Presque Isle, Maine

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Presque Isle, Maine
City
Fort Street c. 1910
Fort Street c. 1910
Official seal of Presque Isle, Maine
Seal
Nickname(s): The Star City
Presque Isle, Maine is located in Maine
Presque Isle, Maine
Presque Isle, Maine
Location in the state of Maine
Coordinates: 46°40′46″N 68°0′8″W / 46.67944°N 68.00222°W / 46.67944; -68.00222Coordinates: 46°40′46″N 68°0′8″W / 46.67944°N 68.00222°W / 46.67944; -68.00222
Country United States
State Maine
County Aroostook
Incorporated (town) April 4, 1859
Incorporated (city) January 1, 1940
Area[1]
 • Total 77.60 sq mi (200.98 km2)
 • Land 75.76 sq mi (196.22 km2)
 • Water 1.84 sq mi (4.77 km2)
Elevation 456 ft (139 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 9,692
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 9,529
 • Density 127.9/sq mi (49.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 04769
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-60825
GNIS feature ID 0573790
Website www.presqueisle.govoffice.com

Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in the sparsely populated Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,692 at the 2010 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.

Presque Isle is the headquarters of the federally recognized tribe, the Aroostook Band of Micmac.[4]

History[edit]

Name and Incorporation[edit]

Originally known as Fairbanks for its founder Dennis Fairbanks, it was settled in 1828 in land that was unknown to be part of British North America (Canada) or the United States. The Aroostook War broke out in 1838 because of boundary disputes between the two countries, 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.

On January 1, 1940, Presque Isle was incorporated as a city.

Industry and Transportation[edit]

The first industry to form in Presque Isle was the lumber industry. However, during the last 30 years of the 19th century, agriculture also 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 Railway 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 tradecenter of the Aroostook valley.[5]

Colleges and Universities[edit]

In 1903, the Aroostook State Normal School was founded, which in 1968 would be renamed the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Northern Maine Technical College was established in 1961, now Northern Maine Community College.[6] The first students entered the college in 1963, while today it serves about 2000 students.[6]

Presque Isle's Hospital[edit]

The first Presque Isle Hospital was established on April 8, 1912.[7] Four physicians were affiliated with the hospital, whose dual aims were to serve the community and to provide a training school for nurses.[7] The building was a white-frame structure, enlarged from a home under construction. The need and demand for the hospital increased so rapidly, that in 1921 a new 3-story brick hospital was dedicated.[7] This hospital served for nearly four decades, when it, too proved inadequate. A major fundraising campaign was launched in the late 1950s. After a large donation was given by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Wildes, the daughter of the late Senator Gould, the Arthur R. Gould Memorial Hospital was constructed and opened in 1960.[7] The hospital has expanded and been modernized in recent years and in 1981 became a part of The Aroostook Medical Center.[7]

Military and Civilian Air Transportation[edit]

The Presque Isle Air Force Base, in operation between 1941 and 1961, was a major departure point for U.S. fighter planes during World War II and the Korean War due to its relative proximity to Europe. The former base is now the Northern Maine Regional Airport, the Northern Maine Community College, and the Skyway Industrial Park.

The Double Eagle II[edit]

On August 11, 1978, the Double Eagle II was launched from a Presque Isle field carrying three passengers. It made the first successful transatlantic balloon crossing. In honor of the Double Eagle II, the city holds an annual celebration called The Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. The popular event includes balloon rides, plane tours, amateur photo contests and children’s fair rides. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations, it is held in late August. The field from which the Double Eagle II lifted off now features a commemorative model balloon.[8]

All American City[edit]

Presque Isle was named an "All American City" in 1966.

Historic Images of Presque Isle, Maine[edit]

Geography and climate[edit]

Presque Isle is located at 46°40′46″N 68°0′8″W / 46.67944°N 68.00222°W / 46.67944; -68.00222 (46.679321, −68.002166)[9].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 77.60 square miles (200.98 km2), of which, 75.76 square miles (196.22 km2) is land and 1.84 square miles (4.77 km2) is water.[1] Presque Isle is drained by the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream.

Presque Isle has a humid continental climate typified with long cold winters and short warm summers.

