer, Bangor lawyer Francis Clergue, born in neighboring Brewermarker oversaw one of the most ambitious engineering projects in North America, the development of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario as a major hydropower and industrial center in the 1890s-1900s. Before that Clergue had organized the Bangor Street Railway (the first electric railway in Maine) and the Bangor Waterworks, and had tried and failed to build a railroad across Persiamarker and a waterworks in its capital, Tehranmarker.

Prominent Chicago architect Ernest Alton Gunsfeld was a draftsman at Dow Fieldmarker in Bangor during the Korean War.


Elliott Carr Cutler (1888-1947), son of a Bangor lumber merchant, became Chairman of the Dept. of Surgery at Harvard Medical Schoolmarker and a pioneer in cardiac surgery, inventing a number of important techniques and publishing over 200 papers. He was elected President of the American Surgical Association, and later became surgeon-in-chief at Brigham Hospital in Boston. During the Second World War he was Chief Surgical Consultant in the European Theatre of Operations with the rank of Brigadier General. Another Bangor-born Harvard Medical Schoolmarker professor, Frederick T. Lord, was a pioneer in the use of serum to treat pneumonia, and was elected President of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery.

Charlotte Blake Brown (1846-1904) of Bangor was a pioneering female physician who co-founded what became Children's Hospital of San Francisco in 1878, with an all-female staff and board of directors. In 1880 she also founded the first nursing school in the American West. Children's Hospital merged with another institution to become California Pacific Medical Center in 1991.


Chief Justice of the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker Melville Weston Fuller (who served 1888-1910) read law in Bangor with his two uncles after graduating from Bowdoin Collegemarker in 1853. He was admitted to the bar in Bangor in 1855. His brother Henry Weld Fuller, who was a Bangor druggist in the 1850s, later moved to Chicago and became President of the American Pharmaceutical Association. One of Fuller's uncles, Bangor attorney George Melville Weston, wrote books and essays opposing slavery, and eventually became the Librarian of the Senate.

Edward Kent Jr., son of Bangor Mayor, Maine Governor, and Maine Supreme Judicial Courtmarker Justice Edward Kent, was appointed by his Harvardmarker classmate Theodore Roosevelt as Chief Justice of the Arizona Territory Supreme Court, 1902-1912. He is noted for a landmark ruling on water rights (the Kent Decree of 1910)

Bangor lawyer John Appleton (1804-1891) was Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Courtmarker from 1862 to 1883. A disciple of Jeremy Bentham, his was the first U.S. court to rule that the accused could testify in criminal trials (1864), an innovation that only became Federal law in 1878.

They married well

Bettina Brown Gorton, the wife of Australian Prime Minister Sir John Gorton (who served 1968-71) was from Bangor and graduated from Bangor High Schoolmarker. She was the only wife of an Australian Prime Minister to have been foreign-born until Annita van Iersel, wife of Paul Keating (who served 1991-96). She became Lady Gorton when her husband was knighted in 1977.

Marie Jennings Reid Parkhurst, a Washingtonmarker socialite and wife of Bangor politician Frederic Hale Parkhurst, who lived for a time on West Broadway, divorced him and married (in 1901) an Italian Prince she had met in Bar Harbor. As Princess Rospigliosi, Reid created headlines through the 1910s as she attempted to have her previous marriage to Protestant Parkhurst annulled by the Pope. Parkhurst eventually became Governor of Maine. Reid's son Girolamo became the 9th Prince Rospigliosi, and caused his own sensation by eloping with American oil heiress Marian Snowden in 1931.

Elizabeth Muzzy of Bangor married William Drew Washburn, U.S. Congressman and Senator from Minnesotamarker, a co-founder of the Pillbury-Washburn Flour Mills, which eventually became the Pillsbury Company. Three of her brothers-in-law were also U.S. Congressmen, including Israel Washburn, who represented Bangor at the time of the Civil War, and Cadwallader Washburn, who founded General Mills, the company which would eventually absorb Pillsbury.

Ella Nye (1851-1931) of Bangor married Alva Adams, the first Governor of Coloradomarker. Their son Alva B. Adams became a U.S. Senator from the same state.

Beer baroness and conservative political donor Holland "Holly" Hanson Coors (1920-2009) was born in Bangor. The ex-wife of Joseph Coors, Coloradomarker brewer and founder of the Heritage Foundation, Holly Coors sat on that organization's board of trustees.


Patrick Duddy of Bangor was the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuelamarker in 2007-2008, before being expelled from the country by President Hugo Chavez in a dispute over an alleged American coup plot.

Other diplomats who were born or lived in Bangor include Robert Newbegin II, U.S. Ambassador to Hondurasmarker (1958) and Haitimarker (1960-61); Charles Stetson Wilson, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgariamarker (1921-28); Romaniamarker (1928), and Yugoslavia (1933); William Pennell Snow, U.S. Ambassador to Burmamarker (1959) and Paraguaymarker (1961-67); Chester E. Norris, U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guineamarker (1988-91); Albert G. Jewett, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Perumarker (1845-47);Gorham Parks, U.S. Consul in Rio de Janeiromarker (1845-49); Wyman Bradbury Seavy Moor, U.S. Consul-General to Canadamarker (1857-61); and Aaron Young, Jr., U.S. Consul in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (1863-73), who was formerly Maine's State Botanist and Secretary of the Bangor Natural History Society. Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln's Vice President and Bangor politician, served as U.S. Ambassador to Spainmarker later in his career.

