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Cole Museum,Bangor, Augusta Capital Building

Adventurers in New England

Chapter Seventeen

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Fort Knox State Historic Site

Cole Land Transportation Museum

Augusta Capital Building

Gardiner, ME

Bath, ME


Robin Bowers

June 24, 2015


Part Two

Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...

   Continuing our day in Northeastern Maine, we drove north on US 1 and saw great vistas of the shore line and Penobscot Bay. Heading toward Bucksport, we spot one exciting and marvelous bridge.



On the left side, perched 420 feet atop the south obelisk of the 2,120-foot-long Penobscot Narrows Bridge, the observatory offers a panoramic view encompassing adjacent Fort Knox, the town of Bucksport, the Penobscot River and Penobscot Bay and the surrounding, heavily forested hills and coastal islands of "Down East" Maine. Visitors enter the base of the tower at the river's edge and board an elevator that ascends to the three-floor glass-walled observation area.


View of Penobscot Bay.


The high-tech bridge is a marvel of modern engineering incorporating such innovative features as test cables made of carbon composite material and cable sheaths filled with pressurized nitrogen to prevent corrosion.


    Crossing the bridge we enter the town of Bucksport.


Bucksport was founded in the 1760s by Col. Jonathan Buck. The village lies east of Mount Waldo, the site of major granite quarries. Mount Waldo granite is found at nearby Fort Knox and in buildings in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. The town dock off of Main Street offers an impressive view of Penobscot Bridge & Observatory.


Fort Knox State Historic Site.
The pentagon-shaped fort was built on 125 acres overlooking the Penobscot River in the 1840s-60s as deterrent to future British attempts to recapture Bangor and to control the river. The granite fort  displays eight cannons and contains mounts for 64 cannons. Fort Knox garrisoned troops during the Civil War and Spanish-American wars.


More views from the town dock off Main St.




Maine Eastern station.



    Leaving Bucksport, Chris and I travel north on State Rt. 15 to our next stop in Bangor, ME.

Cole Land Transportation Museum




    The museum includes a 72-foot 1840s covered bridge and more than 200 vehicles illustrating the evolution of land transportation form wagons to automobiles to 18-wheelers. Among the items exhibited are antique recreational vehicles, motorcycles, a locomotive, a railroad station, farm equipment, horse-drawn logging sleds, farm and logging trucks, snowplows and more than 2,000 enlarge and captioned photographs of early life in Maine.

    Also featured are hundreds of military artifacts from the Civil War to World War II, including uniforms, insignias, weapons and armored vehicles. The museum also is home to the Maine Wold War II Veterans Memorial, the Maine Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Maine Korean Veterans Memorial and the Maine Military Order of the Purple Heart Memorial.

    After arriving and entering the building, we walked over to the office and we were greeted by Jim Neville, Director of Operations, who kindly gave us a tour of the more important exhibits with special emphases on trains and train history. After our guided tour, we were left on our own to explore every aisle in this huge depository of history. Up and down we roamed, snapping off an obscene amount of photos.  As it would be a form of torture to you, dear reader, to post them all here. I am putting only few of my favorite ones.






Caboose  #660.










The power roller was manufactured in 1954 by Buffalo-Springfield in Ohio. The paving roller was used by the Lane Construction Co. on the New York thruway project, then on to Maine in 1967, where it was used until retirement. It was restored and donated to the museum in 1989.

Notice the cobblestone museum floor in this and other photos.




    The 45,000 paving stones, called by many "cobblestones"  located in the Cole Land Transportation Museum were given in 1988 by Guilford Transportation, successor to the Maine Central Railroad, from its Bangor rail yard. All of these stones were located in the siding nearest to and parallel to Main Street between the first and second set of railroad tracks. They represent only a fraction of the stones located in that yard. These 45,000 stones weighed approximately 1,600,00 lbs and were removed and loaded by a rubber-tired pay loader, donated by A.J. Cole & Sons, and were transported here with a dump truck donated by Cole Training Institute.

    Approximately 10 high school football players were hired by Coles Express and worked with volunteers for approximately 10 weeks sorting the stones for three thicknesses and three widths, and then placing them on pallets where they were washed. Later the stones were transported by forklift into the museum, then individually placed on processed and compacted granulated stone donated by Lane Construction in the museum's floor. The first stone placed was at the corner of Main Street and Fire Engine Lane.

     The red brick were purchased from Morin Brick Company, Stanford, Maine and weigh 450,000 lbs. These too were manually placed on processed material in the individual aisles and railroad station floor.


    Bangor's leading historian, James B. Vickery, in researching the paving stones reports they were mined by George A. Pierce and /or his son, John Pierce at their Frankfort, Maine, Mt Waldo Quarry and transported to Bangor in sailing ships which could dock in slips near the Frankfort Quarry for loads of lumber. These same ships could dock beside the Bangor rail yard at their destination.

    It is a known fact that large three and four-masted schooners were better controlled and navigated the  winding Penobscot River better loaded than empty. These stones were placed in the Maine Central, later Guilford Transportation Co.freight yard between 1855 when that rail yard was originally built and 1868-1869 when North American and European Railroad became the owner. Thousands of tons of cobblestones were transported to Bangor, Brewer, Orono and surrounding communities throughout that era as an improved road over gravel before tar, concrete and hot top.

    Additional information from Mr. Vickery: The paving stones were likely quarried on Mosquito Mountains, the mountain nearest the Penobscot River in Frankfort.

    The first streets in Bangor paved were Main, State and Exchange. Millions of "cobblestones" are still located under Bangor Streets.



The 1931 F.W.D. Snow-Blower picked up and "threw" not only ice and snow, but rocks and gravel.









    In the mid 1930s, Coles Express loaded 14,000 100 lb bags of potatoes on the last four-masted schooner to sail with a Maine product down the Penobscot River.





