Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the south-west border. In 1900 about 21% of the state's area was cleared, and much besides had once been cleared, but not being suited to agriculture had become reforested. Of fruit trees the chief is the apple. The plum, cherry and pear also thrive. The peach grows well only in the south-west near the border. Species of grape, gooseberry and currant are native, and others are cultivated with advantage. The blackberry, raspberry, blueberry and strawberry grow wild in profusion throughout the state.

Climate.—The climate of the state is moist and, for its latitude, cold. Extremes of temperature are not so great as farther inland in the same latitude; for the summer heats are tempered by the sea and the cool north winds, and the winter cold is so constant as to be less severely felt than the changing temperature of more southern districts. The summers are short, there being only about 4½ months between frosts even in the southern sections, and the mean summer temperature is about 62° F. The mean winter temperature is approximately 20° F., and the mean annual temperature for the entire state is 42° F., that for the north slope being about 5° F. less than that for the south slope. Although the temperature remains pretty steadily below the freezing point for at least three months of the year, many of the harbours remain unobstructed; for the tides and the prevailing off-shore winds break up and drive off the ice. The precipitation is about 42 in. annually, and is distributed very evenly throughout the year, 10-11 in. of rain or its equivalent in snow falling each season. During 4½ months about 44% of the precipitation is in the form of snow; but the snow-fall varies from about 60 in. on the coast to more than 100 in. on the north . The winds are variable; at no season of the year is it usual them to blow from the same direction for many days in succession. But, with the exception of those from the west, they are maritime and consequently moisture-bearing. In summer, especially in the latter part of it, the cool and moist N. or N.E. winds often cause a considerable part of the state to be enveloped in fog for several days in succession.

Agriculture.—The soil is for the most part glacial drift, containing a large mixture of clay with sand or gravel, and the sub-soil is mostly “hard-pan,” i.e. mingled clay and boulders which have been so much compressed by glacial action as to make the mixture hard and ledge-like. Except in the valley of the Aroostook and along the Kennebec, the Penobscot, and some other rivers, the soil is generally unfit for cultivation, there being too little alluvium mixed with it to make it fertile. In the Arroostook valley, however, is the largest undivided area of good arable land in all New England, the soil being a deep, porous, yellow loam well adapted to the growth of cereals and to market gardening. The most sterile regions are on the mountains and along the coast. Because of the cold climate, the large areas in which there is little or no good arable land, the growing demand for timber land, and the large and constant supply of water-power afforded by the principal rivers, agriculture in Maine, as in all the other New England states except Vermont, is a smaller industry than manufacturing; in 1900 there were 87,932 people engaged in manufacturing and only 76,932 engaged in agriculture. Only 32.9% of the state's land area was in that year included in farms, only 37.9% of this farm land was improved, and only 16.3% of the improved land was in crops other than hay and forage. Nevertheless, as indicated by the unusually large proportion of farmers who either own their farms or pay cash rent for them, farming usually is profitable. The number of farms in 1900 was 59,299; of these 18,644 contained between 50 and 100 and 17,191 contained between 100 and 175 acres, the average size being 106.2 acres; 54,263 (or 91.5%) were operated by their owners, 775 were operated by part owners, 2030 by cash tenants, and only 745 by share tenants. Beginning with the middle of the 19th century, the increasing competition of the more productive soils of the West, the growth of urban population in the state, and the number of summer visitors effected the reforesting of much poor land and the more intensive cultivation of the better arable land. The cultivation of cereals, for example, has given way to a marked extent in nearly all the farming districts except in Aroostook county to market gardening, dairying, and egg and poultry production. The number of dairy cows increased from 157,240 in 1890 to 183,000 in 1908, and the annual production of milk increased from 57,969,791 gallons in 1890 to 99,586,188 gallons in 1900. The number of other neat cattle (180,878 in 1900; 151,000 in 1908) decreased during every decade from 1860 to 1900; the number of sheep in 1900 was 427,209 (31.9% less than in 1890), and in 1908 it was 267,000; but the number of horses in 1890 and 1900 was about the same (140,310 in 1900, but only 116,000 in 1908). Hay is still by far the largest crop, the acreage of it and of forage in 1899 being 1,270,254 acres, or 76.5% of that of all crops, and the yield was 1,133,932 tons; in 1907 the acreage was 1,400,000 acres, and the crop was 2,100,000 tons. The acreage of cereals decreased from 187,013 in 1880, when agriculture in Aroostook county was little developed, to 166,896 in 1899, when the cereal acreage in Aroostook county alone was 82,069. Maine potatoes are of a superior quality, and the acreage of this crop increased from 49,617 in 1889 to 118,000 in 1907. Sweet Indian corn, cabbages, turnips, cucumbers and tomatoes are grown in large quantities. The fruit crop consists very largely of apples and strawberries (1,421,773 bushels of apples and 1,066,860 quarts of strawberries in 1899). The output of eggs increased from 9,369,534 dozen in 1889 to 13,304,150 dozen in 1899. The most productive dairy section of the state is a belt extending from the south-west corner N.E. entirely across the state and embracing the whole or parts of the counties of York, Oxford, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Penobscot and Aroostook.

