Here’s The Story of Bangor, Maine From A to Z [LIST]
Bangor is our home, so we try to know as much as we can about it. From the American Folk Festival to Zip Kellogg, here are the ABC’s of Bangor.
American Folk Festival
Since 2005, this free admission festival has brought tons of culture and revenue to Bangor. Remember it started out as the National Folk Festival in 2002? We liked it so much, we decided to let the music play. Thousands of locals have volunteered at the festival over the years.
Although this once popular nightlife hot spot is gone forever, its memory lives on in longtime Bangor residents. This club had many nicknames including the paper-towel inspired “quicker picker-upper.” You remember dancing at the Bounty. You just don’t like to talk about it. Honorable mention: Benjamin’s (In its heyday, this Franklin Street bar was the place for live music. There’s even an album floating around out there.)
Cross Insurance Center
The Bangor Auditorium’s replacement has served Bangor well so far! With a capacity more than 8,000 people and events booked year round, this venue has helped Bangor grow quite a bit in the last few years. Although the construction project was a huge one, we still had to save a space for one Bangor landmark (see the letter P.) Honorable mention: City Forest (What other city has 600-acres of forest where you can walk, bike and ski?)
Duck of Justice
How many cities can say their awesome police force has a mallard mascot?! Bangor can! Thanks to the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page, the stuffed waterfowl (which legend has it was rescued from the trash) has gained a level of fame on par with its predecessors, Daffy and Donald. Well, pretty close anyways.
Speaking of mascots, Husson University in Bangor has eagle pride! The school has grown from a small business college to a full-fledged university, shedding its former mascot, the Braves, in 2004. It’s actually the fourth mascot the school has had over the years. Bet you don’t know the others.
Frank’s Bake Shop
Frank’s Bake Shop opened in 1945 and has been at its State Street location since 1947. Plus, it’s been in the same family that whole time. Hey, we just thought of another bakery that begins with “F.” Honorable mention: Friar’s Bakehouse
There will soon be one last skate at this beloved rink on Sylvan Road, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to Bangor! The facility, which was once the place to hang out for the middle school crowd, is set to close for good in June. We guess it was just too hard to skate with your head stuck in your phone. Too bad, kids. There’s no app for that. Honorable mention: Gumby (when he participates in the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race.)
Where The Bounty Tavern once stood this spot is still a popular place for nightlife. Originally known as Hollywood Slots, it became the state’s first casino in 2005. It added table games in 2012, and don’t forget the Epic Buffet.
If you take I-395 from Brewer you literally run into Bangor. It is the easiest way to get from here to there, but beware the out-of-staters in the summer. It can be a little confusing.
One of Bangor’s high schools, this private school has stood on Broadway for more than 80 years and just won another national academic achievement award. Home of the Crusaders, the school has about 515 students.
The stream that runs though Downtown Bangor adding some serenity to the hustle and bustle. It also provides some of Bangor’s best entertainment with the Kenduskeag Canoe Race. It even had a floating sculpture in it last summer.
Bangor was build on the lumber industry and there are reminders of those times all around town. From our giant lumberjack on Main St. to the log drivers statue by the Bangor Public Library.
Mt. Hope Cemetery
Voted one of Maine best dive bars, this bar boasts being the oldest family owned bar in Bangor and is favorite for locals of all ages, as long as they’re over 21 and have cash. No credit cards, people! Actually, it’s now called “The Wave.” We’re still getting used to it.
You probably know it as the home of the Penobscot Theatre. The original Bangor Opera House was the highlight of nightlife until it burned down in 1914 killing two firefighters. Thankfully a new theater was built in its place. Some longtime residents remember when it was a movie theater and you had to watch for falling popcorn from the balcony.
You can’t miss this lumberjack looking over Main St. through wind, rain and snow he stands there with a smile! The foolish residents of Bemidji, Minnesota mistakenly and stubbornly think Paul belongs to them, but we have his birth certificate right here at Bangor City Hall.
Some time in the 19th century Bangor got a new nickname for its place on the Penobscot, beauty, lumber industry, and overall importance to the area. No one exactly knows how the city got the nickname, but the lights at the top of the Thomas Hill Standpipe are often referred to as the city’s crown jewels.
The Ram is Bangor High School’s mighty mascot! Bangor High is ranked one of the top public high schools in the state with more than 1,200 students. The Rams are formidable in the athletic arena, with the school winning more than 110 state championships over the years. Oh yeah, the Rams baseball team is looking to three-peat this year.
Bangor is honored to have Mr. King call the city home. He’s an author, activist, actor, and an overall cool guy. His creepy house on West Broadway attracts tourists from all over the globe who also search the city for the locations of some of King’s scariest books.
Voted ‘tastiest Pizza in Bangor’ for 18 years in a row, and who doesn’t love pizza? This pizza place has been a fixture on Broadway for more than 50 years. Can you name the three cities in the name? Honorable mention: Speaking of pizza, let’s throw in Tesoro, (another ‘T’) a downtown favorite. Again, make sure you bring cash. No credit card at Tesoro!
Umami Noodle Bar
A new addition to Bangor’s downtown, this is the only place you can get food until 3 a.m. in this area. The prime spot on the corner of Main and Hammond streets has housed many restaurants over the years including the old Bagel Shop and the New Moon Cafe to name a couple.
Bangor has a lot of parades. There’s the Festival of Lights Parade, the Fourth of July Parade, the Memorial Day Parade and the Veterans Day Parade. At almost all of these you can see the city’s proud veterans marching through the downtown with the special walking sticks provided to them by Cole Transportation Museum. Honorable mention: Verve
What did we do in the summer before Waterfront Concerts started bringing major acts to the city? From the first show in 2010 (Celtic Woman), the venue has hosted some of the biggest names in music including Kenny Chesney (that’s where this photo is from), Van Halen, Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran, Dave Matthews Band and, well, the list goes on.
(We were reaching a bit on this one) Xenodochial means “friendly to strangers” and that we are! Of course, everybody knows about the Maine Troop Greeters. They’re just about the most welcoming people around. In the summer we welcome the flatlanders with open arms! Well, except for the Bangorians who are more Xenophobic (a fear of foreign things or people)… Honorable mention: Are you serious? It was hard enough finding one!
For many years the Bangor Y has run programs, camps, and training for all ages in the Bangor area. The YMCA used to operate at 127 Hammond St. and has now become one with the YWCA on Second St. It’s right behind the Isaac Farrar Mansion. That would have been a good one for “I.”
Arguably the Kenduskeag Canoe Race’s most famous participant (maybe besides Gumby), you can’t miss Zip he’s the only one standing up! Although he grew up in Bangor, he actually lives in southern Maine, We won’t hold that against you, Zip. See you in the spring.