Along the Penobscot: Frankfort
Did you know that the small town of Frankfort is the oldest town on the Penobscot River? In this stop along the Penobscot, we’re delving into the history of the small town of Frankfort.
As the French and Indian war came to an end, more settlers moved into the Penobscot River Valley. In the 1774, a group of Massachusetts soldiers from nearby Fort Pownall, led by Lt. Joshua Treat, settled the town of Frankfort. The location of the town was strategic – Verona Island blocked any approach up the river, and the water below the town never freezes, allowing a bustling trade and shipping market to continue throughout the winter months.
With just over 1,000 residents, Frankfort as we know it is much smaller than the original town. Throughout the years, the towns of Winterport, Stockton Springs and Prospect, slowly broke off and formed their own towns.
While the town has been known for shipbuilding, lumbering, and agriculture, it is probably best known for its gray and white granite – some of which can be found just up the river inside the walls of Fort Knox. In 1836, quarrying operations begin on Mosquito Mountain, later moving to Mount Waldo where the granite was better quality.
Teams of oxen brought the stones down the mountains to the wharf (now the town boat landing on Route 1A), and the stones were shipped by water all over the country. You can find granite from Frankfort in the Washington Monument, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Senate Office Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and, most famously (at least to us Mainers), the base of the Paul Bunyan Statue in Bangor.
Quarry operations ended in 1965, but in 1989, the town acquired the quarry and land from the State of Maine and the town puts money from the sale of loose granite toward its recreation fund.
Stay tuned for future PRCC blog posts about our other communities.