In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Aroostook County Railroads

This Exhibit Contains 12 Items
1
Square Lake, Limestone Point, finding fossils

Square Lake, Limestone Point, finding fossils

Item 9577 info
Maine Historical Society

Along with increased commercial opportunity, the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad brought reliable mail service to the region.

Earlier, the mail had come from St. John or Fredericton, New Brunswick. Later it made the long trip up the Military Road from Bangor.


2
Eagle Lake Station and mills

Eagle Lake Station and mills

Item 5421 info
Maine Historical Society

Prior to B and A service, Canadian lines served Houlton, Fort Fairfield and some smaller communities.

People wanted local service, however, and dreams of an economic bull market were what prompted local citizens to support the public bonds needed to finance the railroad.


3
 John Burton with weeding spade, ca. 1900

John Burton with weeding spade, ca. 1900

Item 9579 info
Maine Historical Society

John Burton with a weeding spade along the tracks of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, ca. 1890-1910


4
Houlton from Pierce's Hill

Houlton from Pierce's Hill

Item 5419 info
Maine Historical Society

Plans for the Great Northern paper mill at Millinocket had begun in 1898 and promoters promised that tourists would flock to the region:

"The proposed Fish River extension of the B and A from Ashland to Fort Kent will, when completed, bring this worldly rich sporting region into closest touch with anglers and hunters."


5
St. John River at Van Buren, ca. 1900

St. John River at Van Buren, ca. 1900

Item 9585 info
Maine Historical Society

Though this glass plate negative is marked "St. Croix River" it is really the St. John River at Van Buren.


6
View from Haystack Mountains, ca. 1900

View from Haystack Mountains, ca. 1900

Item 9584 info
Maine Historical Society

When the B and A seemed reluctant to complete some of the smaller branches, citizens moved to create branch lines of their own.

The Fish River Railroad Company began plans in August 1901.

B and A officials quickly sprang into action and by 1902 the line from Ashland to Fort Kent was complete.


7
Farm near Madawaska Bridge, ca. 1900

Farm near Madawaska Bridge, ca. 1900

Item 9578 info
Maine Historical Society

Immigrant Italian workers who spoke only Italian did much of the construction labor.

Because there were no interpreters, the company devised a number system whereby each Italian employee was assigned a number.

They each received a brass disc with their number and were required to present it to be paid.


8
Lunching by Squapan Lake, ca. 1900

Lunching by Squapan Lake, ca. 1900

Item 9580 info
Maine Historical Society

Canadian rail offered some service to Bangor and points south, but the major route connecting The County to the rest of Maine was the Military Road.

As the United States'
interest in the northern border increased in the 1820s, military troops were stationed at Houlton.




9
Winterville, view at shore, ca. 1900

Winterville, view at shore, ca. 1900

Item 9581 info
Maine Historical Society

Needing a way to move troops and supplies into the area, the Army constructed a road to Lincoln. It opened a direct route to Bangor and changed they way people traveled around the region.

Prior to that, people used rivers, logging roads and local routes for transportation.

The Military road remained the primary route of travel until the Canadian railroad lines were installed in the 1870s.


10
Wharf at Mud Cut, ca. 1902

Wharf at Mud Cut, ca. 1902

Item 9582 info
Maine Historical Society

Wharf at Mud Cut built by Spelnian after the Washout, Dec. 15, 1901.


11
Houlton Round House Ruins, Feb. 19, 1903

Houlton Round House Ruins, Feb. 19, 1903

Item 11662 info
Maine Historical Society

While economic opportunity prompted citizens to support the line, the railroad also made for a quicker and stronger connection to the rest of Maine.


12
Fish River, Fort Kent, ca. 1900

Fish River, Fort Kent, ca. 1900

Item 9583 info
Maine Historical Society

Text by Stephanie Philbrick

Images from Maine Historical Society

Sources:
Angier, Jerry and Herb Cleeves. Bangor and Aroostook. Littleton, MA: Flying Yankee Enterprises, 1986.

Johnson, Ron. Bangor and Aroostook Railroad: From Potatoes to Pulp and Paper. Portland, ME: Printed by Portland Litho, 1983.


This Exhibit Contains 12 Items