Traveling with Art: Bangor, Maine


Bangor is one of the largest cities in Maine, with an impressive history and beautiful views.


The artist Randall Davey, who is best known for his New Mexico watercolor art, painted this scene of Bangor in 1931. The dreary colors perhaps reflect Davey’s recent divorce from his former wife. The painting is available for sale here.


Settlers came to Bangor in the 16th century, and the town’s first lawsuit arrived in 1790 when Jacob Buswell sued David Wall for calling him an “old damned grey-headed bugar of Hell” and Reverend Seth Noble a “damned rascall.”


The city was off to an interesting start.


The Revolutionary War gave Bangor a bit of a spotlight when the rebel Penebscot Expedition fled up the Penebscot River; their ships were overtaken by the British fleet at Bangor. Paul Revere himself escaped into the woods.


Ever since its start, Bangor has been a central city for imports and the lumber manufacturing industry.



Great Fire of 1911 Aftermath, seen on vintage postcard

One of Bangor’s most dramatic events was the Great Fire of 1911. The fire started in a shed downtown and, aided by the day’s high winds, spread quickly throughout the downtown area, destroying hundreds of buildings. The flames reached such a height that people could see them from a town over. Amazingly, only two people died from the incident.


Bangor, Maine has appeared in plenty of popular culture, including books by Stephen King and Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, among other works including songs and film.


Today, the city is certainly worth a visit. You can see pieces of its history in its architecture, monuments, and parks. It boasts a thriving art scene, an art festival, and the nearby Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park.

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