One of the Eastern Steamship Company sister ships, the Belfast or Camden, is shown passing under the Waldo-Hancock Bridge on its Bangor to Boston route on the bridge's opening day in November 1931.
Boston-Bangor steamboat service began in 1823. The Eastern Steamship line, consolidating a number of Maine lines, took over the service in 1901, with passengers and freight and later adding automobiles.
In 1935 it advertised a special $5 rate to transport an automobile and driver from Bangor to Boston; the passenger fare was $5.80. Promotional literature promised "unforgettable glories...of mountain, meadow and river hamlets," stops at "ports beloved of seafaring New England," and views of "glimmering islands."
The Waldo-Hancock Bridge was quite a striking sight, too. Bridge designer David B. Steinman of New York described the trusses as "a new artistic type emphasizing horizontal and vertical lines" that were compatible with the "rigor of the natural rocky setting, the stern lines of adjacent Fort Knox, and the background colonial architecture in the adjacent towns."
The bridge allowed motorists to bypass Bangor on their trip east. Vehicles were charged a $.35 toll each way, and it remained a toll bridge until 1952.
Belfast and Camden made their last trips in 1935. They were no match for the automobile.
The Waldo-Hancock Bridge was replaced by the Penobscot Narrows Bridge in 2006.
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