1920 Mobil Pump, 1920 Tydol Pump, Atlantic Electric Pump.

    It seems not so long ago that we were referring to gas stations as "filling stations."  Some of these did not have electricity at first, so hand pumps were employed. The visible Mobile gas pump, which came from Galen Cole's private collection, was filled by hand. The number of gallons it held was marked in ascending order, from top to bottom, so that the amount going into gas tank could be monitored during the process. The Atlantic pump on site worked from an electric pump.


The nurse on the left is a good facsimile of my boyhood memory of my Mom. She was an Emergency Room Register Nurse at Children's Hospital and also did duty at Mt Carmel in Columbus, Ohio. She would wash her white hat then starch and iron it, wash her white uniform and stockings and finish by polishing her white shoes. When she left to care for the sick, dressed in white, she would throw on her cape and depart.








1953 Divco Milk Delivery Truck.

    The signature green-and-yellow colors of Pleasant Hill Dairy milk trucks from Hermon bring to mind mid-20th Century when each diver had his own local route to drop off glass bottles of milk, cream and other products the housewife might need for the nest few days. At the same time, he picked up the empty bottles that had been left on the porch or steps for him. Pleasant Hill owner Carroll Pickard, who drove many a milk route himself, was pleased to have this truck restored and painted just right to help preserve the company's place in history. The driver had the option of operating the vehicle from either a standing or sitting position.

    Seeing this old milk truck brought back many childhood memories. These milk delivery trucks were common in many neighborhoods. They started their route in darkness and finished up by sunrise. You put three glass empty's out and received three full ones back. And if you wanted to change or add to the order there was sign to put in the empty and you would find your milk, eggs and butter on the porch when you went out in the morning to pick up your paper. Milk came in two choices - Homogenized and non-homogenized. The bottle with the non-homogenized milk would have the cream separated and sitting on top. This was poured off and used in coffee and cooking and the bottom part was the no-fat milk.

    Another good memory was riding in these milk delivery trucks. While in grade school I had a mate that lived on a dairy farm several miles down a country road from my home. It was a special treat to spend after school or summer vacations with Tim. His grandfather, dad and uncles ran the farm and dairy. His girl cousin in our grade lived next door. Being a farm there was plenty of work for everyone no matter what age. One of Tim's chores was to get the Ford tractor and hook up a trailer, drive over to the milk building and then load milk cans filled with milk waste. From there drive to the hogs feed trough. What fun to slop the pigs, each milk can could be different from the rest and mix together. Chocolate milk, white milk, cottage cheese and any number of colors. Those hogs eat good. I'll bet their bacon was delicious. If there was free time we would explore the garage were the trucks were kept and serviced. There was a pit in the floor to work on the undercarriage. At times Tim would need to move a truck. This grade school kid was able drive the trucks. The best part was that he could stand to drive so he was able to reach the peddles with no problem. Don't remember ever driving the milk trucks but Tim did teach me to drive the Ford tractor and they have been my favorite ever since.


    After criss-crossing this vast warehouse of treasures, we decide to explore the outdoor campus.






Photobomb again.

    The Lowell G. Kjenstad Memorial Bridge, a covered bridge dedicated on Aug. 20, 2014, honors the memory of the long-time curator who sorted cobblestones, drove antique tractors and provided founder Galen Cole with invaluable advice and help before and during the museum's first 24 years.


The covered bridge is a modified 1840s Howe Truss design very much like those built in that period.



    An 8-year-old boy named Allie Cole had neither horse nor wagon the day he left home in the early part of the 20th century, hoping to ease the financial burden on a mother with too many mouths to feed. He found his place first as a "bound-out" boy when taken in by a family in Enfield, some 35 miles above the city of Bangor. What Allie Cole started as a boy, hired to drive horse-drawn wagons in rural Maine, grew with his never-ending imagination to later provide year-round highway service - including winter snowplowing  - to Maine's northernmost Aroostook County.

    The company Allie Cole started in 1917, Cole Express, went on to provide service with 900 vechicles to the Northeast. One of Alle's sons, Galen, committed as a child to pursue the Coles Family exploits during his lifetime. Following his leadership of the Coles companies for decades, and with the help of family members, hundreds of employees and friends, a lifetime mission retaining and seeking out vehicles on wheels, skis and tracks has resulted in a national treasure.

    How was I to know that I would find so many happy memories in a warehouse deep in the woods of Maine.

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    Leaving Bangor we next head to Augusta via I-95 South. I was in the service with a young man from Bangor. He had a heavy brogue so you had to listen closely. I wonder if he ever returned to Bangor with his wife.


A load of Maine wood traveling down the interstate going to market.


Traveling south on I-95 between Bangor and Augusta.


    Having been born and raised in a capital city. they hold a special place in my psychic. When traveling, I check to see if I'll be near a capital and try to see it. On this trip I'll see three state's capitals. New York, Maine and Massachusetts. My count of capitals visited is 20.



State capital in Augusta, Maine

    From here we head south to Gardiner, ME.

Formerly a Maine Central station in Gardiner. ME.


Kennebec River next to the former station now a wellness center.




    Continuing south from Gardiner our next stop is at Bath.


Shipyard in Bath, ME.





Railroad lift bridge.

    From Bath we are on US 1 heading south to Freeport and our Best Western room. We stop at the on-site cafe for dinner. After our meal it's back to the room. This part of the county seems to roll up the sidewalks at sunset. But no problem we are ready for those soft pillows. Tomorrow is another busy day: A first visit to a second Portland and maybe a chance sighting of a former US President.

Next Chapter - Eighteen - Downeastern, Portland waterfront, Bus and Street car museum.

Return to last Chapter - Sixteen

Robin's trips

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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...