HOME: The Story of Maine

"Trails, Rails, and Roads"
Lesson 2: Road Tripping - Transportation - History on the Road

Student Worksheet

This activity is based on a lesson called "Using Road Maps: The North Dakota Ethnic Trip," by Mathew Misialek, Carrington High School, Carrington North Dakota. The activity was prepared using the American Automobile Associationís road map of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, 1995.

Using your road map, follow the instructions listed below. Fill in the blanks as you go. Pay special attention to the information about each of the stops along the way.

1. There's a car rental agency in Portland. Choose your favorite make and model and let's go! We'll travel first to Fryeburg, like the Ezekiel Merrill family did in 1788. From Portland, take Route 25 west to Route 113. What kind of road is Route 25, according to the map legend?

2. Now, take 113 north to Fryeburg. Continue north to Gilead, then east on Route 2 to Bethel. This is the same trail that the Merrill family took to Andover so many years ago, climbing to heights of over 1,400 feet and fording rivers to get to their destination. This road was paved in 1935, but it remains relatively isolated; it is still not cleared in the wintertime. Name another possible route to take from Fryeburg to Andover.

3. Many years after the Merrills traveled through the wilderness to Andover, a railroad company hired John Brickett to survey the same trail. Brickett, who lived there, and liked the isolation of the place, decided to protect the spot from development. According to the video, what did he do?

4. Follow Route 2 west to Rumford. Name the two towns near Rumford on the Androscoggin River that share names with other countries.

5. Keep traveling on Route 2 west for 24 miles, until you get to where a branch of the University of Maine is located. The Sandy River Narrow Gauge Railroad used to come through this town. Narrow gauge railroad tracks were small enough to navigate the more mountainous terrain of western Maine. Many of the narrow gauge lines (which were usually branch lines) were originally built to haul raw materials such as lumber or potatoes.

6. Follow Route 2 west for another 26 miles, until 2 intersects with Route 201. Take 201 south to Interstate 95. This interstate was built after World War II, making Maine the second state in the country to build a modern toll road. Name the city that is closest to the junction of 201 and 95.

7. Follow 95 north to Bangor, the city Franklin Cram was from. Cram and Albert Burleigh of Houlton built a railroad line in 1891 that became known as the "railroad the potatoes built." This railroad helped bring development to Aroostook County. It also helped transport potatoes from Aroostook County to many markets in New England. What is the name of the railroad, according to the video?

8. Keep following 95 north into Aroostook County. When the botanist Kate Furbish traveled to this part of Maine in 1881, she wrote:

The country was a vast wilderness. The driver of the stage said that there were probably no houses west of the road until one reached Canada. The road itself was alarming because recent "repair" work had left ditches as deep as ravines on both sides. There were fine views of Mount Katahdin, and long stretches through dense forests where silence itself seemed the only presence.

Roads like this made it very difficult for people who lived in Aroostook County to travel. The railroad and, later, the Interstate changed this. What is the name of the last city on 95 that you drive through before you get to Canada?

9. What road off of 95 would you take to get to Fort Kent?

10. Now get on Route 1 going south. This road used to be called the King's Highway, which was a series of dirt roads and paths dating from before the Revolution. Paved in 1925, it became the nation's first paved, numbered route, extending down the eastern seaboard of the United States. Because it follows the coast, it is one of the more scenic routes through Maine. Follow it south to Calais. Continue south, then easterly on 1. Count the number of bays you pass before you get to Portland.

Fill your gas tank, return the car, and call it a day!

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