Houlton Maine is the Shiretown or County seat for Aroostook.
Maine’s largest of the sixteen counties is Aroostook. And from the days of the first settlers arriving in 1807, lumbering, farming have been two big reasons to live here.
Outdoor beauty of four seasons living with clean water, fresh air.
No over population continues the tradition of providing very good reasons to head to Maine.
To live in or at least visit and vacation in Houlton Maine.
In this border town with Woodstock New Brunswick to the east in the province of New Brunswick Canada, Houlton has connections that stretch deep beyond the International boundary line.
The Maliseet Indians helped the new settlers on both sides of the Maine, Canadian border too. Without them, a lot of lost settlers might never have dug in and prospered. And put Houlton Maine on the map. Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820 when the independent state was formed.
Tall timber stands, rich fertile soil, rivers to fuel a town’s needs in early Maine town creation.
When the wood lots were cut and cleared to create fields all helped the town of Houlton Maine grow.
So did the railroad that extended from Canada over twenty years before the Bangor and Aroostook train tracks were put into place. The B and A railroad helped open up the Houlton Maine exports to the America markets.
So did the Interstate 95 highway system designed to be the Eisenhower route to move military armaments quickly to and fro. With Lend Lease in World War War II when local Houlton Maine potato farmers hooked on with tractors.
To drag hundreds of war planes from Houlton International Airport over the border to work around the fine print of the existing treaties between America and Germany, Italy, Japan.
About 300 German prisoner of war soldiers at a time were housed.
Kept safe and sound, treated well.
Living in barracks at the Houlton Maine airport during World War Two.
Local potato farmers used the soldiers for labor to pick the spuds at a time when many able bodied men were overseas serving their country in the armed forces.
Overall, about three thousand POW’s were housed in Houlton Maine barracks.
Locals old enough remember them singing German songs on the back of farm trucks when picked up and return to the Houlton International airbase in the early 1940’s. Many of the barracks after the war were recycled by local home builders and home owner wannabees. Who jacked them up, hauled them to many locations around the growing town of Houlton Maine in Southern Aroostook County. As neighborhoods popped up, filled to capacity and spilled into the next development. Spreading out from the center of the oldest town in Aroostook County.
The peak of our population around 10,000 souls in Houlton Maine occured around 1957.
When the town enjoyed the income and services provided by Ricker College, the B and A railroad that was headquartered in Houlton Maine. Along with peak production of potato and grain acreages and lumbering exports along with businesses at our industrial park at the airport.
The housing stock is varied and substantial in Houlton Maine which was one of the richest town’s of its size East of the Mississippi River back in the 1920-1930’s era. Just under 30 buildings in downtown Houlton Maine appeal on the National Register of Historic Places. The architechure of the brick buildings downtown re-built from the early 1900’s “Great Fire” is an impressive array.
Ricker College closed in 1978.
Early Houlton Maine was served by many hotels from the Exchange Hotel, the Northland, the Snell House, the Willis Hotel, the Union Square and others. Before being replaced, torn down and motorists moved on to newer lodging, modern motels in Houlton Maine.
As the highway systems inproved and opened up, lots of trucking companies sprung up from Coles Express, O’Donnell Express, McGary’s Trucking and others.
To offer overnight service in time. My dad and mom had a trucking company called Prem Pak to be a sister operation with their potato farming and brokerage business.
The trucks served the produce markets in Boston, Hartford, New York and others and had ICC rights to haul back paper products to make the trip profitable. With a backhaul that helps with fuel and truck expenses. How far, what is the mileage distance between Houlton Maine and wherever you are thinking of lighting out, heading north from now?
Houlton Maine natives and the folks across the border, “over home” have always had a good relationship. Which is why the questions I hear once in a while seems absurd. We hop the border to shop go out to eat in another country. Canadians dine, eat in Houlton Maine, shop here too.
“Is it dangerous being this close to the Canadian border if I buy real estate in Houlton Maine?”
No, no it is not dangerous being on the Canadian border living in Houlton Maine. Some boundaries between countries might be tense, Houlton Maine is not one of those. Although since 911 a lot of jobs have been created in Immigration, Customs, and Border Patrol protection that helps the local economy.
The border between Houlton Maine and heading toward Woodstock New Brunswick for years was one of the longest, undefended borders in the World.
It did take a considerable number of years to work out the final details on where exactly the border between what was to become Maine, Aroostook County in particular actually was on the maps.
Drawing the nation lines between this and that side of the US-Canadian border started in the War of 1812 and after about thirty years later wrapped up with the “Bloodless Aroostook War”.
I had always heard being final settled over an open bottle of whiskey drafting the Webster -Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
Federal tropps were stationed in Houlton Maine before and after the “Bloodless Aroostook War”.
The drawing up of lines to create a clear as a bell boundary once and for all episode was to be the last of the serious skirmishes.
Between the USA and the United Kingdom on determining where this land is my land, this land is your land.