While former Maine Governor Edward Kent was U.S. Consul in Rio de Janeiromarker 1849-53, he lost two of his three children to yellow fever. His wife died the year they returned to Bangor, and his surviving child soon after.

Bangor politician Elisha Hunt Allen served as U.S. Consul to the Kingdom of Hawaii 1850-56, and then joined the Hawaiian government as Chancellor and Chief Justice 1857-76. In that capacity he accompanied King Kalakaua on his first and only trip to the United States in 1874. Allen returned to Washington as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States, and died on the job during a White Housemarker diplomatic reception in 1883.


Joseph W. Grigg of Bangor was the Chief European Correspondent for United Press International for 25 years. He was the only American reporter in Berlinmarker at both the beginning and end of the Second World War, and one of the first in Warsawmarker after its fall to the Nazis. He was briefly interred in Germany when America entered the war. He was among the first to report on the Nazi murder of Jews in Eastern Europe, and later covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann.

Margherita Arlina Hamm, who spent part of her childhood in Bangor, was a pioneering female journalist who covered the Sino-Japanese War and Spanish-American War for New York newspapers, sometimes from the front lines. She was also a prolific author of popular non-fiction books. A suffragette, she was nonetheless a defender of American imperialism, chairing the pro-war "Woman's Congress of Patriotism and Independence" and writing an heroic biography of Admiral George Dewey .

Ralph W. 'Bud' Leavitt Jr. was a longtime columnist and editor for The Bangor Daily News. Born in Old Town, Mainemarker, Leavitt became a cub reporter at The Bangor Daily Commercial at age 17 in 1934. Following the Second World War, Leavitt signed on with The News, where he filed, during the course of his career, 13,104 columns devoted to the outdoors, and where he served for many years as executive sports editor. Leavitt also hosted two long-running TV shows about the outdoors on Maine television.

Clergymen and missionaries

The Bangor Theological Seminarymarker produced a number of influential ministers, missionaries, and scholars in the 19th century. The seminary's first professor and director, Jehudi Ashmun later led a group of 32 freed slaves to the American Colonization Society's African colony in Liberiamarker in 1822, and is considered one of the founders of that nation. Cyrus Hamlin, who graduated from the seminary in 1837, was the founder and first president of Robert Collegemarker in Istanbul, Turkeymarker, and later president of Middlebury Collegemarker (1880-85) in Vermont. His friend and classmate Elkanah Walker left Bangor in 1838 to become one of the first missionaries (or American settlers) in the Oregon Territorymarker. His son Cyrus Hamlin Walker was the first child born of American settlers west of the Rocky Mountains to live to adulthood.

Seminarian Daniel Dole (1808-78) left Bangor in 1839 to establish one of the earliest Protestant missions in Hawaiimarker, and ended up founding a local dynasty. His son Sanford Dole led the successful coup d'etat against the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, becoming the only President of the Republic of Hawaiimarker and, later, the first American territorial governor. Daniel's nephew James Drummond Dole became the "Pineapple King".

Another seminary graduate, Edwin Pond Parker (1836-1920), became a member of Mark Twain's literary circle in Hartford, Connecticutmarker, and inspired him to write The Prince and the Pauper. Parker himself wrote or arranged over 200 hymns, and was the first Congregational minister in the Northeast to celebrate Christmas. He was also the father-in-law of writer and bohemian Dorothy Parker.

Father John Bapst (1815-1887) a Swissmarker-born member of the Jesuit order, was sent to Old Town, Mainemarker in the late 1840s to minister to the Catholic Penobscot tribe. Soon he was conducting a roving ministry to 33 Maine towns, largely as a result of Irish-Catholic immigration. In 1851 he was embroiled in a religious controversy over grammar school education in Ellsworth, Mainemarker, and was brutalized, robbed, and tarred and feathered by a Protestant mob, inspired by the Know-Nothing Party, which was popular in coastal Maine. He fled to Bangor, where a large Irish-Catholic community was gathering, and where members of the local elite presented him with a new watch, his previous one having been stolen in Ellsworth. Bapst stayed in Bangor until 1859, overseeing the construction of the large brick St. John's Catholic Church in 1855. He left in 1860 to become the first rector of Boston Collegemarker. Later he became superintendent of the Jesuit order in New Yorkmarker and Canadamarker, and died in Baltimore, Marylandmarker. The present John Bapst Memorial High Schoolmarker in Bangor, formerly Catholic but now non-sectarian, is named for him.

