The Somerset Railroad was completed in 1872. It started out as a dream to link the Maine Coast with Canadian businesses to the north. It ran from the North Woods around Moosehead Lake down to Southern Maine and back again for 56 years.
As early as 1633, entrepreneurs along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine utilized the force of the river to power a sawmill, recognizing the potential of the area's natural power sources, but it was not until the 1890s that technology made widespread electricity a reality -- and even then, consumers had to be urged to use it.
George Henry Preble of Portland, nephew of Edward Preble who was known as the father of the U.S. Navy, temporarily lost his command during the Civil War when he was charged with failing to stop a Confederate ship from getting through the Union blockade at Mobile.