What’s very cool about Maine (other than the weather) involves one of its cities called Eastport, which is the most eastern city in the US. Since the Earth rotates or spins toward the east, the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars all rise in the east and travel west across the sky. So, Eastport is the first place in the US to greet the morning sun and bask in sunshine.
When people think of Maine, many probably think of lobsters. About 90 percent of all lobsters in this country are caught off the coast of Maine. But Mo thinks of blueberries! He loves eating them, especially in blueberry pie. Did you also know that 99 percent of all the blueberries in this country come from Maine?
The state is the only one in the country with a one-syllable name. It’s also the only state that shares a border with one other state, New Hampshire, to the west. On the north and east sides, it borders a country called Canada. On the south side, it touches an ocean. Do you know the name of this ocean?
What really happened
- The first inhabitants probably arrived here around 12,000 years ago. Over the course of this land’s history, Native American tribes such as the Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki and Penobscot lived on the land. Several tribes still exist today, including descendants of the original Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes.
- In the year 1000, about 500 hundred years before Columbus discovered America, Leif Erikson (who was nicknamed Leif the Lucky) and a crew of 30 Viking sailors are believed to have explored the Maine coast and may have tried to establish a settlement here. About 600 years later, British and French colonists established some of the state’s first permanent European settlements.
- From the 1650s until 1820, Maine was part of Massachusetts, which was a British colony.
- Colonists believed the taxes they were paying Britain were too high. So they burned a shipment of British tea in 1774, one year after the famous Boston Tea Party.
- After the American Revolutionary War, which took place between 1775-1783, people living in Maine began a 35-year campaign for statehood. In 1820, it became the 23rd state to join the Union as a free or anti-slavery state.
- After the Revolutionary War, the exact boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick, a British Canadian province, was in dispute. By 1839, war almost broke out. Major General Winfield Scott worked out an agreement between the two sides before anyone was injured in the War of Aroostook.
- About 73,000 men from Maine served as soldiers and sailors during the Civil War (1861-1865). At the time, more than 600,000 people lived in the state.
- In 1904, hundreds of people were sickened by drinking water from the Penobscot River. Nearly 50 people died. Then in 1909, scarlet fever and typhoid fever spread throughout the city of Bangor.
- In 1908, the first women’s basketball game was played between senior and freshman classes at Aroostook State Normal School, which is now called the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
- In 1910, a 58-hour work week was established for women and children. The minimum age that children could work was raised from 14 to 16.
- Dora B. Pinkham was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1922 as the first woman in the legislature.
- In 1947, the Bar Harbor area was ruined by fire, most buildings were lost, and the scenic grounds of Acadia National Park burned almost completely.
Stuff you should know
- Maine is among the ten coldest states in the country. The state’s coldest day was in January 2009, the temperature dropped to -50 degrees Fahrenheit in Big Black River. Brrr!
- About 90 percent of Maine is covered in forests, so trees are among the state’s most important natural resources. Besides trees being used for their wood, can you think of another way trees in Maine are used? Here’s a hint: Pancakes. (Some trees are used for their maple syrup.)
- Maine has a rocky coastline and more than 60 lighthouses.
- The state has over 2,000 islands and 6,000 lakes and ponds. Approximately 15 of these islands that are close to the coastline have a year-round population. The most populated is Vinalhaven, which has more than 1200 residents. It’s about 12 miles off the coast in Penobscot Bay.
- The state has more than 3,000 miles of coastline, actually more than California.
- A person who is from Maine or lives in the state is called a Mainer or Down Easter.
Crazy, funny or just plain weird
- When people say ‘bugs’ in Maine, they’re not talking about small, creepy crawling things. ‘Bugs’ is a nickname for lobsters.
- Mainers only pronounce the letter “r” in words if it comes before a vowel (not a consonant) and isn’t the last letter in a word. For example, the word “car” sounds like “cah”.
- The state has its fair share of ghost and monster stories:
- Kennebunk Inn has at least one (maybe two) ghosts who move glasses and make noise, rumored to be the owner and clerk from around 1799.
- Haunted Hitchhiker on Route 26 in Poland: there is a ghost hitchhiker occasionally spotted on the road, a young lady in a prom or wedding dress. Locals believe she was killed in a 1930s car accident.
- Since the 1880s, people have reported seeing an enormous snake-like creature that lives in the lake in Princeton, which is in Northeastern Maine. Once in a while, the creature slithers ashore. He’s called the Monster of Pocomoonshine Lake or Poco for short.
Tell me more
- About 76,000 moose – the official state animal – roam the state. This is the highest population of moose in the country.
- Strong, Maine was once the Toothpick Capital of the World. It produced seven billion toothpicks a year. However, production stopped in 2003 when floss was introduced as well as cheaper toothpicks from Asia.
- Maine is almost as big as the other five New England States Can you name any of those five states?
- The state is home to many of the top boat builders in the world. In fact, the first ship built by English colonists in the Americas was launched on the Kennebec River in 1607.
Have you ever visited or vacationed in Maine? Do you live there? If you have a unique fact or story about the state that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it! Email it to us along with your first name, age, and the state where you live at: email@example.com – we just may post it to Mo’s social media pages, with credit to you, of course!