How Well Do You Know Maine?
Take our quiz to see if you can really call yourself an expert in all things Maine.
- Illustrations by: Michael Ricci
1 Where will you find a forty-mile-long scale model of the solar system?
2 Who was the seven-time Women’s Maine State Golf Association champ?
3 What wildlife refuge is located on part of the former Loring Air Force Base?
4 Who was Bill “Rough” Carrigan?
5 How many islands make up the Cranberry Isles?
6 What is the significance of the white pine’s cone and tassel?
7 What president played golf at Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor?
8 Why did the English mark white pine trees with an arrow?
9 What state tried to claim the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard?
10 What is the Fernald Law?
11 Where is the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in the Northeast?
12 Who were the Red Paint People?
13 Where was the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War?
14 Where in Maine can you stand halfway between the equator and the North Pole?
15 Who was the first woman elected to both houses of Congress?
16 What is the name of one of the world’s largest whirlpools?
17 What is Abbie Burgess famous for?
18 What is the Desert of Maine?
19 What lighthouse is used in the 1999 movie Snow Falling on Cedars?
20 What is a motor iceboat?
21 Where is the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard?
22 Who won the world singles champion in candlepin bowling in 1967 and 1978?
23 Where is Gulf Hagas?
24 What is the name of the stadium that was a gift to Bangor from Stephen and Tabitha King?
25 Where is the world’s largest revolving globe?
26 What is a “sea parrot”?
27 When was Maine admitted to the Union?
28 At what age did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow publish his first poem?
29 What Maine vessel crossed the Arctic Circle in 1921?
30 What is the official state soil?
31 True or False: Lobster were once so abundant in Maine, they could be caught by spearfishing in the shallows.
32 How tall is the Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor?
33 What is shed hunting? (No, it’s not a search for storage space.)
34 What’s the best-selling liquor in Maine?
35 How is “Calais” pronounced?
36 Why does Farmington celebrate Chester Greenwood Day every winter?
37 What or who is Moxie?
38 Who invented the common mousetrap?
39 Where do the first rays of the rising sun hit in the United States?
40 Who was Passamaquoddy native Moses Neptune?
41 What was the Stanley Steamer? (Hint: It was not a new rice cooker.)
42 Who won the first women’s Olympic marathon?
43 What other names were considered for the state of Maine after it split from Massachusetts in 1820?
44 Who received the first Registered Maine Guide license?
45 What does the state’s motto, Dirigo, mean?
46 Name Maine’s sixteen counties.
47 Why are the islands of Casco Bay called the Calendar Islands?
48 On what island is Captain Kidd’s treasure reportedly buried?
49 What is the smallest Maine county?
50 What was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s inspiration for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
51 How long is Maine’s coast — really?
52 How many species of mosquitoes are native to Maine?
53 Is it true that Maine has no venomous snakes?
54 What is the significance of the Maine Penny?
55 Where is the nation’s oldest surviving wooden fort?
56 What does the statue of Wisdom on the State House hold in her hands?
1 Solar system: Along Route 1, between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Houlton Information Center at the end of Interstate 95.
2 Golf champ: Abby Spector Kershner of Waterville. Her playing career was curtailed after complications from heart surgery affected her motor skills and vision. Since then, she has been a golf course assistant pro and was inducted in the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
3 Wildlife refuge: Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1998 when 4,700 acres were transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge also administers some 2,400 wetland conservation easements throughout Aroostook County.
4 Bill Carrigan: He was a catcher and manager for the Boston Red Sox, leading them to two World Series wins in 1915 and 1916. On his pitching roster for those two wins was Babe Ruth.
5 Cranberry Isles: Five islands: Bear, Sutton, Baker, Great Cranberry, and Little Cranberry, also known as Islesford.
6 Cone and tassel: It is Maine’s state flower and was adopted by the state legislature in 1895. The tree’s needles are soft, flexible, and bluish-green to silvery green and are arranged in bundles of five.
