Bangorism–Maplewood Park

Take a closer look at Bangor’s people, places and events with “Bangorism”–a new feature from the Bangor Historical Society and REALTOR Tricia Quirk.

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Maplewood Park

Auditorium 1

The original Bangor Auditorium.

While it’s widely known that the new Cross Insurance Center is one of the anchors of Bangor’s growing entertainment district, did you know that the property where the arena sits is also the site of one of the Queen City’s first entertainment venues?

In 1849 harness racing debuted just outside of the city’s downtown in a place known as Maplewood Park. Bangor residents flocked to the races, walking along maple-tree lined Catell and March streets, past the Maplewood Hotel to the park’s entrance. It was those towering trees that gave the park and hotel their names.

Maplewood’s use increased in 1883 when former Mayor (1873) and publisher of the Bangor Daily Commercial Joseph Bass, Flavius Beal, the current Mayor, and Ezra Sterns saw an opportunity to promote the region’s vast agricultural resources with a larger event. It was that thinking that gave birth to the Eastern Maine State Fair.

Agricultural fairs had been held around the region for a number of years but none were to the scale of Bass, Beal and Sterns’ Eastern Maine State Fair. A success from the start, the event would become the Bangor State Fair. In 2015, the Fair celebrated its 132nd anniversary on the same site.

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Learn more about Bangor’s history in prior posts. Click here for the full archive.