Aroostook County in 1900: Railroads

Text by Stephanie Philbrick

Images from Maine Historical Society

These photographs, from a group of glass plates negatives collected by railroad enthusiast Emmons Lancaster, document construction of the Bangor and Aroostook rail lines into northern Aroostook County.

Specifically, the collection centers on the Fish River branch that was built in 1902 and that ran from Ashland through Portage and on up to Fort Kent.

These photographs show the dense forests, rolling hills and rugged terrain that still characterize the landscape of Aroostook County. They offer a view of the region before industrialization, highways and mass communication. Perhaps they portray a moment in time between old and new, between history and modernity.

Agricultural products and tourism are still the foundation of the economy of the region. These images portray the County on the cusp of this new way of life.

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