Bangor ME

Bangor ME welcomes you to visit and enjoy our city and all it has to offer. Normally, summertime in this small New England city delights with many activities. As part of the Maine 200th Anniversary Celebration, the Tall Ships were planning to come to Bangor and Brewer. The Virus rained on our parade this year! It also stopped the fireworks on the 4th, our numerous waterfront concerts and the Bangor state fair among other things. The American Folk Festival would likely have been cancelled due to the virus if it had not already been sidelined by the organizers. Everyone hopes that most of these things can return next year. This year, you can still enjoy the river walkway, downtown and the many points of interest around town. We’ll have to wait until next year to celebrate the state milestone. One of those Tall Ships was going to be the “Maiden” which was made famous by Tracy Edwards and the all female crew that sailed this same tall ship around the world for the record books. Certainly it would have been a great celebration so next year it is.

Bangor ME is historical and robust and it needs more room to tell a much longer narrative. This city on the Penobscot River is chock full of past history but not promoted nearly enough in my opinion. It could be more of a tourist destination if done up better. There are more pictures and subjects here on these pages that point out some of these many things. Here is a major historical story from the past American Revolution that you may not remember hearing about. I know I do not recall reading about this event in my history books. How about you? Read on.

Bangor’s Downtown
Bangor Waterfront Walkway

In early Spring 2020, Darlings Waterfront Venue area is under construction in addition to the digging farther down the waterfront on the sewer system. There was a design presented two years ago to the city administration but it may look different now.

The Penobscot Expedition

Before Peal Harbor, this had been the worst Naval Disaster for over 162 years. In the year 1779, there was a War going on. The military phase of the revolution, the American Revolutionary War, lasted from 1775 to 1783. Then the War of 1812 was right after that. In 1812, Bangor and Hampden were actually controlled by British troops. Maine was then part of Massachusetts until 1820 when Maine became a separate State and was involved in both wars. In the Revolution, Britain had set up bases on the Maine coast as Canada was just across the Penobscot River from Bangor in those days. The Brits were trying to secure the border between Massachusetts and Canada.

USS Maine Memorial, Davenport Park, Bangor

Colorized U.S.S. Maine | Battleship Maine "
USS Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor Cuba on Feb 15, 1898 though by unknown causes.

Penobscot Expedition cont. Then the Massachusetts Government in 1779 sent 42 ships to try to drive the British away. At the time, they thought it would be an easy job. The Brits controlled Canada at that time. The French also controlled some parts of the area in question. Massachusetts sent Gen. Solomon Lowell, Capt. Dudley Saltonstall and Lt. Col. Paul Revere along with the ships to make sure nothing would or could go wrong. However, after a series of mistakes along with delays in judgement coupled with the addition of more British ships, the Americans found themselves in real trouble.

Our American ships, after battles in the mouth of the river near Castine, ended up being defeated and then the ships and their crew who were still alive were chased up the Penobscot River. Some of the vessels were destroyed and others were burned by our own soldiers and sailors so that the ships would not fall into enemy hands. Then the men headed back over land and homeward. They were ashamed and not a hero. It had been an utter failure and Massachusetts officials were very upset. There were court cases and possible jail for some of the officers involved. Paul Revere nearly escaped being a prisoner in the city of Boston. Imagine that. He may not have been such a hero today in that poem about the midnight ride of Paul Revere written by Henry David Longfellow years later. It is no wonder the events were buried and not featured in our history books. It was nothing to be proud of.

The Bangor House in Bangor ME holds lots of history. A small room could be set aside to promote its history and the seniors there today would like that, I’m sure.

Modeled after the Tremont House in Boston and designed by Charles Bryant, the Bangor House was one of the nation’s great palace hotels for more than 100 years.
Guests at Bangor House included Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Howard Taft, Arthur McKinley and Benjamin Harrison. Also, entertainers and sports figures Jack Benny, John Phillip Sousa, Gene Autry, Rudy Vallee, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Duke Ellington, Ben Ames Williams, Tommy Dorsey, Daniel Webster, Stephen A Douglas, Oscar Wilde and Ted Williams have all spent nights at the house.

Penobscot Expedition cont. Bangor still has some ship debris on the floor of our Penobscot River between the bridges and there must be more wreckage further down the river. The Navy has done a lot of research over the years and some artifacts have been brought up. Some old cannons have been recovered and one or more are in the Bangor area. Some are still below water as well as other ship parts. The whole area seems to be protected from being disturbed. It is anyone’s guess what relics are still down there. A lot of history to be sure.

The Penobscot Expedition during the American Revolution was the worst naval disaster in American history until Pearl Harbor. That a huge force of men, ships and guns failed to take a small British fort in Maine has been largely forgotten.