Bangor Methodist Minister Benjamin Franklin Tefft became president of Genesee College in New York (the nucleus of the later Syracuse Universitymarker), and, in 1862, U.S. Consul in Stockholmmarker and acting Minister (Ambassador) to Swedenmarker Congregational minister and Bangor Theological Seminarymarker professor John Russell Herrick later became president of Pacific Universitymarker in Oregon (1880-83), and the University of South Dakota (1885-87). Rev. Charles Carroll Everett, pastor of the Bangor Unitarian Church 1859-69, later became a noted philosopher of religion and dean of the Harvard Divinity Schoolmarker.

Bangor-born carpenter Joseph W. Coolidge became an early Mormon church Elder under Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinoismarker, where he also built Smith's House. When Smith was killed by a mob, Coolidge became administrator of his estate. He refused to follow Brigham Young and most of the church to Utahmarker, however, settling instead in Glenwood, Iowamarker. Likewise, Josephine Curtis Woodbury of Bangor was one of the earliest proponents of Christian Science but later published books debunking that religion, and prosecuted a lawsuit against the church's founder, Mary Baker Eddy. Woodbury attempted to establish her own religious sect based on the "immaculate conception" of her illegitimate son, whom she named 'Prince of Peace'.

Rev. Dana W. Bartlett of Bangor moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker in 1896, founded a settlement house (the Bethlehem Institute) and became a major figure in the local progressive and City Beautiful movements. He is an honoree in the California Social Work Hall of Distinction.

Two Bangor-born Episcopal Bishops took pro-active positions on the Civil Rights struggle in the 1950s/60s. Norman Burdett Nash was Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and Gerald Francis Burrill of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Bangor-born Edward C. O'Leary was Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maine in the 1970s-80s.

Spirit mediums

Joseph Osgood Barrett (1823-1898), born in Bangor, was a Universalist minister who became a prominent spiritualist and spirit medium in Illinois and Wisconsin. He was also a lecturer and author of books on spiritualism, and editor of the Chicago-based newspaper The Spiritual Republic. He became known as an advocate of women's rights with the publication of his book Social Freedom; Marriage: As It Is and As It Should Be in 1873.

Civil servants

William Hammatt Davis of Bangor, brother of playwright Owen Davis, served as Chairman of the War Labor Board under Franklin Roosevelt, where his job was keeping industrial peace between management and labor. He was appointed US Economic Stabilizer at the end of the war. He also helped draft the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) of 1935, which gave labor unions the right to organize.

Artemus E. Weatherbee (d. 1995) of Bangor was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1959-70) and thereafter U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank with the rank of Ambassador.

Jay Stone of Bangor was Chief Clerk of the War Department in the 1920s.

Bangor-born Portlandmarker lawyer Ralph Lancaster served as Independent Counsel investigating corruption charges against Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.


Bangor-born Joseph Homan Manley, a protege and close associate of presidential candidate James G. Blaine, was Chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Republican Party in the 1890s, and Maine's "political boss".

Former State Senator from Bangor Marion E. Martin founded what is now the National Federation of Republican Women in 1937 and was Assistant Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Bangor-born Boston lawyer Paul P. Brountas was National Chairman of the Committee to Elect Michael S. Dukakis President of the United States in 1987-88. He was also the Democratic candidate's closest advisor. Brountas had previously been an aide and advisor to presidential hopeful Edmund Muskie.


David Thibodeau, one of only 9 survivors of the Branch Davidian conflagrationmarker in Waco, Texasmarker, is from Bangor. He wrote a book about the experience.

Bangor in popular culture

Books and plays

Bangor or its alter ego Derry are the fictional settings for so many novels and stories by Stephen King that the city has become the capital of Transylmainia, a gothic horror-scape King invented largely by himself (with some help from the 1960s television show Dark Shadows).

Bangor is the home of the protagonist in John Guare's famous play Landscape of the Body. In Henry James' short story A Bundle of Letters, Miranda Hope from Bangor is a tourist in Paris. Billy Barry, the fictional hero in Horace Porter's Young Aeroplane Scouts novel series of 1916-19, is also from Bangor, as is Edward Wozny, the protagonist in Lew Grossman's 2004 novel Codex, and Sir Kevin Dean de Courtney MacNair in Hayford Peirce's time-travel novel Napoleon Disentimed. The character Teresa Bruckham is a horror novelist from Bangor in Lily Strange's novel Lost Beneath the Surface. The character Dr. Benjamin Northcote is Bangor's city coroner, and part of the crime-fighting team in Kathy Lynn Emerson's Diana Spaulding Mystery series.

Bangor is the setting for Christina Baker Kline's 1999 novel Desire Lines. The 1988 novel Pink Chimneys by Ardeana Hamlin Knowles, is set in 19th century Bangor. Owen Davis' Pulitzer Prize winning 1923 play Icebound is set in neighboring Veaziemarker. Bangor is also one location in the 1992 novel Prussian Blue by Tom Hyman.

A "frolicsome night place" in Bangor called "The Sea Hag" figures incidentally in the Tennessee Williams short-story Sabbatha and Solitude. In Rudyard Kipling's and Wolcott Balestier's The Naulahka: A Story of East and West, a family of missionaries in India hails from Bangor (and even has their maple syrup delivered from home).

