Fun Maine Facts
Fun Maine Facts

38 Marvelous Facts about Maine

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 23, 2017
  • Historians are unsure about the origins of Maine's name, but many believe it is from a sailing reference to the "mainland."[4]
  • New Hampshire is the only U.S. state that borders Maine.[4]
  • Off the northwest coast of Maine is an island called Machias Seal Island. Because both the United States and Canada claim the island, anyone born on the island can claim dual citizenship.[4]
  • Maine has a designated state dirt, which is called the "Chesuncook soil series."[4]
  • Maine is home to four major Native American groups: Penobscots ("place where the rock opens out"), Passamaquoddys ("pollock-spearing place"), Mi'kmaqs ("my kin-friends"), and Maliseets ("talks imperfectly"). Collectively, they are known as Wabanakis.[4]
  • The Mi'Kmaqs, who lived in northeastern Maine, played a ball-and-stick game that is believed to be the origin of hockey.[4]
  • Longfellow Fact
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is revered in Maine
  • In 1959, Maine lawmakers named all the mountains in Maine the Longfellow Mountains, in honor of the famous Maine-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.[3]
  • Some historians believe that the first European to visit Maine was Leif Eriksson, who may have reached it in 1100 AD. The first recorded European arrival was Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who, in 1524, claimed the land for France.[4]
  • Between 1740 and 1784, Maine's population grew from 12,000 to 56,000 people.[4]
  • Six cities in the United States have a larger population than the entire state of Maine. They are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Among the 50 states, Maine ranks 41st in terms of population.[4]
  • Of the six New England states, Maine is the largest—35,380 square miles (91,634 sq km). However, it is the least-densely populated state east of the Mississippi.[3]
  • Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States.[3]
  • In Maine, the average July temperature is just 67 degrees Fahrenheit.[4]
  • Maine is a joy in the summer. But the soul of Maine is more apparent in the winter.

    - Paul Theroux

  • Maine's coast has over 3,000 offshore islands, ranging from small granite ledges to Mount Desert Island, which encompasses Acadia National Park. They are actually the tops of hills that were partially submerged when the melting Ice Age glaciers caused sea levels to rise thousands of years ago.[3]
  • Maine is one of the top maple syrup producers in the nation, tapping over 545,000 gallons (2 million liters) of syrup every year. This is enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.[3]
  • Maine boasts more forest land than any other state in the United States.  Forests cover almost 90% of its land area, leading to its nickname, the "Pine Tree State."[4]
  • Maine Trivia
    About 95 percent of Maine's forests are privately owned

  • Before Maine became the 23rd state in 1820, it was a part of Massachusetts. 
    [3]
  • Maine is the only state with just one syllable in its name.[3]
  • Eastport, Maine, is the first city in the contiguous United States to be struck by the first morning light.[3]
  • Famous people who lived in Maine include Leon Leonwood Bean (founder of L.L.Bean), author Stephen King, Milton Bradley, Dorothea Dix, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.[3]
  • Sir William Phip, who was born in 1650 in Maine, was the first British knight born in America. King James II of England knighted him after he found a sunken treasure in the Bahamas.[2]
  • Maine Coon Cat
    The Maine Coon is likely the oldest cat breed native to America
  • The official cat of Maine is the hefty Maine Coon. Likely the oldest cat breed in America, this large-sized, fluffy cat is sometimes mistaken for a bobcat.[2]
  • Maine's official state animal is the moose, and many locations in Maine are named after the largest member of the deer family, such as Moosehead Lake, Moose River, Moose Pond, Moose Island, and many others.[4]
  • In Maine, the phrase "down east" actually means going up into the state. In the early days, when sailors left Boston for Maine, they would sail to the east and "downwind," which referred to the direction the wind was blowing (North).[6]
  • Maine has no major league professional sports teams.[3]
  • Norway pines, which were at one time considered the best trees to use as ships' masts, were not named for the European country. Rather they were named for Norway, Maine.[2]
  • Maine's capital city, Augusta, is named after the daughter of Revolutionary War hero Henry Dearborn.[6]
  • Maine's coastline is 367 miles long, but it has many bays, inlets, and river estuaries. If the coastline were laid out straight, it would measure 3,478 miles long. If all Maine's islands were included, that number would jump to 5,500 miles.[6]
  • Maine's state bird is the chickadee. Because the little bird loves to sing, the Native Americans call it the "bird of the happy heart."[6]
  • Maine is the largest producer of toothpicks in United States.[4]
  • Toothpick Facts
    At one time, Maine manufactured 90% of the toothpicks in the United States

  • York, Maine, is the United State's oldest English-chartered city and is named after the Duke of York, a famous soldier. The child's song "The Grand Old Duke of York" is also named after him.[6]
  • Maine has its own desert. Spanning 40 acres, it formed due to overfarming in the area.[2]
  • Leon Leonwood Bean, a Maine outdoorsman, founded the boot company L.L.Bean in 1912. Today, the L.L.Bean store in Freeport, Maine, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.[6]
  • Burt Schavitz founded the popular "Burt's Bees" company in Maine in 1984.[5]
  • Known as the birthplace of prohibition, Maine was the first state in the United States to ban the sale and manufacture of alcohol in 1851.[4]
  • Maine Lobster Fact
    Mainers take lobsters so seriously that the University of Maine has its own Lobster Institute
  • Maine lobster fishers catch over 123 million pounds of lobster per year, making Maine the largest lobster-producing state in the nation.[4]
  • Author Stephen King is a native Mainer, and many of his books are set in Maine, including Pet Sematary, It, and Salem's Lot.[1]
  • Maine was established as an anti-slavery state. Not surprisingly, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in Maine, which helped stoke anti-slavery sentiment leading up to the Civil War.[6]
  • Marvelous Maine Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Maine Infographic
References

1"A Guide to Stephen King's Maine." Men's Journal. Accessed: November 30, 2017.

2Dornfeld, Margaret, and Joyce Hart. Maine: Celebrate the States. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2010.

3Hamilton, John. Maine: The Pine Tree State. North Mankato, MN: ABDO Publishing, 2017.

4Heinrichs, Ann. Maine (America the Beautiful). New York: Scholastic, 2014.

5Perkins, Lucy. "Burt Shavitz, Namesake and Co-Founder of Burt's Bees, Dies." NPR. July 6, 2015. Accessed: November 30, 2017.

6Reynolds, Cynthia Furlong. L is for Lobster. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2001.

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