Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney
BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from
436 GAZETTEER OF MAINE.
gor. The Penobscot country is less elevated above the sea than the
Kennebec, and considerably less than the Androscoggin, as results
from the subsidence of the whole State surface from west to east. Yet
the northern portion has a mean height of 1,085 feet. The loftiest
portion of the basin is at the head waters of the main river (west
branch), which has an altitude of from 1,600 to 2,000 feet. The west
branch is properly a continuation of the mam river which, down to
the Mattawamkeag, should be called the Upper Penobscot, as the river
below should be called the Lower Penobscot. There are 1,604 streams
represented upon the State map in the Penobscot system. The Mat-
tawamkeag, its largest eastern branch, is 300 feet wide at its mouth,
and the Penobscot 500 feet at the same point. The Piscataquis, the
largest western branch, is 250 feet wide for 25 miles above its mouth.
The mean width of the Penobscot for several miles above Bangor is
about 800 feet. From the confluence of the Mattawamkeag to the
open sea, the Penobscot has a length of about 120 miles ; from the
junction of the Matagamon to the sea, 132 miles; from its extreme
head waters, about 260 miles; or including the windings, 300 miles.
The main water-power section extends from Lake Chesuncook to Ban-
gor, 120 miles, the fall being 900 feet, or via the Mattagamon, from
Lake Mattagamon to Bangor, 115 miles, a fall of about 850 feet. The
annual discharge is estimated at 319,800,000.
The number of lakes and ponds in the basin of the Penobscot, rep-
resented upon the State map, is 467. Of these 185 are above the lower
powers of the main Penobscot, and have a combined surface of 395
square miles. The volume of the river in the vicinity of Bangor as-
sumed to be 146,250 cubic feet per minute for the 24 hours at the
period of extreme low run, the power in the 92 feet of fall from Mil-
ford to Bangor would be 55,600 horse-power gross, or 2,224,000 spin-
dles for eleven hours a day.
Penobscot Bay forms a fitting entrance to its magnificent river.
The head of the bay is 30 miles from the sea, the width for 15 miles
from the sea is about 20 miles, while it is 8 miles in width at the head.
The islands within it form several towns, and add to its beauty and
interest. Everywhere there is sufficient depth for the largest vessels,
and open water the year round to Bucksport, some six miles above the
head of the bay. A marked feature of the lower bay is its granite
islands,furnishing the best qualities of this stone in inexhaustible quan-
tities. As far north as Frankfort and Bucksport, gneiss, schists, gran-
ite and limestone intermingle, with the first predominating. Thence
northward to the Piscataquis, mica-schist prevails, with granite about
the Passadumkeag. North of Piscataquis succeeds clay slate ; but on
the left bank, schist prevails to some distance north of the Mattawam-
keag, where clay slate is struck. The last rock occupies much the
larger proportion of the northern part of the basin, with granite abun-
dant about Katahdin, and sandstone north-east of Moosehead Lake,
and mica-schist at the head of the main river, west branch. Slaty
rocks are largely in excess of all other forms, and at some points are
of unsurpassed quality for roofing purposes. The basin of the Penob-
scot is mountainous from the sea to above the head of the tide at Ban-
gor, thence northward, gently undulating, to, into and throughout the
region of the east and Mattawamkeag branches, until it is insensibly
blended with the valley of the Aroostook. On the main river, above
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