Articles by Wayne E. Reilly

 
WAYNE E. REILLY
Shack stores in Center Park where City Hall sits today after the Bangor fire of 1911.

Shack stores lingered years after Bangor’s great fire

By Wayne E. Reilly on Nov. 08, 2015, at 7:29 a.m.
After the fire of 1911 destroyed much of Bangor’s downtown, many small businesses immediately found housing in what became known as “shack stores,” temporary structures built haphazardly of rough lumber and whatever other materials were around. After banning wooden buildings downtown in an effort to avoid further fires, city fathers …
WAYNE REILLY
Exchange Street in Bangor was sometimes so congested with autos and horse-drawn vehicles that trolleys were blocked. The trolley tracks can be seen leading down to Union Station.

Horses, trolleys contended with ‘devil wagons’ for Bangor streets

By Wayne E. Reilly on Oct. 24, 2015, at 12:22 p.m.
A “hot debate” about traffic congestion in downtown Bangor flourished a century ago, when a growing number of automobiles — aka “devil wagons” — and other gasoline-powered vehicles competed with plodding horses and clanging electric trolleys for control of the streets.
WAYNE E. REILLY
Trolley getting ready to cross the Bangor-Brewer bridge.

Jitney ‘buses’ competed with Bangor trolleys a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Oct. 11, 2015, at 9:45 a.m.
From the beginning of their existence, automobiles posed a threat to the trolley systems that had developed in large and small cities across the nation.
WAYNE E. REILLY
The little Bon Ton Ferry connected Bangor and Brewer across the Penobscot River for many years along the course followed by the Chamberlain Bridge today. In the background is the terminal operated by the Eastern Steamship Co. where the big “Boston Boats” arrived.

Mishaps marked decline of coastal steamboats a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Sept. 27, 2015, at 12:45 p.m.
With the disappearance of steamboats went most of the excitement and glamour of travel along the coast of Maine …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Much of Central Street was rebuilt after the fire of 1911. This post-fire view shows the Graham Building on the right and the Central Building on the left (under the flag) as well as other new buildings that are still standing today.

Confetti war, Charlie Chaplin look-alikes marked dedication of rebuilt Central Street a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on Sept. 13, 2015, at 12:33 p.m.
In the years after the fire of 1911, fairs became popular events to mark progress in rebuilding Bangor. One of the most successful was held Aug. 15, 1915, to celebrate the rebirth of Central Street …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

Machine guns roared on Hammond Street as Bangor prepared for WWI

By Wayne E. Reilly on Aug. 30, 2015, at 10:50 a.m.
“Bangor Will Be Headquarters For Machine Gun Company,” the Bangor Daily Commercial announced in a multi-tiered headline March 12, 1915. “The plan is to have a company consisting of 50 men, with a captain and two lieutenants … There will be four machine guns,” the story said, describing the latest …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne Reilly

Motordromes, aeroplanes transformed Bangor fair

By Wayne E. Reilly on Aug. 16, 2015, at 4:03 p.m.
The Eastern Maine State Fair in Maplewood Park (Bass Park today) was the apex of entertainment a century ago in Bangor. The Queen City of the East had many other popular diversions, from circuses to opera, but for attracting crowds — more than 10,000 people some days — nothing beat …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

‘Stargazing’ a popular sport in old Bangor

By Wayne E. Reilly on Aug. 02, 2015, at 2:18 p.m.
The Bangor area was a great place for celebrity watching a century ago. From Hollywood heart throbs to powerful millionaires to famous babies, one could expect to see them in person or at least read about them in the local news. Throw Bar Harbor into the mix, which the steamboat …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Horses and autos shared the streets of downtown Bangor in the early 20th century.

