Maine has one of the richest histories of all the states in the USA. From colonial settlers making their way North, to great destructive fires, we’ve just about seen it all. Take a trip down memory lane by looking through this collection of photographs, vintage postcards and drawings and see if you recognize anything that still stands today. It’s hard to believe that this is what Maine looked like 100 years ago!
1. The great fire of 1911 in Bangor (1911)
On April 30th, 1911, a fire began on Broad Street in downtown Bangor. High winds caused it to spread to Exchange Street and the Universalist Church on Center Street in just a few hours. It soon traveled to the residential neighborhood on Center Street Hill. The fire was so huge that the glow could be seen as far away as Belfast.
2. Limerick Academy in Limerick (1915)
The Limerick Academy served as a school from 1881 to 1925. Today, it is owned by the Limerick Historical Society and is accessible to the public for an annual open house featuring special exhibits. You can also make an appointment to stop in and see what's on display.
3. Lover's Rock in Wilton (1905)
You might expect more affection in a photograph taken at Lover's Rock, but it's so neat to know that these women probably loved Maine as much as we do. Wilton was known as a mill town back when this photo was taken.
4. Mars Hill from a distance (1915)
Mars Hill is located in Aroostook County near the border of New Brunswick, Canada. Fun Fact: the town is named for Hezekiah Mars, who camped for three years at the base of Mars Hill Mountain. The first industry here was cutting timber.
5. Whaleback Lighthouse in Kittery (circa 1950)
While not exactly a photograph from 100 years ago, this old one of the lighthouse that stands at the mouth of the Piscataqua River between New Castle, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine is pretty great. A light has been active at this location since 1820; the present tower was built in 1872.
6. Main Street in ghost town, Flagstaff (1915)
It's hard to tell if Flagstaff would still look like this today. The town was abandoned and dismantled in 1950 for the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Dead River. This enlarged Flagstaff Lake and submerged the site of the settlement.
7. A birds-eye-view of Lewiston (1915)
This colorful postcard from around 1915 shows Bates Mill and the Canal.
8. Painters at Fish Beach on Monhegan Island (circa 1940)
In this photo, American artist Sears Gallagher (left) paints Frank Pierce.
Sears Gallagher was known for his art work in multiple media: drawing, etching, watercolor and oil painting. His work consists of landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes depicting his native Boston and northern New England, especially Monhegan Island, Maine.
9. Downtown Portland (1857)
While certainly more than 100 years old and definitely not a photograph, this image of Congress and Free Streets in Portland is incredible. No Starbucks back then!
10. Camp Russell near Moosehead Lake (1888)
It's hard to imagine camping in a suit, but these guys make it look manageable, if not easy!
"John Dunn and his party of hunters built Camp Russell, an outpost at Russell Pond at the base of Russell Mountain, some fifteen miles north of Northeast Cove on Moosehead Lake, Maine. Dunn and his hunters likely took a steamship to the north end of Moosehead Lake, and traveled by packhorse for another day to reach their remote camp." Credit: Maine Historical Society
11. The The Williamson House in Belfast (circa 1920)
Known today as The Williamson House, this Greek Revival mansion from Belfast's shipbuilding era is now a Museum in the Streets Landmark.
12. Hard work at Pink Granite Quarry in Vinalhaven (1936)
Vinalhaven is known historically for its quarries, which is where this photo is from. Once filled, the entire truck bed full of stone would be lifted off the truck and hoisted out. Today, a hike through the Basin Preserve will reveal the unmistakable clean line remnants of granite quarry work.
13. A stone manufactory in Vinalhaven (circa 1880)
This is another from Vinalhaven's granite history. It's nice to see that Mainers knew the importance of showing up to work dressed for success.
14. A smooth ride in a Maxwell (1911)
This Maxwell was probably a huge source of pride for this Maine woman.
15. Post Office in Portland (circa 1905)
This historical postcard depicts the post office, facing North on Exchange Street.
16. Longfellow Square in Portland (1906)
Named for the American poet of the same name, this is what Longfellow Square looked like in 1906. Just as lovely as it is today.
17. A calm Sebago Lake (1915)
The best thing about this photo is thinking of how those trees have grown. I wonder how big they are today!
18. Factories of Lewiston (1910)
Looks like a cold and dreary workday day in Lewiston, Maine.
Have you been to any of the places depicted here? Have any old photos you’d like to share? You can always submit them to us via
email or the Only in Maine Facebook page.