It is a vibrant city
Bangor Maine and its past, present, future are remarkable, showing that it is a vibrant city with a unique past. Henry David Thoreau visited Bangor as he traveled to and from the northern Maine woods. He had relatives living there. It was described in his book “like a star on the edge of night” as he might have viewed the city of Bangor from afar. Please stop by for a visit to these pages, imagine how it looked in years gone by, with people like Thoreau coming to town. How has it changed today? What do you see? You may learn more about this place that you only thought you knew.
Bangor Maine’s past.
Bangor was a booming lumber community in the nineteenth century and it had many sawmills up and down the river with paper mills coming much later. Many lumber barons lived in Bangor in fine homes built by famous designers who were brought in from Boston and cities beyond. Bangor was thriving in those days and had some very wealthy residents who required finer trappings.
The forests then and now
The great resource of the past was the forest. They covered the landscape from Bangor far into the great north woods beyond. Those forests provided Bangor with an economic heyday. They are still there but now waiting for the next big thing. The future will be here soon to produce the replacement for the higher cost of Steel. If you guessed a form of engineered timber composite for modern construction projects, you are on the right track. Soon, a manufacturer will produce Maine’s first cross-laminated timber called CLT in Lincoln, Maine. Paul Bunyan will be smiling once more when this starts up and freight trains will be busy once more hauling railcar after railcar to markets southward and beyond.
Horror writer Stephen King
The King family has brought tourists and local fame our way. He and his wife Tabitha have invested a great deal of their own money in the Bangor area helping to enhance the lives of our community. Some of their contributions have been kept secret. It has had other famous residents like former VP Hannibal Hamlin who served during Lincoln’s 1st term. Bet you did not know that his brother Elijah Hamlin was a founder of Bangor Savings Bank in 1852 which is now Maine’s largest bank. You may notice that the new bank campus is on Hamlin Way.
The Movie below is about Bangor’s past so I’d like you to see it now or later when it is more convenient. I really enjoyed viewing it and I think you would too if you want to be taken back to an earlier Bangor in the nineteenth century. It is called “the Strange Woman” but you be the judge. I believe she was a little strange yet she was a product of her upbringing. She did have a kind heart. She was definitely one of a kind.
Thoreau and Bangor
“There stands the city of Bangor,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in “The Maine Woods,” “50 miles up the Penobscot, at the head of navigation for vessels of the largest class, the principal lumber depot on this continent, with a population of 12,000, “like a star on the edge of night“, still hewing at the forests of which it is built, already overflowing with the luxuries and refinement of Europe, and sending its vessels to Spain, to England, and to the West Indies for its groceries — and yet only a few axemen have gone up river into the howling wilderness which feeds it.
Beautiful actress Hedy Lamarr stars in the Movie “The Strange Woman” which depicts Bangor in 1824 though it was filmed in 1946. Bangor was a lumbering boomtown in 1824 with no police force and a thriving “Devil’s Half Acre”.
Gov John McKernan and Gov John Baldacci grew up here, Sen. Susan Collins lives here, Gov Edward Kent lived here, Gov Frederic Hale Parkhurst and Gov William Durkee Williamson lived here, Gov Frederick William Plaisted was born here and Actress Stephanie Niznik was a graduate of John Bapst H.S., Sen William Cohen grew up in Bangor and became the U.S. Sec. of Defense. In Baseball, Matt Kinney and Brian Butterfield were born here, Matt Stairs lived here, and Dorothea Dix, John B Curtis & Paul Bunyan have roots here.
The Bogaerts Twins were in Bangor in 2010
Zander Bogaerts and his twin brother Jair Bogaerts played here in 2010. They played with the team that represented their home country of Aruba that won the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium. You could even say that Zander got his start in Bangor. The Boston Red Sox signed him soon after. Jair was not as lucky only playing two years Majors but still plays in the Minors. Zander still plays for the Sox as one of their best.