Bangor Public Library

Read about the Chewing Gum Guy below. How it was first made here.

John B. Curtis – Wikipedia › wiki › John_B._Curtis
John Bacon Curtis (October 10, 1827 – June 13, 1897) was an American businessman from … Curtis’s father attended to the making of the chewing gum product while Curtis travelled to sell it. His father had his men pick the gum from the trees.Born‎: ‎October 10, 1827; ‎Hampden, MaineResting place‎: ‎Portland, MaineDied‎: ‎June 13, 1897 (aged 69)Parent(s)‎: ‎John Curtis; Mary B. Bacon

Issac Farrar Mansion designed by Richard Upjohn

Historically, The “Bangor Brownie” was also on the scene a bit later.

By 1907 the brownie was well established in a recognizable form, appearing in Lowney’s Cook Book by Maria Willet Howard (published by Walter M. Lowney Company, Boston) as an adaptation of the Boston Cooking School recipe for a “Bangor Brownie”. It added an extra egg and an additional square of chocolate, creating a richer, fudgier dessert. The name “Bangor Brownie” appears to have been derived from the town of Bangor, Maine, which an apocryphal story states was the hometown of a housewife who created the original brownie recipe.[4] Maine food educator and columnist Mildred Brown Schrumpf was the main proponent of the theory that brownies were invented in Bangor. She also liked the recipe for Needhams below. While The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007) refuted Schrumpf’s premise that “Bangor housewives” had created the brownie, citing the publication of a brownie recipe in a 1905 Fannie Farmer cookbook,[9] in its second edition, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2013) said it had discovered evidence to support Schrumpf’s claim, in the form of several 1904 cookbooks that included a recipe for “Bangor Brownies”.

Some “Bangor Brownie Recipes” below.

1904Home Cookery
Laconia, NH
Recipe submitted by E. P. Quniby Brownies (p 132)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 squares chocolate
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cups chopped nuts
a little salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
“cut into bars”
  1904Service Club Cook Book
Chicago, IL
 Bangor Brownies (p 68)
 ½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 squares Baker’s Chocolate
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup chopped walnuts nuts
“Spread on baking tins”

 1905Boston Daily Globe*
Boston, MA
 Bangor Brownies (p 34)
½ cup butter
 1 cup sugar
2 squares chocolate
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup broken walnuts meats
“Spread thin in buttered pans”
“Cut before cold”

Needham Recipe

¾ cup boiled and mashed potatoes (no seasoning
or milk)

4 cups powdered sugar

4 cups shredded coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

4 squares baking chocolate

1. Mix mashed potatoes and powdered sugar. Stir
in coconut, vanilla and salt, and blend well.

2. Press into a buttered pan so that the candy
is about ½ inch in depth.

3. Melt chocolate over warm, but not hot,
water. (Too hot water causes melted chocolate to have white streaks
when it hardens.)

4. Slice mixture into squares and dip each
square with a fork into the chocolate, letting each square cool on
wax paper. Or pour chocolate over candy, then cool and cut in
squares. Serve.

Almost forgot to salute the Bangor Troop Greeters!

The Bangor Troop Greeters thanked a lot of soldiers at the Bangor International Airport, BIA, who were coming and going from the war zones in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now there is a Troop Greeters Museum at the airport too. The greeters knew it was very important to honor the US Veterans coming home. Some of us remember how the Vietnam Era Vets were not kindly greeted in the 1970’s. No one should ever forget these veteran heroes so they have spent many hours over the years greeting the military servicemen at BIA airport. There is a video of their great work which you may already have seen.

Having spent over 8 1/2 years in Iraq as a military contractor, I can appreciate how hard our soldiers worked and took chances and sacrificed for America and our freedom. As a logistics coordinator over there, I got to work on many of the convoys for soldiers and marines. I was always struck by the sight of soldiers and marines huddled in prayer before they left in their convoys to go out on the unsafe roads between bases. The IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) were bad as well as the rocket attacks and small arms fire out there were a threat. I traveled in many of these convoys myself and it was unsafe and dangerous. I once saw the truck just ahead burst into flames. Yes, the military saw a lot of things and I got to see close up as a contractor and I was lucky to come home safely.

Bangor is the first stop on many of their returns home from the war front so it is all that more significant. The troops appreciate what the greeters have done and now there is even a special place of honor now inside the Airport. It is a great new museum to check out in Bangor.

Visit the Museum It is called Maine Troop Greeters Museum

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Maine Troop Greeters Museum have huge war display of coins and medals from the many different units.

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There was even a movie made about the troop greeters called “The Way We Get By”

Watch The Way We Get By | Prime Video