Henry David Thoreau's The Maine Woods includes this passages describing Bangor: "Like a star at the edge of the night, still hewing the forests of which it is built, already overflowing with the luxuries and refinements of Europe, and sending its vessels to Spain, to England, to the West Indies for its groceries"

In John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, he learns an important lesson in a little restaurant just outside of Bangor.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale begins with the discovery of a footlocker full of cassette tapes in the ruins of what was once Bangor, a prominent way-station on "The Underground Femaleroad" in the dystopic Republic of Gilead.


Robert Lowell's Flying from Bangor to Rio 1957 was written at the poet's summer house in nearby Castine, Mainemarker about the experience of seeing off his friend, the poet Elizabeth Bishop at the Bangor Airport.


Bangor is mentioned in King of the Road, a country song by Roger Miller. The line goes "Third boxcar, midnight train. Destination: Bangor, Maine." Southbound Train by Travis Tritt has a similar reference. This formula — using rhyming Maine and train, and Bangor as an edge destination — first appeared in the popular 1871 song Riding Down From Bangor (or Riding Up From Bangor) by Louis Shreve Osborne. The lyric goes: "Riding down from Bangor in an eastern train, after six weeks of hunting in the woods of Maine". It was recorded in Britainmarker and South Africa, though never in the United States. George Orwell wrote about the song in his 1946 essay Riding Down from Bangor. As a child, he remembered, "my picture of nineteenth-century America was given greater precision by a song which is still fairly well known and which can be found (I think) in the Scottish Student's Song Book." The most recent play on this formula was a song by Garrison Keillor, sung on his radio show Prairie Home Companion on May 3, 2008, which went "Bangor Maine, Bangor Maine; Take a boat or ride the train; Take a slicker, it might rain; In Bangor, Maine"

A fatal accident on the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad between Bangor and Old Town in 1848 is the subject of the earliest known railroad song, Henry Sawyer.

Bangor is named in the North American version of I've Been Everywhere by Lucky Starr. How 'bout them Cowgirls by George Strait includes the line "I've crisscrossed down to Key Biscayne, and Chi-town via Bangor, Maine."

The Rooftops of Bangor by the Minneapolismarker indie group The God Damn Doo Wop Band was inspired by a line in a love letter to member Katie (Kat) Naden.

Old Town native Patty Griffin mentions a "bus that's going to Bangor" in the first line of her autobiographical song Burgundy Shoes from her 2007 Grammy Award-nominated album Children Running Through.

The song Band of Brothers by Dierks Bentley also mentions Bangor. The lyrics go "From the bars of San Diego to thecounty fair way up in Bangor, Maine".

Film and television

Several movie versions of Stephen King's stories have been filmed in and around Bangor. The Langoliers, mentioned above, was set and filmed in part at Bangor International Airportmarker. Pet Cemetery and Graveyard Shift include scenes filmed at Mt.marker Hope Cemeterymarker and The Bangor Water Works. Creepshow 2 includes scenes filmed in Bangor, Brewermarker and nearby Dexter, Mainemarker. In the 1996 film Thinner King himself plays a character named "Dr. Bangor". The 1984 movie Firestarter, based on a King novel, held its world premiere at the Bangor Cinema, with King, Drew Barrymore and Dino de Laurentis in attendance.

The 1946 film The Strange Woman starring Hedy Lamarr, and based on the novel by Ben Ames Williams is set in early 19th century Bangor.

The fictional town of Collinsport, Maine, the setting for 1960s gothic TV soap opera Dark Shadows, was 50 miles from Bangor, according to the script of the first episode. The equally fictional "Bangor Pine Hotel" was a location in two first-season scenes. Likewise, The Dead Zone, a series based on the Stephen King novel, takes place in a suburb of Bangor called Cleaves Mills.

The title character in the 2004 TV movie Celeste in the City was from Bangor.

In 1987 The Late Show with David Letterman conducted an on-air campaign to get Bangor to watch Dave, after discovering he had unusually low ratings there. He even resorted to reading random names from the local phonebook.

The Canadian television series Trailer Park Boys featured a train convention in Bangoron the season 7 episode "Friends of the Road".

Comic books

MODOK, as drawn by Eric Powell
MODOK, the villainous Marvel Comics character, was created from the benign lab technician George Tarleton, a native of Bangor. The GI Joe character Sneak Peak is also from Bangor, along with Crystal Ball's mother. The location of DC Comics second "Dial H for Hero" series is a suburb of Bangor.


A skillful competitor in the sport of birling (log-rolling) has traditionally been known as a Bangor Tiger. This was the name given Penobscot river-drivers in the nineteenth century.


Chocolate (Bangor) Brownies
The earliest documented recipe for chocolate brownies referred to them as Bangor Brownies. Fanny Farmer invented "brownies" in her 1896 cookbook, but these were molasses-flavored, had a nut on top, and were baked in individual pans. The first recipe for what we'd recognize today as chocolate brownies was published in the Boston Daily Globe on 2 April 1905, pg. 34 and read:

BANGOR BROWNIES.Cream 1/2 cup butter, add 2 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 squares of chocolate (melted), 1/2 cup broken walnuts meats, 1/2 cup flour. Spread thin in buttered pans. Bake in moderate oven, and cut before cold.

