First electric railroad car in Bangor, 1889

Contributed by Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum

First electric railroad car in Bangor, 1889

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The first electric railroad -- or trolley -- began operating in Bangor in 1889. John Martin (1823-1904), an accountant and shopkeeper, first saw the electric railroad in operation on July 4, 1889 and drew this illustration of it.

Martin was working at Katahdin Iron Works near Brownville when the trolley began operating early in the year, and wrote, "when I was in Bangor July the 4th I had the pleasure of seeing the 4 cars which was run on that day I was told from day break until 12 midnight of the sights I have seen I count this as one of the finest, to see a car literally packed as they were all day & evening chiefly by strangers riding for fun and sake of saying they had – had a ride in a car propeled by no visible power."

His description and the illustration are on page 28 of a scrapbook he wrote in 1888-1889. He went on to describe how the trolley operated.

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About This Item

  • Title: First electric railroad car in Bangor, 1889
  • Creator: Martin, John
  • Creation Date: 1889
  • Subject Date: 1889-07-04
  • Town: Bangor
  • County: Penobscot
  • State: ME
  • Media: Ink and watercolor on paper
  • Local Code: Coll. 1972; 1997.16.3
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum
489 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101
207-774-1822 x230

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