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John Martin: Expert Observer

First electric railroad car in Bangor, 1889

Contributed by Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum
MMN Item 100952 Item Details
First electric railroad car in Bangor, 1889
MMN Item 100952 Zoom

Description

The first electric railroad -- or trolley -- began operating in Bangor in 1889. John Martin (1823-1904), an accountant and shopkeeper, first saw the electric railroad in operation on July 4, 1889 and drew this illustration of it.

Martin was working at Katahdin Iron Works near Brownville when the trolley began operating early in the year, and wrote, "when I was in Bangor July the 4th I had the pleasure of seeing the 4 cars which was run on that day I was told from day break until 12 midnight of the sights I have seen I count this as one of the finest, to see a car literally packed as they were all day & evening chiefly by strangers riding for fun and sake of saying they had – had a ride in a car propeled by no visible power."

His description and the illustration are on page 28 of a scrapbook he wrote in 1888-1889. He went on to describe how the trolley operated.

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