Presque Isle, Maine

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Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in the sparsely populated Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,511 at the 2000 census. The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College, Northern Maine Fairgrounds, The Aroostook Centre Mall, and the Northern Maine Regional Airport.



Originally known as Fairbanks for its founder Dennis Fairbanks, it was settled in 1828 in land that was unknown to be Canadian or American. The Aroostook War broke out in 1838 because of boundary disputes with Canada, which were resolved in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The township was incorporated from Plantations F, G and H on April 4, 1859 as Presque Isle, the French term for peninsula (presqu'île), as the courses of the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream form a peninsula here. The name derives from the French phrase for 'almost an island.' [1]

The first industry to form in Presque Isle was the lumber industry. However, during the last 30 years of the 19th century, agriculture became important, and the entire county became noted for its production of potatoes. On October 9, 1851, the first Northern Maine Fair exhibition opened. In 1881 the New Brunswick Railroad created the first rail connection in Presque Isle. In 1883, the town of Maysville was annexed. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad arrived in 1895, opening the area for further development. Industries included two lumbermills, a gristmill, a wool carding mill, a furniture factory, a carriage factory and a tinware factory. The community became the trade, shipping and tourist center of the Aroostook valley. [2] In 1903, the Aroostook State Normal School was founded, which in 1968 would be renamed the University of Maine at Presque Isle. On January 1, 1940, Presque Isle was incorporated as a city.

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