Click on the sections below to read about Bangor's history.

How Bangor Got Her Name

By Richard R. Shaw

San Francisco, Chicago, New York. Many cities have inspired songs, but to Bangor, Maine, goes the possible distinction of being the only town in the nation - or the world - named for a song...more

The Founding of Bangor

By Richard R. Shaw

What kind of a man would venture into Indian country, claim a piece of land for himself, build a log cabin, and raise his family there? Rough-hewn characters like Jacob Buswell were not uncommon in 18th century New England, where families grew restless and traveled into the District of Maine in search of better lives....more

Area Museums Provide Modern Look at Bangor's Past

Debra Bell - Special Sections Writer

Bangor's 175th anniversary is the perfect time to reconnect and learn a little about the Queen City's immense and diverse history. And three Bangor museums have a vast amount of history on display...more

Growth of Bangor and its industries, notably lumber

By Richard R. Shaw

Since the first sawmill was opened in Bangor in 1772, the handwriting was on the wall that the town settled in 1769 as Conduskeag Plantation one day would go places. But Jacob Buswell, Jacob Dennet, and other early settlers could not have imagined that by 1834, the year Bangor gained its city charter, it would be the Lumber Capital of the World.

In the mid 1830s more than 300 sawmills lined the Penobscot River in Bangor. There was more than sawdust in the air. Land speculators meeting at the Penobscot Hotel on Exchange Street made and lost fortunes in a single day, earning Bangor a reputation as having two classes of people: the immigrant families, and others, who labored hard to build the city; and millionaire lumber lions such as Sam Veazie and Rufus Dwinal, who prospered after the pine and spruce was driven down the river and sent by ships to faraway ports.

Shipbuilding, ice, sail-making, and other river-related industries did a brisk business in the Bangor region. Iron was being forged at Hinckley and Egery Co. on Oak Street, steamship service to Boston began in 1834, the Bangor House opened that year, and in 1836, the state's first railroad, the Bangor & Piscataquis Railroad Co., began service...more

Bangor's Buildings Tell Their Own Story

You can tell a lot about a city from its buildings. You can tell who owned them by their names, their year of construction by any marked cornerstones, and the purpose of a building by the marquis hanging outside. But thereÕs more to a building than just mortar, wood, and brick. There's always a story and a time period.

No buildings remain in their original forms. It is believed that the first residential home that remains standing in Bangor is at 30 Kenduskeag Avenue. According to Deborah Thompson's book - Bangor, Maine 1769-1914: An Architectural History - the first settlers likely built log houses and the first home was probably built near the junction of York and Boyd Streets by Jacob Buswell in 1769. The second oldest house, Tolman notes, is the Peter Edes House at 23 Ohio Street and dates to 1815. Edes was the first newspaper publisher in Bangor.more

Urban Renewal Sparked Controversy

By Debra Bell - Special Sections Writer

Ask any Bangorean old enough to remember the urban renewal program of the 1960's, and you'll probably get a sign and a story of how things "used to be." To say that urban renewal - a program sweeping downtown districts across the nation - was highly controversial would be an understatement....more

Bangoreans loved the artistic life

By Debra Bell - Special Sections Writer

Bangoreans loved their musical groups and societies. Music societies sprang up throughout the city to celebrate composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Schumann, and Mendelssohn. One of Bangor's earliest musical associations was the Bangor Musical Association formed in 1847 to promote the science of music for the city and its members. One year later, the Penobscot Musical Association was founded in October. The Bangor Conservatory of Music was incorporated on February 18, 1868.

In 1897, the Maine Music Festival was started to delight Bangoreans and performances were held at Maplewood Park - now known as Bass Park.

In 1929, the Northern Conservatory of Music was formed and called the Isaac Farrar Mansion became its home. In 1972, the NCM closed due to financial constraints...more

A long and lively history of sports in Bangor

By David M. Fitzpatrick - Special Sections Writer

In Bangor's early days, river drivers working the Penobscot River engaged in an entertaining sport: log-rolling...more

Basketball tournaments are a major part of Bangor's history

By Brian Swartz - Special Sections Editor

After more than 50 years, the Eastern Maine Basketball Tournament remains synonymous with the Bangor Auditorium, a.k.a. “The Mecca.” more

So You Think You Know Bangor?

Take a look at some of the fun and interesting facts about Bangor...more

Historic Sketches of Bangor

Bangor Fair Opens (1849) - The Bangor State Fair can trace its roots back 160 years, when farmers and gardeners began exhibiting prize-winning flowers and vegetables in a downtown hall during late summer. In 1868....more

Famous Faces of Bangor

View some of the many famous faces of Bangor...more

In 1994, Merrill Bank purchased the nearly abandoned building at 183 Main St., and started a $2 million renovation and restoration project that now houses the Merrill Financial Center. Built in 1888 , the building was once the vestry for the adjacent Unitarian Church. Through the years it has housed a dancing school, Acadia Repertory Theater and the Penobscot Theatre Company. In accordance with the Bangor Historical Society's wishes, the exterior of the building retained it's Victorian Era appearance and the inside door moldings of the new offices were exact replicas of the originals, so that they would blend with the older parts of the building. In 2007, Merrill Bank was awarded the Historic Preservation Honor Award by Maine Preservation for the rehabilitation of this downtown landmark.