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Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in the sparsely populated Aroostook Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 9,511 at the 2000 census. The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Islemarker, Northern Maine Community College, Northern Maine Fairgrounds, The Aroostook Centre Mall, and the Northern Maine Regional Airportmarker.


Potatoeing in 1909
Originally known as Fairbanks for its founder Dennis Fairbanks, it was settled in 1828 in land that was unknown to be Canadian or American. The Aroostook War broke out in 1838 because of boundary disputes with Canadamarker, which were resolved in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The township was incorporated from Plantations F, G and H on April 4, 1859 as Presque Isle, the French term for peninsula (presqu'île), as the courses of the Aroostook Rivermarker and Presque Isle Stream form a peninsula here.

The first industry to form in Presque Isle was the lumber industry. However, during the last 30 years of the 19th century, agriculture became important, and the entire county became noted for its production of potatoes. On October 9, 1851, the first Northern Maine Fair exhibition opened. In 1881 the New Brunswick Railroad created the first rail connection in Presque Isle. In 1883, the town of Maysville was annexed. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad arrived in 1895, opening the area for further development. Industries included 2 lumbermills, a gristmill, a wool carding mill, a furniture factory, a carriage factory and a tinware factory. The community became the trade, shipping and tourist center of the Aroostook valley. In 1903, the Aroostook State Normal School was founded, which in 1968 would be renamed the University of Maine at Presque Islemarker. On January 1, 1940, Presque Isle was incorporated as a city.

The Presque Isle Air Force Base, in operation between 1941 and 1961, was a major departure point for U.S. fighter planes during World War II and the Korean War due to its relative close proximity to Europe. The former base is now the Northern Maine Regional Airportmarker and the Skyway Industrial Park. Presque Isle was named an "All American City" in 1966. On August 11, 1978, the Double Eagle II was launched from a Presque Isle field carrying three passengers. It made the first successful transatlantic balloon crossing. In honor of the Double Eagle II, the city holds an annual celebration called The Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. The popular event includes balloon rides, plane tours, amateur photo contests and children’s fair rides. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations, it is held in late August. The field from which the Double Eagle II lifted off now features a memorial model balloon.

Notable residents

Aroostook State Normal School in 1908

Geography and climate

Presque Isle is located at (46.679321, -68.002166) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 77.6 square miles (200.9 km²), of which, 75.8 square miles (196.2 km²) of it is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km²) of it (2.32%) is water. Presque Isle is drained by the Aroostook Rivermarker and Presque Isle Stream.

Presque Isle has a temperate climate typified with long cold winters and short warm summers.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 55 59 74 84 94 95 96 99 90 84 70 57
Norm High °F 21 25 36 48 64 73 77 76 66 53 38 26
Norm Low °F 1 5 16 29 41 50 55 53 45 35 25 9
Rec Low °F -38 -37 -38 -3 16 26 35 29 21 15 -15 -33
Precip inch 2.55 1.68 2.12 2.35 3.44 3.43 3.71 3.94 3.44 3.28 2.77 2.56
Source: [17823]


As of the census of 2000, there were 9,511 people, 3,963 households, and 2,464 families residing in the city. The population density was 125.6 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 4,405 housing units at an average density of 58.2/sq mi (22.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.13% White, 0.36% African American, 2.26% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.65% of the population.

There were 3,963 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,325, and the median income for a family was $37,090. Males had a median income of $27,510 versus $19,785 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,712. About 9.2% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 15.2% of those age 65 or over.


Due to being Aroostook Countymarker's largest city, Presque Isle is the retail center for a large number of both Americanmarker and Canadianmarker towns. The Aroostook Centre Mall became a major shopping center for residents during the 1990s. A Super Wal-Martmarker center also attracts a large number of shoppers. Agriculture remains a top industry of Presque Isle and the surrounding area, with potatoes being the top crop. During the winter months many local businesses rely on the snowmobiling industry as there is a highly regarded trail system connecting far away towns and cities with Presque Isle. Presque Isle is also home to a significant industrial park near the Northern Maine Regional Airportmarker.

Presque Isle typically has a slightly higher unemployment level when compared to the state average.



Presque Isle is home to one of the smallest TV markets as defined by Nielsen market research. It consists of WAGM-TVmarker a CBS affiliate; WAGM-TV2, a Fox affiliate; and WMEM-TV, affiliated with PBS.


Several radio stations have studios located in Presque Isle, including WBPW, WOZI and WQHR, all owned by Citadel Broadcasting and talk radio station WEGPmarker. The city is also home to WUPImarker, the University of Maine Presque Isle's student radio station which broadcasts on 92.1 and Maine Public Broadcasting Network on 106.1.


There are no daily newspapers in Aroostook County. The Star-Herald is published Wednesdays, one of several weekly newspapers published in Aroostook County. Others include Caribou's Aroostook Republican, Madawaska's St. John Valley Times, The Fort Fairfield Journal and Houlton's Pioneer Times.

Sites of interest


External links

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