In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Lincoln, Maine

A Town of Hearty, Resilient Souls


Responses from five students in Mrs. Harris' Social Studies class can be viewed below:

Darrick Davis
"Research your topic and summarize the ‘who, what, when, and where’ in the form of a few paragraphs"

Early ferries were flat and made of logs; the logs were placed side by side like a flat boat. The ferries came to Lincoln in the mid 1800s. There were three ferries in Lincoln; one in North Lincoln, another in South Lincoln, and the other one in Lincoln Center. The one in North Lincoln was owned and operated by Mr. Beathem, the one in South Lincoln was owned and operated by Mr. Stratton, and the last one in Lincoln Center was owned and operated by Mr. Harvey. The ferry ride only cost fifteen cents. People rode the ferries to avoid driving all the way down to Howland to cross via their bridge.

To ride the ferry, there was a long cable across the river so the ferry could not float down the river and so the operator could pull them across in either direction. They had docks at each side that were moveable to go with the tide of the river and they had pick polls and peaveys to help push themselves across. The average trip across took around twenty minutes, more or less, depending on the flow of the current and how high or low the river was.

Lincoln-Chester bridge opening, 1950
Lincoln-Chester bridge opening, 1950
Lincoln Historical Society

The ferries lasted for nearly three-fourths of a century before the bridge was built in 1950. People needed to get to the other side of the river because there was no stores on the Chester side and they needed to get food. They also went to the other side for work. There was no set schedule, but there was a horn on each side so the operator could hear it if he was on the opposite side of the river.

John Philibert
"Compare/contrast your topic in the past (ferries) and in the present (bridges)"

There was no bridge to connect Lincoln and Chester in the 1800s and early 1900s. Ferries were used to get across the river. Bridges are much bigger and stronger now. The ferry is still used, but it also has greatly improved as it holds more weight than the ferries. One example is the ferry at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It holds 200 cars and crosses to Martha’s Vineyard two and three times per day. There is also a large ferry in Bar Harbor (called the Bluenose). It travels from Bar Harbor to Nova Scotia, Canada. Bridges now allow us to go over bodies of water that we would never be able to cross before. The bridge that crosses over the river from Lincoln to Chester (like the Access Road bridge) is much larger and holds much more weight, such as big trucks and car carriers, woods equipment, cars, trucks, etc.

Ferry Transportation
Ferry TransportationDiorama by Walter Cote

Jim Ayers
"How would you respond if you were a person living in 1950 and a bridge replaced the ferry?"

I felt upset because I usually take the ferry, and I am used to it. When the bridge first came, I didn’t like it, but it was a lot safer than the ferry. The ferry could rock you off of it, but the bridge stays still. With the ferry, it takes you across the river and you have to wait turns, but with the bridge you can go across it all you want without waiting turns. It is faster to go across the bridge than to go on a ferry. You could also get wet very easily from riding the ferry, but with the bridge, it is higher than the water so that you cannot get wet or have it become flooded very easily. The ferry costs 15¢ to ride for every person. It could only hold a certain amount of passengers and weight. You could take cars on the ferry, but only a few due to the weight. The bridge can take anything across it because it is stationary and cannot sink as easily.

Ferry & transported items
Ferry & transported itemsMobile by Megan Reny

Works Cited

Lincoln Historical Society. "Transportation." The Pictorial History of Lincoln, Maine. Lincoln, ME: Lincoln News Print Services Division, 1995. 5-6. Print.

Bangor Daily News. "Last Days of North Lincoln Ferry. Picturesque River Service to End When Bridge Spans Penobscot River.” Bangor, ME. 1950. Print.

Murchison, Dottie. "Ferries in Lincoln." Personal interview. 9 Apr. 2010.