The 1907 Lowney's Cook Book, published by the Walter Lowney Chocolate Co., contained two chocolate brownie recipes. The one with extra chocolate, and baked in a pan, it also called "Bangor Brownies". The use of the term in printed recipes continued into the 1950s.

The Appledore Cookbook of 1872 included a recipe for "Bangor Cake", repeated in the Woman's Suffragette Cookbook of 1886, and others as late as 1916.

Two varieties of plum, the "Mclaughlin" and the "Penobscot", were first identified in the garden of John Mclaughlin of Bangor in 1846, and publicized the same year in A. J. Downing's The Horticulturalist. The Mclaughlin had become the most prominent American-cultivated plum by the 1850s, surpassing all others in its "rich and luscious flavor" according to the Magazine of Horticulture. Both continue to be grown throughout North America and Europe.


The first ocean-going iron-hulled steamship in the U.S. was named The Bangor. She was built by the Harlan and Hollingsworth firm of Wilmington, Delawaremarker in 1844, and was intended to take passengers between Bangor and Boston. On her second voyage, however, in 1845, she burned to the waterline off Castinemarker. She was rebuilt at Bathmarker, returned briefly to her earlier route, but was soon purchased by the U.S. government for use in the Mexican-American War..

An earlier steamship named Bangor had been built in 1833 for the Boston & Bangor Steamship Co. by Bell & Brown of New York. She was in service till 1842, when she was bought by a Turkish company, renamed the "Sudaver", and used as a ferry in Istanbul (then Constantinople).

A four-masted schooner named The Bangor was also built in Eureka, Californiamarker, in 1891. The City of Bangor was an Eastern Steamship Co. steamer, built 1894 in East Boston, that connected Bangor and Boston on a daily run in the early twentieth century. The Tacoma class frigate USS Bangor (PF-16), launched in 1943, escorted North Atlantic convoys during World War II.


Two businesses listed on the New York Stock Exchangemarker have used 'Bangor' in their names. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, which operated between 1891 and 2003 was founded by local capitalists and originally had its offices in Bangor. In 1964 it merged with the Boston-owned but Cuba-based Punta Alegre Sugar Corp., forming Bangor Punta Alegre Sugar or after 1967 just Bangor Punta. On the advice of BP Director and former president of the B&A Curtis Hutchins, the railroad was sold in 1969, but Bangor Punta, managed by Hungarian-American financier Nicolas Salgo (who also built the Watergate complex in Washington), and with Bangorean Hutchins still on the board, became a classic 1960s conglomerate, accumulating such diverse holdings as the arms-maker Smith and Wesson, Piper Aircraft, and a number of yacht-makers. It was on the Fortune 500 List for most of its existence. Salgo was bought out in 1974 and the corporation dissolved in 1984.

Accidents and natural disasters

The Great Fire of 1911marker was Bangor’s most spectacular catastrophe, but other natural disasters and accidents have occurred there, often with greater loss of life (only two were killed in the Great Fire). The most recurrent problem, besides fire, was the formation of ice dams causing spring floods on the Penobscot River, a situation that's resolved itself with warmer winters. The only destructive flood since the 1930s (in 1976) was caused by a storm at sea. Notable incidents include:

1832: A cholera epidemic in St. John, New Brunswickmarker (part of the Second cholera pandemic) sent as many as 800 poor Irish immigrants walking to Bangor. This was the beginning of Maine's first substantial Irish-Catholic community. Competition with yankees for jobs would cause a riot and resulting fire in 1833.

1846: The “Great Freshet”, or spring flood, was the most destructive of the 19th century, carrying away the Penobscot River covered bridge, two bridges over the Kenduskeag Stream, and inundating a hundred shops and many houses. Its cause was the sudden release of a massive, 4-mile-long ice dam. There were no casualties.

1849-50: The Second cholera pandemic reached Bangor itself, killing 20-30 within the first week.

1854: The schooner Manhattan of Bangor was lost in a gale off New Jerseymarker. There was a single survivor.

1856: A large fire destroyed at least 10 downtown businesses and 8 houses, as well as the sherriff's office.

1856: The brig William H. Safford of Bangor was cut through by ice while anchored in the East Rivermarker at New York, and 8 of 10 aboard drown, including the captain, his wife, and 2 children.

1858: The floor of an auction store in Bangor gave way, sending 200 men, women, and children into the building's cellar. Many were injured but none killed.

1860: The brig Mary Pierce, sailing with lumber from Bangor to New Havenmarker, was lost in a storm off Cape Codmarker with 6 crew and a child. One sailor survived.

1860: The brig H.N. Jenkins of Bangor, bound for Havana, Cubamarker, was demasted in a storm and the captain the 3 crew killed. 2 were rescued by a passing whaler.