The Luther H. Peirce Statue
This bronze statue above honors river drivers and is also known as “The Last Drive”. It was created by Bangor sculptor Charles Tefft in 1925. Luther H. Peirce was a lumber baron and his decendants donated this memorial in his honor. Photo below is how it once looked in its glory and the gardeners were superb then.
Below, you will see a video of a Flash Mob that was done at the Hannaford Supermarket on Broadway in Bangor. It went viral on the web. And now you will discover the rest of the story about how it came to be so popular online and a local hit. Read on.
The Hannaford Flash Mob video is on this page. It was done on a Spirit Weekend held in 2016. The man in the video with the headphones is roadway actor-singer-teacher-arranger Roosevelt Andre Credit from New York City. The flash mob was organized by the folks at the First United Methodist Church in Bangor as part of the church’s “Spirit Weekend“. The chief organizer, Joyce Mallery, a member of the church. Her husband, John Haskell, is the choir director of the church. This is also the church where Grace Membership was transferred when our church closed. I have another video of the Spirit Weekend from 2016 on my Facebook page and it is on the BangorFirst website. The Spirit Weekend in 2018 I believe is after the time of the Hannaford Flash Mob.
“Roosevelt is an old friend of Joyce’s and her husband and Roosevelt was up in Bangor for a concert with the choir at the First United Methodist Church in September,” she said. “I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have a flash mob?’ It just seemed like a great time of year to do something with our choir. My husband said, ‘if you can get at least 15 people, I’ll do it.’ So, I went to the choir and everybody was all on board.”
In the beginning of the flash mob video, you can see Credit with his headphones and he begins to sing. The first woman to join in happens to be his mother. The members of the choir are scattered throughout the Hannaford’s grocery store, mostly standing in the checkout lines.
Joyce said, “When I talked to Roosevelt about which song to do, he chose, ‘This Little Light of Mine’ because it’s light, lifts the spirit and everyone knows it.”
The flash mob blurred the lines when ordinary shoppers began joining in and singing, as well!
”We had it all orchestrated that each person in the checkout line would sing one line of the song and get out of line,” she said. “After that, it was just a mishmash of people joining in with our choir.”
Mallery didn’t think to film the event, but, a student, Megan Lewis did. When the camera was shut off, Mallery said everyone in store broke out laughing and began to clap.
Mallery didn’t expect the video to go viral, but soon it did. Within the first month that the video was released, it gained nearly 40,000 hits on YouTube.
As for Credit, she said, “Roosevelt has been a singer for a long time, but as far as this video, we just crack up about it. Who would have thought?”
Now if you want to see more of Roosevelt at Bangor First Methodist and hear his strong voice, there is still another performance on the church website at their 2016 and 2018 Spirit Weekends. – Thanks John.
Bangor is a really good place to set down roots
You can invest in a business, retire there or just invest in real estate that is reasonably priced. It is a bit of a secret investment place even with the World Wide Web. It is close to sports and recreation, educational opportunities and emerging entertainment centers. Today, Waterfront Concerts and The American Folk Festival will hopefully continue. They have been bringing great entertainment to the waterfront area. There is now Hollywood Casino just across from the new Cross Center. The B A E (Bangor Arts Emporium) on Exchange St. has added to the local selection of talent and weekly entertainment. Area colleges are numerous and Theaters such as the Penobscot and the Gracie provide some live productions.
The job outlook is very good with a local unemployment rate around 3%. (That was just before the virus hit) Hopefully it will return to that low rate soon. Bangor Savings has a new Headquarters campus near the waterfront and just down the street is the Headquarters of Cross Insurance who insure the red sox and other sports teams. Across town near the Bangor International Airport is the Headquarters of C & L Aerospace which is growing fast. Other employers such as GE Power and Wayfair are nearby. Medical professionals enjoy a robust work climate.
Four local hospitals provide great sources for employment. A new Tissue manufacturer is getting started. The economy is doing better overall with the exception of the retail sector that is adjusting to the effects of online business as well as reduced Canadian shoppers.
This beautiful Italianate home is the Zebulon Smith House