Along the Penobscot: Bangor
Here at the PRCC, we love learning more about the towns and cities that dot the shores of our beloved river, and our next stop is the largest city on along its shores – Bangor. Once a hub of Maine’s logging industry, Bangor was known as the lumber capital of the world and was one of the busiest ports along the east coast.
The town has known a few names over the years including Kendeskeag Plantation and Sunbury. When the town was incorporated in 1791, pastor Seth Noble decided to officially name the town Bangor after his favorite Irish hymn.
Starting around 1820, the Penobscot River was heavily used for logging. The cold winter and snow allowed logs to be dragged from the woods to the river and teams of men would use the power of the snowmelt to drive the logs down river to Bangor’s sawmills. From there the logs could be shipped around the world. By 1860 Bangor was the worlds largest lumber port with 150 sawmills in operation which shipped over 150 million board feed of lumber per year!
The remnants of the city’s rich logging history can be found all around. Many lumber barons built elaborate Greek Revival and Victorian houses that still stand in the city’s historic district. The beautiful houses earned the city the nickname “The Queen City of the East.”
While the logging industry has moved out of the city, Bangor remains a commercial and social hub for the state.