1869: The West Market Square fire, from which arose The Phoenix Block (the present Charles Inn)

1869: The Black Island Railroad Bridge north of Old Town, Mainemarker collapsed under the weight of a Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad train, killing 3 crew and injuring 7-8 others.

1869: The schooners Susan Duncan and Susan Hicks of Bangor, both carrying lumber, were lost with all hands in a storm off Cape Codmarker.

1871: A bridge in Hampdenmarker collapsed under the weight of a Maine Central Railroad train approaching Bangor, killing 2 and injuring 50.

1872: Another large downtown fire, on Main St., killed 1 and injured 7. The Adams-Pickering Blockmarker (architect George W. Orff) replaced the burned section.

1872: A smallpox epidemic closed local schools.

1882: A tornado blew the steeple off the Universalist Church, the roof off the County Courthouse, and sent hundreds of chimneys into the street.

1889: Forest fires in surrounding towns enveloped Bangor in smoke.

1892: Another tornado overturned the launch Annie in the Penobscot River drowning 8 passengers.

1895: Another Penobscot flood

1896: The barkentine Thomas J. Stewart of Bangor was lost at sea in a hurricane with all hands (11 men) somewhere between New York and Boston The ship was named after one of Bangor's principle entrepreneurs, the owner of a large fleet of ocean-going vessels.

1898: A Maine Central Railroad train crashed near Oronomarker killing 2 and fatally injuring 4. The president of the railroad and his wife were also on board in a private car, but escaped injury. Train Wrecked in Maine

1898: The steamer Pentagoet of the Manhattan Line was lost in a gale between New York City and Bangor with all 16 hands. In the same storm, two schooners sailing from Bangor to Fall River, Massachusettsmarker loaded with lumber, the William Slater and Oriole were similarly lost with no survivors.

1899: The collapse of a gangway between a train and a waiting ferry at Mount Desertmarker sent 200 members of a Bangor excursion party into the water, drowning 20.

1900: The schooner Ada Herbert sailing from Gloucester, Massachusettsmarker to Bangor was lost with all four crew.

1901: A powerful storm caused the Penobscot to flood, carrying 8,000 logs from Bangor into Penobscot Baymarker, where they menaced shipping.

1902: Another great spring flood, caused by an ice dam, detached the middle section of the Penobscot River railroad bridge from its foundations and sent it crashing through the wooden covered pedestrian bridge down-stream, cutting all connections with Brewermarker.

1903: The Bangor-based schooner Willie L. Newton turned turtle (upside down) in a storm off Connecticutmarker, with loss of all hands (7 men).

1907: The sloop Ruth E. Cummack capsized in Penobscot Baymarker, drowning 6 young men, 5 of them from Bangor.

1908: Forest fires burned in surrounding towns. 1,000 men fought them within a 35-mile radius of Bangor.

1908: Bangor's first automobile accident claimed the life of 10-year-old Freddie O'Conner, who ran in front of a chauffer-driven Pope Hartford which was running down State Street without its lights at dusk.

1911: The Great Fire of 1911marker

1911: A head-on collision of two trains north of Bangor, in Grindstone, killed 15, including 5 members of the Presque Islemarker Brass Band.

1911: In Bangor's first automobile accident fatal to the driver, artist Emma Webb was killed and her two passengers injured in a collision with an electric street-railroad car.

1918: The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which was global in scope, struck over a thousand Bangoreans and killed more than a hundred. This was the worst 'natural disaster' in the city's history.

1923: The Penobscot flooded again.

1928: Tiger-tamer Mabel Stark while performing in the John Robinson Circus in Bangor, was attacked by two of her tigers and severely mauled in front of a large crowd. She survived, and went on to survive 17 more tiger attacks, though none as bad as the one in Bangor.

1936: For the last time, an ice dam on the Penobscot caused serious flooding in Bangor.

1939: A truck carrying dynamite from Bangor through Holden, Mainemarker was blown to bits, killing 6.

1941: First fatal crash of a military aircraft in Maine, when a B-18 Bolo Bomber stationed at Bangor Army Airfield went down in nearby Springfield, Mainemarker, killing all 4 crew. Between 1941 and 1971, there would be 14 additional fatal crashes of military aircraft based in Bangor, 3 within city limits and the rest in small towns or wilderness areas between the north woods and the coast.

1976: A coastal Northeaster, known as The Groundhog Day gale of 1976 caused a surge up the Penobscot River, resulting in a flash flood downtown which covered 200 cars and closed both bridges to Brewer. No one was injured but it caused $2 million in property damage.

1984: The 740 ft. tall WVIImarker TV antenna and 550 ft. tall WABI-TVmarker antenna both collapsed under ice, knocking seven TV and radio stations off the air.

1998: The North American Ice Storm of 1998. Bangor was among a few metropolitan areas in the United States affected by this freakish storm, which was a major natural disaster for Canadamarker. Electricity was knocked out for more than a week in some areas as all trees, utility poles, and other objects were coated with a glistening layer of ice.