Climate data for Presque Isle, Maine
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 55
(13)
59
(15)
74
(23)
84
(29)
94
(34)
95
(35)
96
(36)
99
(37)
90
(32)
84
(29)
70
(21)
57
(14)
99
(37)
Average high °F (°C) 20.7
(−6.3)
25
(−4)
35.6
(2)
48.3
(9.1)
64.3
(17.9)
73.2
(22.9)
77.2
(25.1)
75.6
(24.2)
65.9
(18.8)
52.9
(11.6)
38.3
(3.5)
25.9
(−3.4)
50.2
(10.1)
Average low °F (°C) 1.2
(−17.1)
4.7
(−15.2)
16.2
(−8.8)
29
(−2)
40.6
(4.8)
49.8
(9.9)
55.1
(12.8)
53.1
(11.7)
44.6
(7)
34.9
(1.6)
24.7
(−4.1)
9.3
(−12.6)
30.3
(−0.9)
Record low °F (°C) −35
(−37)
−37
(−38)
−30
(−34)
−3
(−19)
16
(−9)
26
(−3)
35
(2)
29
(−2)
21
(−6)
15
(−9)
−15
(−26)
−33
(−36)
−37
(−38)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.55
(64.8)
1.68
(42.7)
2.12
(53.8)
2.35
(59.7)
3.44
(87.4)
3.43
(87.1)
3.71
(94.2)
3.94
(100.1)
3.44
(87.4)
3.28
(83.3)
2.77
(70.4)
2.56
(65)
35.27
(895.9)
Snowfall inches (cm) 18.9
(48)
17.8
(45.2)
17.3
(43.9)
7.3
(18.5)
0.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.6
(1.5)
8.8
(22.4)
17.7
(45)
88.7
(225.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 11.0 7.8 9.7 10.8 12.6 12.2 12.9 11.8 11.4 12.2 11.8 11.3 135.5
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 7.6 5.6 5.0 2.3 0.2 0 0 0 0 0.4 3.0 6.4 30.5
Source: NOAA [10]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 723
1870 970 34.2%
1880 1,305 34.5%
1890 3,046 133.4%
1900 3,804 24.9%
1910 5,179 36.1%
1920 5,581 7.8%
1930 6,965 24.8%
1940 7,939 14.0%
1950 9,954 25.4%
1960 12,886 29.5%
1970 11,452 −11.1%
1980 11,172 −2.4%
1990 10,550 −5.6%
2000 9,511 −9.8%
2010 9,692 1.9%

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 9,692 people, 4,201 households, and 2,413 families residing in the city. The population density was 127.9 inhabitants per square mile (49.4 /km2). There were 4,608 housing units at an average density of 60.8 per square mile (23.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.5% White, 0.6% African American, 2.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 4,201 households of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.6% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.78.

The median age in the city was 40.2 years. 19.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.1% were from 25 to 44; 27.8% were from 45 to 64; and 16.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 9,511 people, 3,963 households, and 2,464 families residing in the city. The population density was 125.6 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 4,405 housing units at an average density of 58.2 per square mile (22.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.13% White, 0.36% African American, 2.26% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.65% of the population.

There were 3,963 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,325, and the median income for a family was $37,090. Males had a median income of $27,510 versus $19,785 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,712. About 9.2% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 15.2% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Due to being Aroostook County's largest city, Presque Isle is the retail center for a large number of both American and Canadian towns. The Aroostook Centre Mall became a major shopping center for residents during the 1990s. A Super Wal-Mart center also attracts a large number of shoppers. Agriculture remains a top industry of Presque Isle and the surrounding area, with potatoes being the top crop. During the winter months many local businesses rely on the snowmobiling industry as there is a highly regarded trail system connecting far away towns and cities with Presque Isle. Presque Isle is also home to a significant industrial park near the Northern Maine Regional Airport.

Presque Isle typically has a slightly higher unemployment level when compared to the state average.

Media[edit]

Television[edit]

Presque Isle is home to one of the smallest TV markets as defined by Nielsen market research. It consists of WAGM-TV channel 8, a CBS/Fox affiliate; and WMEM-TV channel 10, affiliated with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and PBS. While not part of the Presque Isle TV market, WVII-TV, the ABC affiliate out of Bangor, Maine, airs in Presque Isle.

Radio[edit]

Several radio stations have studios located in Presque Isle, including WBPW, WOZI and WQHR, all owned by Townsquare Media and talk radio station WEGP. The city is also home to WUPI, the University of Maine Presque Isle's student radio station which broadcasts on 92.1 and Maine Public Broadcasting Network on 106.1.

Newspaper[edit]

There are no daily newspapers in Aroostook County. The Star-Herald is published Wednesdays, one of several weekly newspapers published in Aroostook County. Others include Caribou's Aroostook Republican, Madawaska's St. John Valley Times, The Fort Fairfield Journal and Houlton's Pioneer Times.

Sites of interest[edit]

Commemorative model of Double Eagle II

Popular Culture[edit]

Is the focal location for operations in Island in the Sky (1953 film).

Notable people[edit]

Aroostook State Normal School in 1908, now the University of Maine at Presque Isle

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  4. ^ "Tribal Directory." National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  5. ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Presque Isle, Boston: Russell 
  6. ^ a b "About NMCC". Northern Maine Community College. NMCC. Retrieved 21 Feb 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Dean, Marilyn (1984). A History of Presque Isle's Hospital. Presque Isle, ME: The Aroostook Medical Center. 
  8. ^ Double Eagle II – Maine Office of Tourism
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "NCDC: U.S. Climate Normals". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]