In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Presque Isle: The Star City

Bangor and Aroostook Railroad

Text by Chandler and Gabby, students at Presque Isle Middle School
Images from and the students

The B&A Railroad came to Presque Isle in 1894 with a direct route from Bangor to Aroostook County. This station site used to be the Phair Hotel owned by James Phair. He sold the building and land to the B&A, who later tore down the home for the land. The first train arrived in January 1895. That year the Bangor and Aroostook hauled 195,000 passengers. In 1920, business peaked when the railroad carried 684,000 passengers. The train also transported forest products and potatoes. Potato traffic hit an all-time high in 1930. The railroad hauled 899,300 tons of potatoes. Passenger service was discontinued in 1961 because of other types of transportation such as buses. The railroad is now located behind Riverside Restaurant. It is still used as a freight railroad, but doesn’t carry passengers.

Sources:

125th Birthday Committee Presents City of Presque Isle 125th Historical Booklet 1859-1984. Presque Isle, 1984.
Presque Isle Historical Society Walking Tour. Presque Isle: Historical Society.