Articles by Wayne E. Reilly

Wayne E. Reilly

‘Dumps, billboards, parks': Bangor reformers aimed to improve city

By Wayne E. Reilly on March 01, 2015, at 10:51 a.m.
During the Progressive Era a century ago hardly a week went by when somebody in Bangor didn’t speak up in favor of reforms to improve life in the Queen City of the East. It was time Bangor “thought of something besides booze,” chided civic leader Franklin E. Bragg in a …
Wayne Reilly

Snow drought caused men to hustle a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Feb. 15, 2015, at 5:58 a.m.
Workingmen longed for snow a century ago like kids at Christmas, not so they could go snowmobiling, but so they could go to work. “Snow badly needed,” a headline in the Bangor Daily Commercial said on Jan. 1, 1915. “Lumbermen and Farmers Hope For a Big Fall Soon.” Lumbermen and …
Wayne E. Reilly

Vanceboro bridge bombed by German soldier a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Feb. 01, 2015, at 10:27 a.m.
The First World War had an impact in Maine years before the nation actually entered the fighting in Europe in 1917. Bangor’s two daily newspapers were full of war news generated both abroad and at home, and much of it was about events going on in the Pine Tree State. …
Wayne E. Reilly

German wireless sought in Maine woods during First World War

By Wayne E. Reilly on Jan. 18, 2015, at 2:23 p.m.
World War I had been going on for only three months when this startling headline appeared in the Bangor Daily News: “GERMAN WIRELESS IN MAINE WOODS? Berlin May Be Getting News Via Meddybemps or Seeboomook.” The lead on the wire story that followed made it clear this was something more …
Union Station lit up for one of the Bangor winter carnivals around 1914. The station was one of Bangor's great achievements of the city's train era.

Bangor rail line faced deadly sabotage plots amid 1914 strikes

By Wayne E. Reilly on Jan. 04, 2015, at 3:03 p.m.
“Bangor is quite a railroad center…” boasted a reporter for the Bangor Daily Commercial on June 24, 1910, before troubles began. The summer timetables for the Maine Central and the Bangor & Aroostook listed 71 passenger trains passing through town every weekday — 36 incoming and 35 outgoing. In addition, …
The Hayford Estate buildings were located at the corner of Hammond and Franklin streets where the U. S. Post Office is located today. This photograph dates from around 1906 when the corner was being considered as a location for a new Bangor library.

Downtown fire traps, eyesores bothered Bangoreans

By Wayne E. Reilly on Dec. 21, 2014, at 9:51 a.m.
Fire traps and eyesores occupied the minds of civic-minded Bangoreans a century ago. Many people still feared another big fire like the one that had destroyed much of the downtown in 1911. Beyond that apprehension was the ever growing desire on the part of progressive boosters to clean up and …

Should women in tight skirts be allowed to vote?

By Wayne E. Reilly on Dec. 07, 2014, at 11:11 a.m.
Are women qualified to vote? Does it depend on what they are wearing? The West Penobscot Pomona Patrons gathered with members of the Bradford Center Independent Grange to discuss that important question a century ago. The question, as presented by the Bangor Daily Commercial on Nov. 9, 1914, went this …

Maine’s mystery: Where did all the caribou go?

By Wayne E. Reilly on Nov. 23, 2014, at 9:29 a.m.
MAINE’S MYSTERY Caribou Have Disappeared But No One Knows the Reason NUMEROUS 15 YEARS AGO Perhaps Their Feed Has Grown Scarcer and Perhaps It’s Wanderlust — But They’ve Gone.Story continues below advertisement. With chilling accuracy, Maine newspapers annually marked the demise of the state’s caribou herds more than a century …
Wayne Reilly

Beware the confidence men of old Bangor

By Wayne E. Reilly on Nov. 09, 2014, at 7:01 a.m.
Confidence men, bunko artists, grifters and the like seemed to be everywhere a century ago, waiting to prey on the unsuspecting. Con men gained your confidence and then took your money. They were particularly active in rural hubs such as Bangor, where large groups of itinerant workers, farm folk and …
Trolley traveling through East Corinth in the early 1900s.