7 Kebo Valley: In 1911, William Taft played the course, taking twenty-seven strokes to complete the par-4 seventeenth hole. It has since been called the Taft Hole.
8 English arrow: Because of a shortage of trees in Britain for ship masts, a 1691 English law required Colonial pines measuring twenty-four inches or more in diameter within three miles of water to be marked with an arrow, reserving them for the Royal Navy.
9 Portsmouth shipyard: Although Seavey Island was long deemed to be in Kittery, a claim by New Hampshire that it rightly belonged to Portsmouth was resolved in Maine’s favor in 2001 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
10 Fernald Law: In 1909, the Maine Legislature passed the Fernald Law, making it illegal to export hydroelectric power outside state boundaries. The law was designed to boost Maine businesses while dampening competition from factories and mills in Massachusetts.
11 Longest whitewater: The Dead River. It provides sixteen miles of whitewater through remote timber country. Among its many rapids, Poplar Hill Falls is the longest and offers a memorable one-mile run of churning, fast-moving water. Rafters frequently run the river from just below Grand Falls, through Class IV and V rapids, to the confluence of the Kennebec River in The Forks.
12 Red Paint People: They lived more than four thousand years ago along the coast of Maine and in a few other northeastern locations. They were so named because their gravesites contain quantities of brilliant red ocher, a mineral from which paint can be made.
13 First naval battle: It occurred in 1775 off the coast of Machias, near Fort O’Brien, when the British ship Margaretta was captured by American patriots.
14 Equator and North Pole: Perry. In 1888, U.S. Geological Survey employees in Maine, establishing a line of coastal “benchmarks,” placed an additional temporary marker at the point where the 45-degree line of latitude crosses Route 1 in Perry.
15 Elected to houses of Congress: Margaret Chase Smith.
16 Largest whirlpool: Old Sow, which lies off the shore of Eastport. People who successfully cross its roiling waters automatically become members of the Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors’ Association.
17 Abbie Burgess: She tended lighthouses for thirty-eight years at Matinicus Rock and the White Head Light stations.
18 Desert of Maine: A forty-acre sand dune near Freeport. It has been a tourist attraction since 1917 and was the result of poor farming practices two centuries ago that destroyed the topsoil, exposing the glacially deposited sand below.
19 Lighthouse in movie: Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. (Although the film is set in the Pacific Northwest.)
20 Motor iceboat: A forerunner of the snowmobile.
21 Highest point: 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain.
22 Candlepin bowling: Dot Petty of Portland.
23 Gulf Hagas: Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Maine, it is a four-mile-long gorge within the Hundred Mile Wilderness east of Moosehead Lake, replete with waterfalls, chutes, and pools.
24 Bangor stadium: The Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium. It is named for a Bangor youth who lost his battle with cerebral palsy.
25 Largest revolving globe: At the DeLorme Mapping Co. in Yarmouth. Named Eartha, the globe is housed in a three-story glass atrium and measures forty-one feet in diameter.
26 Sea parrot: The Atlantic puffin. The bird is called that because of its colorful, parrot-like beak.
27 Admitted to Union: In 1820, as the twenty-third state.
28 Longfellow: His first poem was published by a local newspaper at age thirteen.
29 Arctic Circle: The schooner Bowdoin. It was built in 1921 and is owned and operated today by the Maine Maritime Academy.
30 State soil: Chesuncook, derived from glacial sediment and widespread in northern Maine. It has good texture and drainage qualities.
31 Lobster: True.
32 Paul Bunyan: The legendary (and mythical) woodsman’s statue in Bass Park stands thirty-one feet high.
33 Shed hunting: Each year deer and moose shed their antlers in fall and early winter and if you find one you get a trophy for your den.
