Bangor Maine 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.
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.
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 holds lots of history.
|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
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › John_B._CurtisJohn 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. 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, 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.
Recipe submitted by E. P. Quniby Brownies (p 132)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 squares chocolate
½ cup flour
½ cups chopped nuts
a little salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
“cut into bars”
1904Service Club Cook Book
Bangor Brownies (p 68)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 squares Baker’s Chocolate
½ cup flour
½ cup chopped walnuts nuts
“Spread on baking tins”
1905Boston Daily Globe*
¾ cup boiled and mashed potatoes (no seasoning
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