West Broadway / Whitney Park


Judson Heights

Bangor Gardens

Little City

Chapin Park (Tree Streets)


Old Capehart


Old Town












East Corinth


  2. Federal Writer's Project, Maine: A Guide Downeast (1937), p. 136
  3. The Ancient Penobscot, or Panawanskek John E. Godfrey, Retrieved June 20, 2008
  4. ; Louis Arthur Norton, Captains Contentious: The Dysfunctional Sons of the Brine (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2009), pp. 81-82
  5. Doris A. Isaacson, ed., Maine: A Guide Down East (Rockland, Me.: Courier-Gazette, Inc., 1970), pp. 163-172
  6. William D. Williamson, History of the State of Maine (Hallowell Me., 1832)
  7. Richard George Wood, A History of Lumbering in Maine, 1820-61 (Orono: University of Maine Press, 1971)
  8. James H. Mundy and Earle G. Shettleworth, The Flight of the Grand Eagle: Charles G. Bryant, Architect and Adventurer (Augusta: Maine Historic Preservation Commission, 1977)
  9. Maureen Elgersman Lee, Black Bangor: African-Americans in a Maine Community, 1880-1950 (University Press of New England, 2005)
  10. Deborah Thompson, Bangor, Maine, 1769-1914: An Architectural History (Orono: University of Maine Press, 1988)
  11. Barnstable Patriot, Oct. 21, 1884, p. 1
  12. William E. Gienapp, The Origins of the Republican Party (Oxford, 1987), p. 89; Republican gatherings had taken place in Wisconsin and Michigan earlier in the year, but Washburn's meeting was the first in the U.S. Capital
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  14. Medal of Honor Recipients Associated with the State of Maine. According to this list, 4 Civil War MOH recipients were born in Bangor, and one each in Brewer (Chamberlain), Old Town, Edinburg, and LaGrange
  15. New York Times, Jan. 8, 1890, p. 1; Ibid, Aug. 30, 1903, p. 3
  16. David Clayton Smith, A History of Lumbering in Maine, 1861-1960 (Orono: University of Maine Press, 1972)
  17. Bangor Daily News, Friday, September 07, 2007
  18. Bangor in Focus: Urban Renewal Retrieved June 29, 2008
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  22. Sperling's Best Places: Bangor Maine, retrieved January 17, 2008
  23. Bangor In Focus: The Bangor House Retrieved June 29, 2008
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  25. Bangor In Focus: Bangor Mental Health Institute Retrieved June 28, 2008
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  28. This list includes William D. Williamson, Edward Kent, Hannibal Hamlin, Harris M. Plaisted, Frederick W. Plaisted, Frederic H. Parkhurst, Robert Haskell, John McKernan, and John Baldacci
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  37. Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Artists and Peter Falk, Who was Who in American Art
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  42. Ralph Sipperly IMDB Page Retrieved June 9, 2008
  43. Tonight the Program's Gonna Be Different, accessed Jan. 28, 2008
  44. Myrna Fahey IMDB Page Accessed June 9, 2008
  45. New York Times obit., Aug. 11, 1909, p. 7: Aug. 13, 1909, p. 7; Deseret News, Jan. 25, 1901, p. 4
  46. Guy Nicolucci IMDB Page Retrieved June 9, 2008
  47. Eric Saindon IMDB Page Retrieved June 9, 2008
  48. Christopher Mills IMDB Page Retrieved June 9, 2008
  49. New York Times, Jan. 8, 1995, Section 8, p. 6; ibid, Aug. 21, 1994, Section 8, p. 4
  50. Thomas W. Goodspeed, "Albion Woodbury Small", The American Journal of Sociology 32:1 (July 1926)
  51. Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science (Taylor & Francis, 2000), p. 25
  52. "Army Officers Promoted", New York Times, Aug. 28, 1898, p. 2
  53. Air Force Link Biographies: Donald Norton Yates Retrieved June 1, 2008
  54. Gorton Carruth, The Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates (Crowell, 1956) p. 223
  55. New York Times, Nov. 18, 1886
  56. Annual Report of the American Institute of the City of New York (1856), p. 178
  57. The American City Magazine, v. 35 (July-Dec. 1926), p. 149
  58. The Testing of Thermal Insulators Retrieved June 9, 2008
  59. Development of Radar SCR-270Arthur L. Vieweger & Albert S. White. Retrieved June 1, 2008
  60. Edward Austin Kent in Buffalo New York, by Bill Parke. Accessed Feb. 5, 2008
  61. Francis Hector Clergue: The Personality Retrieved June 29, 2008
  62. His father was George Chalmers Cutler and his brother, Robert Cutler, was the first U.S. National Security Advisor (see Robert Cutler, No Time for Rest [Boston: Little Brown, 1966], pp. 1-18). For his connection to the Carr family of Bangor see Francis Carr
  63. The obituary of Henry Weld Fuller in New York Times, June 29, 1892, p. 5, mentions that he was married to Sarah R. Ladd of Bangor, the sister of Bangor druggist and U.S. Congressman George W. Ladd