Auto craze brought profit, change to Bangor residents

By Wayne E. Reilly on July 19, 2015, at 1:53 p.m.
A decade and a half after the first automobile appeared in Bangor, hundreds of motor vehicles — autos, trucks, even motorcycles operated by women — were rolling through the streets of the Queen City of the East after the last snow melted each spring. The growing number of automobilists had …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

Moral crusaders aimed to bust Bangor’s booze joints

By Wayne E. Reilly on July 05, 2015, at 12 p.m.
Spotters in town for Dr. Berry? A headline in the Bangor Daily News on June 25, 1915, asked that provocative question. The answer was a resounding yes. Dr. Wilber Berry, superintendent of the Christian Civic League of Maine, had asked Gov. Oakley Curtis for a public hearing to inform Maine’s …
WAYNE E. REILLY
The Nickel Theater on Union Street, where boxing was a popular feature a century ago.

Masters of the Mitts: Boxing entertained Bangor a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on June 21, 2015, at 12:46 p.m.
If you were a young man living in Bangor a century ago, you most likely were familiar with Ernie McIntyre, the Aroostook Demon, and a host of other regional “masters of the mitts” with outrageous monikers. More than McIntyre perhaps during that spring of 1915, you had certainly heard of …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

Bangor club women battled for rights a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on June 07, 2015, at 10:18 a.m.
Advocates of “woman suffrage” in Maine were feeling optimistic at the beginning of 1915. “Unless there is some big and unlooked for development, the people of Maine will, before the end of the present year, be given a chance to vote on woman suffrage,” predicted the Bangor Daily News on …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

Knights of the road headed for Bangor each spring

By Wayne E. Reilly on May 24, 2015, at 10 a.m.
Sorting out the deserving from the undeserving poor was a major pastime a century ago, especially when it came to the penniless men who drifted into Bangor and many other cities claiming to be looking for work. In a city flush with money and jobs, which category you fit into …
WAYNE E. REILLY
The Charles W. Morse Building, now called Norumbega Hall, once included the Bowlodrome and the Chateau Ballroom, two of Bangor’s entertainment centers.

Bowlodrome launched Bangor’s newest amusement palace a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on May 10, 2015, at 2:57 p.m.
Several years after the great fire of 1911 reduced much of downtown Bangor to ashes, “miracles” were still occurring. The Bowlodrome was about to rise from the rubble, reviving a sport that few Bangoreans were familiar with anymore. It would cost only 10 cents to bowl a string and 60 …
WAYNE REILLY
Log drivers on the Penobscot

Log drives employed thousands a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on April 26, 2015, at 11:18 a.m.
Even though the Queen City no longer was the “principal lumber depot on this continent,” as Thoreau famously put it in 1846, Bangor still was a “star on the edge of the night” for thousands of men seeking jobs a century ago. After the ice left the Penobscot each spring, …
WAYNE E. REILLY
Wayne E. Reilly

Bangor mayor tried to close saloons a century ago

By Wayne E. Reilly on April 12, 2015, at 1:34 p.m.
In the years leading up to federal prohibition, a great moral reckoning swept the land as states rushed to jump aboard the prohibition bandwagon. In Bangor, outspoken clergymen and activist club women encouraged a new mayor elected on the independent ticket with no obligations to the city’s “wet” establishment to …
WAYNE REILLY
Wayne Reilly

100 years ago, springtime started cold and slow for Bangor

By Wayne E. Reilly on March 29, 2015, at 5:49 p.m.
Springtime unfolded quickly and methodically in Bangor a century ago. If you followed the flow of annual events covered by the city’s two daily papers, let’s say between ice-out in Bangor harbor and Easter Sunday, you could learn just about everything worth knowing about that short season between winter and …
WAYNE REILLY
Wayne Reilly

In opening days of WWI, Mainers dreaded threat of German zeppelins, subs

By Wayne E. Reilly on March 15, 2015, at 8:33 a.m.
Which is more dangerous — a submarine or a zeppelin? That question was on the minds of Mainers a century ago as they scanned the skies and coastal waters for signs of these new military terrors even before the United States entered The Great War. Hudson Maxim, the famous scientist …
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 E. REILLY
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 …