3 Things That Make Bangor Famous
Paul Bunyan – Local Legend
One of the most popular stops for visitors in Bangor is a photo op with the 31-foot statue of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan who stands tall over what was home to more than 300 sawmills during the lumber boom of the 1830s.
The statue, located in front of Cross Insurance Center, is one of the largest dedicated to Paul Bunyan in the world. Even though Paul’s wife, Lucette, has urged him to eat healthier, poor Paul still weighs in at 3,700 lbs. and can withstand winds of 110 mph. There’s a time capsule hidden in the statue base, which will be opened in 2084.
The statue was donated in 1959 on Bangor’s 125th anniversary. Paul was designed by local artist J. Norman Martin and constructed by Messmoor & Damon, New York. The Paul Bunyan myth was concocted by lumberjacks swapping tall-tales in Maine’s north woods and in the area known as “Devil’s Half-Acre” in Bangor.
The Bangor Historical Society hosts a walking tour of our historical red-light district, highlighting the stories of Paul’s friends (lumberjacks), madams, wild Irishmen, and the police and reformers who tried to clean up the town. Visit visitbangormaine.com for tour information.
SHINING LIGHT ON THE EDGE OF THE WILDERNESS
In 1846, Henry David Thoreau visited Maine’s northern woods. Bangor moved him so much that he wrote this about it:
“There stands the city of Bangor, 50 miles up the Penobscot at the head of navigation, the principal lumber depot on this continent, like a star on the edge of the night, still hewing at the forests of which it is built.”
-Henry David Thoreau
Hannibal Hamlin – Local Legend
Hannibal Hamlin was the first Republican Vice President of the United States, serving under President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. Born in Paris, Maine, he attended Hebron Academy and tried a variety of jobs until he moved to Hampden, Maine, to practice law.
Hamlin’s political career began in 1836 with a term in the Maine House of Representatives. He later served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1843-1847. In 1848, he was elected to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. In 1861, Hamlin became Vice President under Abraham Lincoln.
After years of public service, Hamlin retired to his estate on Fifth Street on the west side of Bangor. It was on the 4th of July of 1891 that Hamlin was playing cards at the Tarratine Club, a gentleman’s club located in downtown Bangor, when he died on the couch. He is buried at the family plot in Mount Hope Cemetery.
Duck of Justice – Local Hero
The Bangor Police Department Duck of Justice (Yes, Duck of Justice) is the mascot and Internet sensation of the Marginally Famous Bangor Police Department Facebook page. With over 300,000 Facebook followers to date, the Bangor Police Department Facebook page has been featured nationally and internationally because of its excellent writing, quirky content, and calls for generally being kind to one another. The Duck of Justice is available for viewing and selfie opportunities each and every day at the Bangor Police Department Museum. Stop by, say hello, and grab a picture with the Duck of Justice.