  64. William Twining, Rethinking Evidence: Expository Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 55
  65. New York Times, July 9, 1902; Sept. 7, 1902; Oct. 6, 1902; Mar. 11, 1903; Mar. 22, 1905; May 23, 1905; Sept. 29, 1907; June 18, 1911; Nov. 26, 1911; Jan. 14, 1912; May 24, 1912; July 14, 1912; Sept. 28, 1913
  66. Joe Grigg's WWII Experiences Retrieved 20 January 2008
  67. Wayne Reilly, "What's a Woman to Do?" Bangor Daily News, Mar. 1, 2008
  68. Frederick Freeman, A Plea for Africa (1837), p. 226; American Education Society, American Quarterly Register (1842), pp. 29-30.
  69. Carl Max Kartepeter, The Ottoman Turks: Nomad Kingdom to World Empire (Istanbul, 1991) pp. 229-246
  70. Washington State University Archives: Special Collections: The Walker Library, accessed 25 Jan. 2008
  71. Paul T. Burlin, Imperial Maine and Hawaii: Interpretive Essays in the History of 19th-Century American Expansionism (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006)
  72. Everett Emerson, Mark Twain: A Literary Life, p. 121; Robert Tine, "Introduction", The Prince and the Pauper (NY: Spark Educational Publishing, 2004), p. xvii; Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories, p. 26
  73. John Bapst (Johannes Bapst) Catholic Encyclopedia, Retrieved June 20, 2008
  74. Benjamin Franklin Tefft Obituary. Retrieved February 10, 2008
  75. Joseph Wellington Coolidge Family Groupsheet Retrieved June 9, 2008
  76. Willa Cather, The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science (Lincoln: U. of Nebraska Press, 1993), p. 428)
  77. John B. Buescher, The Other Side of Salvation: Spiritualism and the 19th Century Religious Experience (Boston: Skinner House, 2004)
  78. Obit. New York Times, Jan. 11, 1987
  79. Jeffrey Gray, "Fear of Flying: Robert Lowell and Travel" in Papers on Language and Literature (Winter 2005)
  80. Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksongs (U. of Illinois Press, 2000) pp. 52-53; xxi
  81. George Orwell, "Riding Down From Bangor" in Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays (Harcourt Brace, 1950)
  82. [ The Big Apple (April 11, 2007)]. Retrieved May 20, 2008, gathers on one site various (and conflicting) quotations regarding the origin of the chocolate brownie. The recipe here, however, from the same website (and verified independently through the Google newspaper archive search engine) constitutes the earliest documented example
  83. The last documented newspaper use of the term is in the Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel on Aug. 9, 1952
  84. See The New England Farmer (1857), pp. 321, 357; The Horticulturalist (v. 1), 1846, pp. 195-96
  85. [C.M. Hovey, The Fruits of America v. 2 (Boston: Hovey & Co., 1856), p. 47, reprint of article from Magazine of Horticulture, v. 15, 9. 456]
  86. Edward Mitchell Blanding, "Bangor, Maine", New England Magazine, v. XVI, no. 1 (Mar. 1897), p. 235
  87. Bangor Punta Corporation, Retrieved January 28, 2008
  88. Best description is in John S. Springer, Forest Life and Forest Trees (NY: Harper Bros., 1851) pp. 210-220
  89. Austin Jacobs, A History and Description of New England (Boston, 1859), p. 46; see letter of Samuel Gilman to his wife, Sept. 2, 1849, on-line at Maine Memory Network
  90. New York Times, Apr. 20, 1854, p. 1
  91. New York Times, "The Bangor Fires", July 1, 1856, p. 1
  92. New York Times, Feb. 5, 1856, p. 4
  93. New York Times, Mar. 29, 1858
  94. New York Times, May 9, 1860
  95. Fearful Railroad Accident New York Times, Sept. 2, 1869, p. 1
  96. Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, May 25, 1869
  97. New York Times, Aug. 10, 1871
  98. The Bangor Fire New York Times, Oct. 13, 1872
  99. Storms of Great Severity; A Tornado at BangorNew York Times, Aug, 16, 1882, p. 1
  100. Eight Persons Drown: A Steam Launch Upset by the Wind at BangorNew York Times June 15, 1892, p. 1
  101. Chicago Tribune, Feb. 9, 1895
  102. New York Times, Sept. 26, 1896; Ibid Oct. 14, 1896
  103. New York Times, Nov. 30, 1898
  104. New York Times, Dec. 4, 1898, p. 2
  105. Boston Daily Globe, Sept. 3, 1900
  106. New York Times, Dec. 17, 1901; Ibid Dec. 22, 1901
  107. New York Times, Mar. 21, 1902
  108. New York Times, July 10, 1907
  109. Wayne Reilly, "Bangor's First Auto Fatality Claimed Life of Boy, 10", Bangor Daily News, June 2, 2008
  110. New York Times, July 29, 1911
  111. New York Times, Sept. 4, 19ii
  112. New York Times, Aug. 27, 1939
  113. State of Maine Military Aircraft Crash List. Retrieved February 4, 2008
  114. The Ice Storm of 1998 Retrieved June 20, 2008

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