Lumber Industry.—Except in the remote parts, the valuable white pine, for which Maine was long noted, has been cut; but the woodland of the state was estimated in 1900 at 23,700 sq. m. or 79% of its area. The tendency is for this area to increase, for the establishment between 1890 and 1900 of large paper and pulp mills on some of the principal rivers of the south slope greatly increased the value of forests, especially those of spruce and poplar. The state makes large appropriations for preventing and extinguishing forest fires, and in 1903 established a department of forestry in the university of Maine. Good spruce, which is by far the most valuable timber in the state and is used most largely for the manufacture of paper and pulp, stands in large quantities in the St John, Penobscot, Androscoggin and Kennebec basins. Poplar, also used for the manufacture of paper, abounds in several sections of the south slope, but is most abundant in the basin of the Kennebec. White birch, used largely for the manufacture of spools, is found throughout a wide belt extending across the middle of the state. There is much cedar on the north slope. Oak, maple and beech are rather scarce. A new growth of white pine and other timber is gradually becoming valuable. The value of the timber product increased from $11,849,654 in 1890 to $13,489,401 in 1900, and to $17,937,683 in 1905.

Fisheries.—Fishing has always been an important industry in Maine. From 1901 to 1904 inclusive, the average annual catch, amounted to 195,335,646 ℔, and its average value was $5,557,083. In 1908, according to state reports, the catch was 185,476,343 ℔, valued at $3,849,900. Herrings are caught in largest quantities, (in 1908, according to state reports, 68,210,800 ℔, valued at $450,665), and Maine is noted for the canning of the smaller herrings under the name of “sardines.” In 1908, according to state reports, the take of lobsters was 17,635,980 ℔, valued at $1,558,252. Maine markets more clams than any other state in the Union, and the catches of cod, hake, haddock, smelt, mackerel, swordfish, shad, pollock, cusk, salmon, alewives, eels and halibut are of importance. The scallop fishery is becoming more and more valuable. For the protection and promotion of the lobster fishery the United States government has established a lobster hatchery at Boothbay Harbor; and the state legislature enacted a law in 1895 prohibiting the taking of lobsters less than 10½ in. in length (one effect of this law being to drive the lobster-canning industry from the state) and another law in 1903 for the protection of lobsters, with eggs attached. This latter law directs the state fish commissioner to purchase such lobsters whenever caught and either to liberate them or to sell them to the United States for keeping in a fish hatchery.

Minerals.—The principal mineral products are granite, limestone, slate, clay products and mineral waters. In 1905 Maine held first rank among the states of the Union as a producer of granite, the value of the output being $2,713,795. In 1907 Maine's granite was valued at $2,146,420, that of Massachusetts at $2,328,777, and that of Vermont at $2,693,889. The stone is of superior quality, and the largest part of it is used for building purposes; much of it is used as paving blocks and some for monuments. It abounds all along the coast east of the Kennebec and on the adjacent islands, and is found farther inland, especially about the Rangeley lakes in Franklin and Oxford counties, and, near Mt Katahdin, in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. The principal quarries, however, are situated in positions most convenient for shipment by water, in the vicinity of Penobscot bay and in Kennebec county, and these have supplied the bulk of the material used in the construction of many prominent buildings and monuments in the United States. The Fox Island granite comes from the quarries on Vinalhaven Island and the surrounding islands, and on Vinalhaven, were quarried monolithic columns 51.5 to 54 ft. long and 6 ft. in diameter for the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. Black granite was quarried in 1907 at 12 quarries, in York, Lincoln, Waldo, Penobscot and Washington counties. Limestone abounds, especially in the south-east part of the state, but it is quarried chiefly in Knox county. As its colour—blue and blue-black streaked with white renders it undesirable for building purposes, nearly all of it is burned into lime, which has become a very important article of manufacture in the city of Rockland; the industry dates back to 1733 in Knox county. In 1907 the quantity of lime burned in Maine was 159,494 tons and its value was $747,947. Slate is quarried chiefly in Piscataquis county, most of it being used for roofing, but some for blackboards; in 1907 the amount quarried in Maine was valued at $236,106. About 1896 some remarkably white and pure feldspar began to be quarried in Androscoggin, Oxford and Sagadahoc counties, but afterwards the spar mined in Maine was of less excellent quality; in 1907 the production in Maine was valued at $157,334, the total for the entire country being; $499,069. Clay is obtained in various places, and in 1905 the total value of the clay products was $619,294. In Oxford county