Maine is the dome of New England, situated in the northeast corner of the United States, extending like a wedge into the Dominion of Canada, which it faces along a frontier of about 500 miles. Only one state has a longer line of contact with Canada. As a whole the state is nearly due west of Central Europe, due north of Venezuela; about half of its territory is further north than Montreal.
The total area of the state is 33,040 sq. miles. It is the 35th in rank among the states of the Union, midway in size between Indiana and South Carolina, very nearly half the total area of New England. It is just about three times the size of Belgium, or twice the size of Switzerland. The line of greatest length in the state would extend from Chicago to Lexington in one direction, or nearly to St. Paul in the opposite direction.
Maine is situated on the southern flank of the Laurentian Mountains and its surface features are controlled by the fact. The interior of the state is a timbered mass of rounded hills of granite, for the most part heavily wooded. Being a part of the oldest land surface on the continent, the erosive power of water acting through long ages has cut many winding valleys, left numerous lake areas, and is the explanation of the peculiarly indented coast. The action of ice during the glacial age emphasized all these features.
Through settlements along the coast of Maine go back to very early times, yet the state has not developed its resources. Lacking only 344 square miles of being as large as the rest of New England, its population is only about one-tenth as great; Massachusetts being nearly nine times, Rhode Island nearly twenty times as densely settled. The new economic age now dawning will utilize the great natural resources of Maine, and no doubt a great development is at hand.
Water power is the “white coal” of the future, and a country blessed with an abundance of water power is sure of coming prosperity. In 1908 Maine was third among the states having developed water power, first among the New England states. It is said by geologists that the state has unrivalled possibilities in this matter. It is estimated that enough power could be developed to run every railroad in New England and operate every factory in that section. This resource can be made a greater asset to Maine than coal is to Pennsylvania.
Seventy-five percent of the area of Maine is forested, and lumber products, -- including paper and pulp – is the greatest industry, in the state, amounting to about $50,000,000 yearly. The yearly growth of timber nearly equals the loss. Under a judicious system of forestry the timber can be so conserved that a still larger use can be made of the forests. Owing to the natural features of the state the larger part of this forest area cannot be used for agriculture and it will remain a great natural resource to the state.
Improved methods in agriculture are being introduced and the state is said to rank first in the yield per acre and quality of potatoes and sweet corn. Aroostook County in the northern part of the state, is one of the great potato sections of the United States. Seed potatoes are sent from there to all parts of the Union. In 1825 the crop in that section was one and a half million bushels; in 1915 fourteen and a half million bushels.
The “See America First” movement was greatly influenced by the European War. No part of the world excels in scenic interest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Even before the war it was estimated that 500,000 persons from outside the state spent a great part of their summer in Maine and brought into the state about $25,000,000 yearly. The development of tourists’ patronage is one of the recognized industries of Maine. An organized effort is now being made to increase the tide of travel by building good roads, and opening sections of great scenic attractions.
Maine is the greatest producer of feldspar, third in the production of granite, eighth in the value of lime and cement. Slate of excellent quality is found and there are beds of porcelain clay and of sand suitable for glass. There are small deposits of iron, zinc, and tin, with traces of silver and gold.
The Home and School Reference Work, A Library of Practical, Authoritive Information Drawn From Every Department of Human Knowledge, Volume IX, Perpetual Encyclopedia Corporation, Chicago, 1915 and 1923, Pages 3933-34. Contributed to this site by Bob Franks.
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