History of Houlton, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886

Houlton, the shire town of Aroostook County, is situated on the eastern border of Maine, about half way between Calais and Grand Falls on the St. John, near the north-eastern angle of Maine. It is 250 miles from Portland, via the old “Military Road” from Bangor. The New Brunswick and Canada Railway terminates here; and hence start the stage-routes to Caribou, Presqne Isle, Fort Fairfield, Linneus, Danforth and Patten, in Maine, and Woodstock, in New Brunswick. The town is bounded on the north by Littleton, south by Hodgdon, west by New Limerick, and east by Richmond, in New Brunswick. In the north-western part of the town are two large “Horse-backs;” but the surface generally lies in large swells. The soil is a deep. rich loam, underlaid by clay, and yielding abundantly of the usual farm crops of the region. The Maduxnekeag River, a branch of the St. John, flows from south-west to north-east through the midst of the town. Bog, Moose and Cook Brooks, tributaries of the Meduxnekeag, are the other principal streams. The powers on the river are known as the Cary, Page and Madigan, Ham, Logan, Mansur, Cressey, and Houlton water-powers. The manufacturing is chiefly on the Cary power in the south-western part of the town, and on the Cressey and Houlton powers, at Houlton Village, a little south of the centre of the town. There are two cheese-factories, two or more starch-factories, a canning-factory, a woollen-mill, four lumber-mills, three flour-mills, one tannery, two iron-foundries and machine-shops, two printing-offices, and a sash, blind and door-factory. Other manufactures are bark-extract, harnesses, boots and shoes, carriages, marble-work, cigars, etc. Houlton is the centre of trade for the county, and is a busy and thrifty town. The village has many handsome residences, and there are several well-shaded and very attractive streets. The Houlton Savings Bank, in May, 1881, held $60,000 in deposits, from its 500 depositors. There are two lively newspapers published in the village, the “Aroostook Pioneer,” and the “Aroostook Times.” The first is an excellent county newspaper for the family circle; the other is independent in politics, and has done good service for the community in which it is published. The Houlton Academy has done noble service in the cause of education. Many who have already gone out from its walls have achieved distinction in their callings; and there is every reason to hope that its future work will surpass that of its earlier period. The building is a good one, and occupies ample grounds.

The first settlers of Houlton were two families named Houlton and Putnam, who removed hither from Massachusetts about 1807. The town was incorporated March 8, 1831, taking the name of one of these first settlers. In 1830, a military station was established here by the national government, but the troops were removed in 1847, during the war with Mexico, and the place has not been re-garrisoned. The barracks occupy a position on the outskirts of the village near the railway station; but are now greatly fallen to decay. The Aroostook County meridian line is established on the eastern side of the parade ground. A soldier’s cemetery is near by. Nearer the village, on the south side, is a large trotting-park where many interesting shows have been held.

The county court-house and jail occupy a central position in the village. Near by is Liberty Hall, the place of public entertainments in their variety. The town has a building exclusively for its own use nearer the river. The attractive Free Baptist church and parsonage occupy a pleasant lot adjoining the academy grounds. The Baptists have a good church and parsonage on a neighboring street, and the Roman Catholies have a good church and ample grounds near the railroad station. The town has also organized churches of the Congregation alists, Unitarians, Methodists, and Episcopalians. Houlton has nine public schoolhouses; and the entire public school property in land and buildings is valued at $1,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $681,646. In 1880 it was $725,469. The population in 1870 was 2,850. In 1880 it was 3,228.

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