Every day I remind you that Maine is pretty much the best state in the country. Are you getting tired of it yet? I hope not, because I’m certainly not tired of reminding you! We know that Maine is beautiful, that marrying a Mainer is a good decision and that we have the best hikes, sunsets and waterfalls in the world. But, did you know that Maine was the first to do quite a few things in the country? As a small departure from our opinion lists, here are some straight up facts to share with your friends from away.
1. The first ship built by English colonists was constructed in Maine.
The Pinnace Virgina was built along the Kennebec River in what is now Phippsburg. It was used to return 46 of the last colonists to England in 1608.
2. In 1623, the first sawmill in the US was built in Maine.
The mill was located on the Piscataqua River near York, Maine and actually existed before the town did. The purpose of the mill was to export lumber to England to be turned into warship masts. England's trees were not suitable for this purpose, but the colonists in New England had more than enough to share! In 1634, the first shipment of masts, from white pines, were sent to England.
3. The original patent for the sealed dive-suit came from Maine.
Maine inventor Leonard Norcross patented what is widely accepted as the first practical, sealed dive suit in 1834. The suit had weighted feet and a hard, water-tight helmet. Exhaust air was pushed out the top of the helmet, which allowed divers a full range of motion underwater for the first time.
4. In 2013, Maine was the first state to legalize the purchase prescription drugs from overseas. But...
Last month, they were also the first to deem it illegal. The law allowed Maine residents to purchase prescription drugs from Internet pharmacies in countries the US believed to have drugs of equal or greater regulation. Thanks, Maine pharmacy groups who argued against us saving so much money.
5. Maine was first to give you the zig-zag sewing stitch.
Helen Augusta Blanchard, who patented several inventions relating to sewing machines in 1873 and 1875, was born in Portland. Her creations included the method allowing for the zig-zag stitch, along with patents for the invention of the pencil sharpener and hat sewing machine. While most of her inventing happened outside of Maine, she did return to the state later in life.
6. Maine is home to Togus, the first Veteran hospital in the country.
Togus was founded in 1866 and the first veteran was admitted to on November 10 of the same year. The veteran population of the home was under 400 until a building program began in 1868 which created housing for 3,000 veterans.
7. We were the first to begin think about the snowmobile.
While over-snow travel was something that many people tried to perfect, one of the first versions was created by OC Johnson, who came out of Waterville. A few years after his creation, someone else actually gave it the "snowmobile" name. Maine's history with the machine goes further with Polaris using many areas in the hilly areas in Northern Maine as testing grounds. So, we can proudly say that many of the advancements in snow travel happened FIRST in Maine!
8. York was the first city chartered city in the USA.
The charter took place in 1641. In 1642, it became the country’s first incorporated city.
9. The inventor of the Maxim gun first called Maine his home.
The world's first portable, fully automatic macine gun was invented by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1884. Though he filed the actual patent in England, Stevens was a Maine native who lived in the state until his 40s. He also held patents on devices such as the mousetrap, hair-curling irons, and steam pumps.
10. Maine is first to see the sunrise.
But, just where that happens in a hotly contested debate in Maine. There are three places that claim have the first view - Lubec, Mars Hill and Cadillac Mountain in Acadia. It seems that just where you see the sunrise first depends on the time of year. From late March to mid-September, you'll want to head to Mars Hill for first light. But, from mid-September through the first week of October you should head to Quoddy Head. If you want to work for your view and see it from Cadillac Mountain you have some more time. Be there between mid-October and early March and you'll be greeted by America's first light.
Did we leave anything off the list that should be there? Let us know in the comments of our