34 Best-selling liquor: Allen’s Coffee Brandy.
35 “Calais” pronounced: The city of Calais, despite being named for the French channel port, sounds like callous. In other name news, Bangor is Bang-gore, Damariscotta is Dam-ur-scotta, and the town next to Biddeford is pronounced Sah-co. Old timers agree that you don’t pronounce the second “w” in Woolwich (it’s an English thing). Madrid is pronounced MAD-rid, not Ma-DRID, and Vienna is Vy-enna, not Vee-enna.
36 Chester Greenwood Day: Greenwood invented earmuffs in the western mountain town in 1873.
37 Moxie: Druggist Augustin Thompson, of Union, concocted Moxie as a “nerve tonic” in 1876. The odd-tasting soft drink — now made in Atlanta — is honored each summer with a Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls.
38 Invented mousetrap: Sangerville native Hiram Maxim, who also invented the machine gun.
39 Rays of sun hit: It varies. For part of late fall and winter, the first rays of sunlight strike Cadillac Mountain. For much of spring and summer, Mars Hill is the first part of the U.S. mainland to see the sun. West Quoddy Head gets its chance for a few weeks in June and December.
40 Moses Neptune: Neptune reportedly was the last Allied soldier killed before the World War I truce of November 11, 1918, took effect in France. He was downed by a bullet from a sniper as the bells were ringing to signal the armistice.
41 Stanley Steamer: The Stanley “Steamer” was a steam-powered automobile developed by twins Francis Edgar Stanley (1849–1918) and Freelan O. Stanley (1849–1940), born in Kingfield. Francis died in 1918 when he drove his car into a woodpile while attempting to avoid a farm wagon.
42 Won Olympic marathon: Freeport native Joan Benoit Samuelson, at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
43 Other names for Maine: Ligonia and Columbia.
44 First guide: Ms. Cornelia Thurza “Flyrod” Crosby on March 19, 1897.
45 State’s motto: “I lead.”
46 Sixteen counties: Aroostook, Franklin, Piscataquis, Somerset, Penobscot, Washington, Oxford, Androscoggin, Kennebec, York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Hancock.
47 Why called Calendar Islands? Early explorers claimed there were as many islands as there were days in the year, and the myth persists today. The United States Coast Pilot lists 136 islands. Other sources claim about 220, depending on what is counted as an island.
48 Buried treasure: Jewell Island in Casco Bay is most commonly mentioned as the pirate’s hiding place, but before he was hanged he gave his wife a piece of paper with the numbers 44-10-66-18, which have been interpreted as the latitude and longitude of Deer Isle. Richmond Island and Squirrel Island have also been mentioned.
49 Smallest county: Sagadahoc, at 254 square miles.
50 Stowe’s inspiration: Stowe was sitting in pew twenty-three of the First Parish Church in Brunswick when she reportedly had a vision of a slave’s death.
51 Length of coast: Depends on who you ask. The Maine Geological Survey estimates that if Maine’s jagged coastline were stretched out straight, it would run about 3,480 miles. The Maine State Planning Office says 5,300 miles, counting all tidal waterways. As the crow flies, Maine’s coast is 230 miles long.
52 Number of mosquitoes: Although sometimes it seems like millions, Maine is home to about twenty species of human-biting mosquitoes.
53 Venomous snakes: Yes. Though a small number of timber rattlesnakes, considered transient, have been spotted in southernmost Maine, the state is considered the only one of the Lower 48 to have no native venomous snakes.
54 Maine Penny: It’s a Norwegian silver penny found in 1957 at the archeological remains of an American Indian settlement at Naskeag Point on Penobscot Bay. The coin is one of the few pre-Columbian Norse artifacts found in the United States and is generally regarded to be genuine.
55 Oldest fort: Old Fort Western in Augusta. It was built in 1754 as a fortified storehouse to support Fort Halifax to the north.
56 Statue of Wisdom: Minerva holds a pine-bough torch in her right hand and a pine cone in her left.
- Illustrations by: Michael Ricci