Belfast Area
Maine

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The Mall on High Street
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Belfast 1980's & 90's

Belfast Maine, Main Street
Belfast Maine, Main Street
Belfast Maine, Main Street
Belfast Maine, Main Street
Belfast Maine, Main Street
Belfast Maine, Main Street




Belfast, Maine

Belfast was settled in 1770, and named after Belfast, Ireland. The village was mostly abandoned during the Revolution while British forces occupied Bagaduce (now Castine). The British military burned Belfast in 1779, then held it for five days in September 1814 during the War of 1812.

Following the war, the seaport rebuilt and thrived. It was a port of entry, and designated county seat of Waldo County in 1827, although land would be set off in 1845 to form part of Searsport. Belfast was incorporated in 1853 as a city, the 8th in Maine. It developed into a shipbuilding center, producing hundreds of three, four and five masted schooners. Materials for wooden boat construction were shipped down the Penobscot River from Bangor, the lumber capital of North America during the later 19th century.

Shipbuilders became wealthy, and built the Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate mansions and civic architecture for which the city is noted, including the 1818 First Church by master-builder Samuel French, and the 1857 Custom House and Post Office by noted architect Ammi B. Young. Wooden ship construction would fade about 1900, but with the advent of refrigeration, the local economy shifted to harvesting seafood, including lobsters, scallops, sardines, herrings and mackerel for the Boston and New York markets.

A county wide connection to the main line of the Maine Central Railroad at Burnham 33-miles inland from Belfast was established by the largely city-owned Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad with its opening in 1871. For the first 55 years the line was operated under lease by the MEC as its Belfast Branch but its operation reverted to the B&ML on January 1, 1926, when the lease was terminated by the larger road. Regular passenger service ended in 1960, and all operations in Belfast of any kind ceased in 2005, when the main yard was torn up. In 2011 the grounds of the former B&ML main yard and adjacent Stinson Seafood factory became the site of the Front Street Shipyard.

After World War II, shoe manufacture became an important business then the poultry industry. Two of the state's larger processors, Maplewood and Penobscot Poultry were located in Belfast. Waldo County farms supplied the factories with up to 200,000 birds a day. The annual Broiler Festival became a popular summer event, attracting both local people and tourists. The poultry business collapsed in the mid-1970s during a national recession, devastating the city and surrounding towns. There followed an exodus of people seeking employment prospects elsewhere from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In the early 1990s, credit-card giant MBNA established two facilities in Belfast, one considerably larger than the other. The company was instrumental in rebuilding the city. It tore down old asbestos laden buildings, created parks and established the Hutchinson Center of the University of Maine, an outpost of the University of Maine System, less than a mile from the main MBNA campus. Bank of America aquired MBNA and consolidated former operations in the larger of the two facilities. The smaller complex was taken over by athenahealth.

See also Belfast Early History
Sources: wikipedia, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, City of Belfast, etc.

1990 Belfast postcard mailed to New York Corporations
High Street Mall postcard mailed to New York Corporations in 1993

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Belfast Maine, Harbor Festival

Belfast Maine, Harbor Festival

Belfast Maine, Harbor Festival

Belfast Maine, Harbor Festival

Belfast Maine, Harbor Festival

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