‘Phantom Trolley’ spooked Bangor carmen a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Oct. 26, 2014, at 2:18 p.m.
“The Phantom Trolley” sounds like a good title for a ghost story, and undoubtedly there are a few on the subject. Bangor’s tale by that title, however, was more of a joke, savored a century or so ago by the employees of the Bangor Railway and Electric Company as well …
Wayne Reilly

High-tech wonders entertained Mainers a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Oct. 12, 2014, at 11:59 a.m.
Americans were fascinated with new technology a century ago just as they are today. The telephone, the wireless, the electric light bulb and most certainly the gasoline-powered engine and its progeny were among the modern marvels of the moment. Here are a few items from Bangor’s two daily newspapers documenting …
Crossing the Penobscot River between Bangor and Brewer by trolley was a major transportation breakthrough nearly a century ago.

Trolley crossing united Bangor, Brewer in 1914

By Wayne E. Reilly on Sept. 28, 2014, at 4:42 p.m.
At 2:55 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, a century ago, electric trolley car No. 9 of the Bangor Railway & Electric Co. rolled away from the Bangor House on a historic journey. Big signs on either side of the car told the story: “All Aboard for Brewer: … …

3 Penobscot County sheriffs ousted by prohibitionists a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Sept. 14, 2014, at 9:39 a.m.
A century ago, prohibitionists in Eastern Maine succeeded in ousting three Penobscot County sheriffs for not doing enough to stop liquor sales. Between 1913 and 1918, two years before federal prohibition, the battle over booze escalated rapidly, especially in Bangor, the hub of the area’s liquor supply. Maine had passed …

Rumors, uncertainty plagued Maine at start of World War I

By Wayne E. Reilly on Aug. 31, 2014, at 4:19 p.m.
The sudden onset of World War I a century ago left most Americans shocked and confused. Which countries were to blame? Could the United States maintain its neutrality? Would American boys be sent off to settle the ancient feuds of European royalty? Would the fighting in far off Europe depress …

Bangor residents battled white plague a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Aug. 17, 2014, at 11:26 a.m.
When the Anti-Tuberculosis Society of Bangor met a century ago this summer, there was good news and bad news in the battle to end the Great White Plague. First, the good news: Public drinking cups had been banned, noted Miss Madeline C. Mosher, the city’s tuberculosis nurse. “It was a …
Kronprinzessin Cecilie

German ‘Treasure Ship’ introduced Maine to World War I

By Wayne E. Reilly on July 27, 2014, at 10 a.m.
By Aug. 3, 1914, the summer season was “humming” at Bar Harbor’s storied resort. The new European war, however, had become the principal topic of conversation among the rich and famous summer folks, wrote a Bangor newspaper correspondent. Heavy rain and thunder that day washed out the tennis tournament at …
Wayne E. Reilly

‘Race wars’ afflicted Hancock Street a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on July 20, 2014, at 5:57 a.m.
“Immigrant Question of Great Concern to the City,” said a headline in the Bangor Daily Commercial on April 16, 1914. Long used to the thousands of loggers who passed through the city each year on their way to the woods, the Queen City had a new concern. Hundreds of the …
Wayne Reilly

Auto season, 1914: Imps and jumping cows

By Wayne E. Reilly on June 22, 2014, at 5:12 p.m.
The automobile season a century ago in eastern Maine started with a round of fantasizing long before the snow melted. While most autos were still stored for the winter, hundreds of people from all over the region gathered at the Bangor Auditorium, the cavernous wooden structure at the corner of …
Early Bangor carnival parade float.

Summer fun cooled war fever in Bangor, 1914

By Wayne E. Reilly on June 08, 2014, at 9:46 a.m.
War fever swept the nation a century ago. Civil war raged in Mexico. American sailors were arrested in Tampico on April 10, 1914. The U.S. Navy invaded Vera Cruz later that month. Some Americans were killed or wounded. Many civilians fled the country. American newspapers predicted war and a national …
A large lunch wagon can be seen stationed behind other wagons selling farm produce in Pickering Square in this turn-of-the-century postcard showing Bangor’s big open-air market.

Street vendors — from hot dog stands to organ grinders — enlivened old Bangor

By Wayne E. Reilly on May 25, 2014, at 5:24 p.m.
Street vendors selling food, jewelry, shoe shines and more were a common sight in parts of Bangor a century ago. They created a colorful atmosphere in the old Queen City as well as a bottom rung on the economic ladder for many immigrants. Occasionally these vendors made brief appearances in …