Like most small Maine towns, Houlton is a town of unique features, talented people.

And adapting to a changing World economy and embracing technology is part of the riding the information wave into the future. Service providing and the shift from working on the Maine farms and in the deep vast woods by hand is underway.

Houlton Maine Early Years, History.
Houlton Maine, Shiretown of Aroostook County. The Early Years.

The past of Houlton Maine is a rich one as an earlier blog post on the County Seat Or “Shiretown”, the oldest town in Aroostook County outlines.

The archives of Houlton Maine history show colorfully in the jounalistic prose of the time about the hardships of picking up from comfortable surroundings. And heading into the unknown wilds of the Great North Maine Woods.

The history of farming in Aroostook County is a rich one. And the youth exposed to farming benefit the most in life skills and perseverance. The industry of children shown in this potato picking video, another one on potato house work say it all. Fresh air, working together to harvest the new crop of spuds or whatever the farm field yields from the seeds of spring. That drive and determination to stick with it carries a person for life.

But today, building on the past, with stories preserved, the history capsuled in museums, on website meanderings can be part of the tourism effort in Maine.

As folks seek to go deep into the interior and northern, western sections of Maine beyond the traditional sea coastal area tourist traps. The Patten Lumberman’s Museum is another example of a history lesson available to all who enters it’s doors or accesses the site in this Northern Penobscot County out post town.

aroostook county potato farming field photo
Potatoes Were King, Northern Maine Planted More, Harvest The Most At One Time.

The railroad opened up the Northern sections of Maine and connected the industries to the markets needing the farming produce, meat, dairy and lumbering products. Take a ride on a train leaving the Oakfield Maine’s Railroad Museum … hurry. All aboard.

Homesteading never did die down since Joseph Houlton led the charge to this new land on the Canadian border cut out in six by six mile tidy uniform township squares.

Laid out in easy to follow grid work of township this, range that designations.

The Internet opens up the ability to telecommute to an online job far from Maine where the worker does not want to live. And today does not need to as they beam a signal from Maine to wherever the other end of the connection may be on the globe.

The early days of a small Maine town like Houlton were more local happenings.

Less of the jump in your car and run the roads to a larger population to sample the wares of their stores. Slower moving trains, no super highways, no Amazon to order from online and expect delivery without what seems like hours, not days or weeks. Pilots of private planes fly into these small airports that dot the Maine landscape. Or bolt on pontoons so they become float planes and can touch down and lift off from Maine’s many water front recreational options.

market square houlton maine
Two Theaters, Market Square In Houlton Maine Was A Busy Place. Everything Was Local, In The Community Of Small Maine Towns.

Speaking of planes, the silver birds, Loring Air Force Base provided over forty years of service protecting the skies of the wild blue yonder of Northern Maine.

Defending our borders, the freedom of the United States from the upper right hand corner of a small town called Limestone. That was the shortest hop over the north pole where Santa lives to keep an eye on Russia, the Middle East back when relations where cold, strained, and neither countries were sending the other a Christmas card.

And after LAFB was moth balled, other uses with DFAS hummer repair, payroll checks and that’s right. A few Phish concerts with 60,000 music lovers heading north up into the “County”. A few going too far on I-95 and taking the VW micro bus into Canada, beyond exit 305. Over the border beyond Houlton International Airport (KHUL) that was a busier place during lend lease during World War Two when German POW’s got paid helping the local potato farmers get the crop into storage.

And Cole’s Express, other trucking outfits helped open up the down country markets to local agriculture and lumbering concerns in Northern Maine.

Providing something the trains could not with the iron horses. Overnight service for the now business model of “just in time” inventory control.

Coles Express got its start with snow plowing back when winter’s provided more white stuff before the effects of global warming. Lots of songs about trucking in Maine like through the Haynesville Woods  penned and performed by Dave Dudley of Fort Fairfield, in central Aroostook County.

Home theatre media rooms rather than putting on your hat and coat and hitting the silver screen munching on a fresh pop bucket of corn and your favorite sugar snack. Vacations to second, third and more homes that are ready and waiting but infrequently used. More for the collection than putting down roots as today’s public more affluent but still restless and gypsy like. Finding it hard to sit still for long. The could be missing something and like to be kept entertained.

early houlton maine hotels, places to stay.
No Motel 6, No Howard Johnson Or Day’s Inn Back When In Small Maine Towns. Lots Of Local, No Franchise Chain Hotels To Stay in Northern Maine Towns.

Aroostook County is known for its Acadian culture, the tongue sliding back and forth into French and English in the St John River Valley.

That hugs the International border and has strong cross boundary cultural ties with Canada’s New Brunswick and Quebec Provinces. The trip to Northern Maine truly is a two nation vacation.

Ever snow sledded in Maine, up into the Valley where the trails are like super highways, smooth and well marked? Take your snow sled to dining and dancing and motel options heading through Shin Pond, Oxbow, Masardis weaving along with Rt 11 to the Crown of Maine.

Explore and Discover Northern Maine. Don’t neglect or leave any area of this great state out of the running for spending time and getting to know the locals, their local history and rich traditions. Learn the early history as you enjoy the current recreational and outdoor beauty.

Like who was Henry C. Merriam and why is he famous in Houlton Maine history? Did you ever hear of a famous young girl named Samantha Smith who died too young but did so much? Samantha was from Houlton Maine, dying in a Bar Harbor Airlines fatal plane crash at age thirteen. The Amazeen home is where and why was it built in Houlton Maine? Or for ten points, where was the trans Atlantic radio station transmission antennae located in Houlton Maine? I have seen signs of that handiwork that helped the World War Two effort because I lived a quarter mile from the transmitter site and remains are still in the North Maine woods of Aroostook County.

All the stuff the slick four color high gloss tri-fold travel brochures leave out in the condense it down to a few lines of buzz words and the usual over used eye candy. The same angles, photos, captions that get tiresome in the copy and paste, hit print or send. Let’s take it all up a notch.

Meet the small town friendly locals, perched sitting on a lunch counter stool or getting your hair cut or twisted and just ask, listen, learn. 

Always a colorful rendition of the local history with a unique spin on the early adventures of the new to this land explorers that through nip and tuck situations did finally open up this northern Maine section of woods, water, wildlife.

Come see for yourself and experience the hidden gems, the small Maine towns that all offer memorable stays if you can clear the schedule to get to Vacationland.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 | |

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730

Close Menu
scroll to top