BANGOR – Downtown Bangor is growing but many may not know the cities history.
In the mid 1800s Bangor was filled with class struggles, spotty law enforcement and a booming industrial hot-bed in a place known as the “Devil’s Half-Acre.”
One participant stated “We’ve wanted to do this tour for so long. We’ve heard about it and read about it, and tonight was the night we decided we were just going to do it.”
You may walk by historic areas of Bangor and not think about how far the city has come. Well a group of curious locals and visitors got a living history tour Wednesday from the Bangor Historical Society about the prominent and rough lives here in the 19th century.
Tour guide Fan Jones said “There were fancy people up on the hill, but down near the water in the “Devil’s Half-Acre” is where the real action was happening.”
Our guide, “Fan,” (portrayed by Nancy Thomas) is a successful madam in the old city. She described a thriving industrial workforce and classic homes that still stand today. “You’ll notice that kind of architecture as we go through the city.”
And despite Maine prohibiting alcohol in 1951, there was a staggering number of bars. Another participant quipped “When she said 200, I was imagining what that would be like.”
Some come out for pure enjoyment, while others look to pass the history on to the next generation. A teacher who joined in the walk stated “My students, we hope to take them on a modified Devil’s Half-Acre tour in a couple weeks, so I wanted to learn what I could bring into my classroom.
Fan concluded “Without knowing our history, we can’t really plot our way to the future now can we?”