|Maine House||District 148|
|Maine Senate||District 2|
|Area sq. mi.||(total) 78.2|
|Area sq. mi.||(land) 76.6|
Total=land+water; Land=land only
[fort FARE-field] is a town in Aroostook County, settled in 1816 and incorporated on March 11, 1858 from Plantation D R1 and all of the Plymouth Grant lying southeast of the Aroostook River. It annexed Sarsfield Plantation in 1867.
Fort Fairfield, established to protect the area during the Aroostook War, took its name from Maine Governor John Fairfield. The original fort (1839-1843), a duplicate of Fort Kent, was dismantled in 1862. A replica of the blockhouse was built in 1976 and is located in a small, quiet park just off Main Street.
The cannon in the photo at bottom is a “Bronze 6-pounder, Model 1838, . . . brought to the area by either the Maine militia or the land agent’s posse. Cast by Cyrus Altger of Boston in 1839, it is typical of the cannon deployed by both sides during the Aroostook War.”1
The town’s Canadian-Pacific Railroad station, built in 1875, is part of the Railroad Museum at the old Bangor & Aroostook rail yard on Depot Street.
The town is in the heart of potato country and hosts the Potato Blossom Festival each July to celebrate the spud’s contribution to the northern Maine economy. Related enterprises, such as the Aroostook Starch Company plant, supplement the farming sector. The potato starch produced by the company “is supplied as a refined quality product to the American cellulose and paper industry, as well as to the food processing, plastic, and textile industry,” according to a company publication.
Another factory that dominates the landscape in Fort Fairfield is the Boralex wood to energy facility – a “wood-residue thermal power station.” Consuming 400,000 tons of wood per year, the plant has the capacity to produce 36 megawatts of electricity.
Nevertheless, Fort Fairfield continues to lose population along with other Aroostook communities.
Richard William Curless was born in Fort Fairfield on March 17, 1932. “Dick” Curless became a well known country singer, especially with his 1965 hit “A Tombstone Every Mile, about the Haynesville Woods road. Marion Parsons, a pioneering and internationally recognized nurse was born here in 1876. She retired to Fryeburg where her house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Form of Government: Council-Manager
1999 Maine Potato Blossom Scholarship Pageant, Lawrence A. Gardner Gym, Fort Fairfield, Maine, July 17, 1999. [videorecording] WAGM-TV. Presque Isle, Me. WAGM-TV. 1999 [University of Maine, Presque Isle Special Collections]
50th Annual Potato Blossom Festival Parade, July 19, 1997, Ft. Fairfield, Me. [videorecording] WAGM staff. Presque Isle, Me. WAGM-TV. c1997. (Also 52nd, 53rd.) [University of Maine, Presque Isle Special Collections]
Beckwith, Janet. A History of Fort Fairfield. Presque Isle, Me. The Author. 1988
Campbell, W. E. (William Edgar). The Aroostook War of 1839. Fredericton, N.B. Goose Lane Editions. c2013.
Ellis, Caleb Holt. History of Fort Fairfield and Biographical Sketches. Fort Fairfield, Me. Fort Fairfield Printing Co. 1894.
Findlen, George L. Under His Own Flag: John Baker’s gravestone memorial in retrospect. Maine? G. L. Findlen? 2002. [University of Maine, Presque Isle Special Collections]
“Frontier Heritage” (brochure). Frontier Heritage Historical Society. Fort Fairfield, Maine. c. 2003.
Grant, Bruce. American Forts, Yesterday and Today. Illustrated by Lorence F. Bjorklund. New York, Dutton. 1965.
Loring Readjustment Committee. Community Profiles. Caribou, Me. The Committee. 1993. [Maine State Library]
Maine Potato Blossom Festival: sponsored by the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce. Fort Fairfield, Me. Chamber of Commerce. 1947-? [University of Maine, Presque Isle Special Collections]
Mraz, Ruth Reed. United Parish Church: A Historical Review. Fort Fairfield, Me. Ruth and Arthur Mraz. 1992.
Price, Trudy Chambers. Thirteen is a Lucky Number: the Campbell family. Yarmouth, Me. Salt Ponds Press. 2006.
The Fort Fairfield Register and Town History. Compiled by T. F. Manter. Madison, Me. The Bulletin Publishing Co. 1904.
Vallee, Ron. History of the Fort Fairfield Fire Department. The Author. 1983.
National Register of Historic Places – Listings
Fort Fairfield Public Library, Main Street
Reed, Philo, House, 38 Main Street
Maple Grove Friends Church, west side of Route 1-A, 0.25 miles North of the junction with Upcountry (Fairmount Road) Maple Grove. Begun in 1859 and a station on the underground railroad, it is the earliest church in Fort Fairfield. [see video above]