As England kept close tabs on and remained involved with the Canadian side of the border where the Red Maple Leaf flag waves proudly.
Houlton Maine is at the beginning of Interstate 95, one of the oldest and longest transportation highway systems of the country. I-95 connects with the Atlantic Canadian Provinces.It serves the eastern half of the USA. Ending up at the southern tip of Florida below Miami, Key West, etc.
Houlton Maine is the gateway to the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
When a person takes time off and makes Houlton Maine thedestination, it is like a two nation vacation. Head over by ferry, the trans Canada highway to Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and provinces beyond just New Brunswick.
And with the exchange rate of the American and Canadian dollar teeter tottering either way, bargains for shopping needs spring up on both sides of the border.
Free trade has bumped traffic up considerably in Houlton, other Aroostook County border towns and parts of Washington County, the province of Quebec too.
The Interstate 95 system was part of a dream of President Dwight Eisenhower.
The President, General before that who had seen the efficiency of the German Autobahn. He desired a better way of moving military machinery at times of tensions around the World.
Houlton Maine benefits from this military highway that was on the way to now moth balled, re-purposed Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.
Former President William Howard Taft was the one and only President to come to Houlton Maine in May of 1917. For many years, feeling cut off and way up north led to strengthen the independence of Houlton Maine area residents.
To be creative, resourceful and to carve out the Shiretown of Aroostook County of Houlton Maine.
Colonel Frank M. Hume was the highest ranking officer from Maine in World War One.
As commander of the 103rd Infantry, he won the Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Service Medal.
Also a Houlton Maine postmaster is on his list of accomplishments.There are lots of local heroes that made their name known outside the town lines of Houlton Maine. Still are and maybe you the reader are one who did well due to your fine upbringing. Many feel they owe the town much for their success.
Listen in on a tour of Cary Library and to past postmaster Leigh Cummings talking about early days in Houlton Maine, about Sheperd Cary and other matters.
The American Telephone and Telegraph started operating a trans-Atlantic radio phone system in Houlton Maine in January of 1927. Located on the County Road, US Rt 2 a mile and a half west of the town of Houlton Maine, it was the long wave receiver beaming primarily into England radio receivers.
Why was Houlton Maine picked, selected for this location for the two mile long antennae system? That still has remnants as reminders when area woodlots are cruised. And telephone insulators, poles, wiring are still found in the forest floor debris.
Because radio interference was found to be the least of all the locations by selecting Houlton Maine. The building where the radio station was housed is now a residence of Roger Hand.
The first radio station for commercial AM use on area receivers was WABM. The call letters later changed to WHOU and the 1000 watt day time, 250 night time radio station operated on the frequency of 1340.
Located on the North Road, US Rt 1 now where Tim Horten’s peddles doughnuts, coffee, pastries.
The station broadcasts from over the post office, on the second floor located in Houlton Maine at the corner of Military and Court Streets. It’s broadcast tower located in Smyrna for elevation to add to the broadcast coverage area.
The original border crossing of US Customs went into operation in December of 1933. With two cape style homes located beyond it for local agent residences.
The entire facilty still stands in a state of disrepair while a new more expansive operation for border crossing inspections was erected on the heels of 911 tragedy.
The Border Patrol Sector Headquarters for the NE is located just to the south of Houlton Maine in the neighboring town of Hodgdon.
There is a US Border Patrol Houlton port on the North Road, US Rt 1. Located in Houlton Maine on the corner of the Lowery Road and this main artery that services 95% Northern Maine.
Rt 11 to the west used primarily by logging trucks, Allagash Wilderness and Baxter Park tourists is the alternate route to open up Aroostook County.Transportation is big in Houlton Maine because of the artiers of highways that all cross, link up in this Aroostook County seat Shiretown.
US Rt 1, 2, 2A and the Interstate 95 system all connect in Houlton Maine making it a transportation hub.
Market Square is the center of the downtown commerce in Houlton Maine with US Rt 1 shopping centers and strip store location taking over in some aspects to service the local consumer. To cater to larger crowds with better parking and larger displays.
Considering to be a homesteader, running a farmstead on a small platform or growing to expand to something bigger? Here to help in that endeavor and grew up on a Maine farm, own one and are ready to get yours up and running too!
Everyone has their own needs for information on Houlton Maine and please email, text, call or come visit. Where I live and enjoy working, raising a family is not by accident. There are strong reasons, tugs on the heart strings that make this a one of a kind location.
Would love the opportunity to share why I feel this way about Houlton, Aroostook, Maine.
Lots more to tell, exchange on Houlton Maine and we keep hunt and pecking, posting images from there and now to paint the picture. On what it is like in this Victorian town located on the border with Canada in Aroostook County.
Where everyone on either side of the border is connected, related in somehow.
If you have something to add, please send it along.
This blog post is a work in progress and returns to it to enhance and tighten it up will continue.
Stay tuned for more installments on information about Houlton Maine, one neat place to live, work and play.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730 USA