Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Mapleton

Location Map for Mapleton

Year Population
1970 1,598
1980 1,895
1990 1,853
2000 1,889
2010 1,948
Mapleton Population Chart 1870-2010

Population Trend 1870-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 46:42:03
W. Latitude 68:06:59
Maine House District 146
Maine Senate District 1
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 34.4
Area sq. mi. (land) 34.1
Population/sq.mi. (land) 57.1
County: Aroostook

Total=land+water; Land=land only

Sign: "Town of Mapleton" (2014)[MA-pehl-tun] is a town in Aroostook County, incorporated on March 5, 1880 from Mapleton Plantation. The early settlers, arriving in about 1836, were from New Brunswick.

Potatoes were a major part of its economy in the 19th century, as it was in the 20th century.  According the the Gazetteer of Maine in the 1880’s,

Fields Through the Trees in Mapleton (2001)

Fields Through the Trees in Mapleton (2001)

Potatoes are the crop chiefly cultivated. There is a starch-factory in the town that consumes 60,000 bushels of these tubers annually. The machinery is run by a 16 horse-power engine. . . .

The principal business centre is in the south-western part of the town, at the junction of Libby Brook with Presque Isle Stream.  There is on the latter, near this point, a saw-mill with a rotary saw, cutting about 20,000 per day. There is also a potash-factory. The forest trees in this township are chiefly maple and beech.

During this period the town supported seven public schoolhouses with a population of 704 in 1880.

Potato Farm in Mapleton (2001)

Potato Farm in Mapleton (2001)

Mapleton, still a potato producer and named for the trees abundant in its forests, is directly west of Presque Isle on Maine Route 163.

In 2013 “A Comprehensive Plan for the Towns of Mapleton, Castle Hill and Chapman,” was adopted by each town.  A brief history (from a history of Mapleton by Dena Winslow York), condensed here, was included in the Plan:

In 1621, the English officially owned the land, but, no one came to settle because of the vast wilderness and the fear of being killed. They did identify a commodity of worth – the tall pines that were to be used as ships’ masts.

It wasn’t until after the Revolutionary War that incentives, in the form of land grants, were available to settle on the land.

Long View from Route 163 in Mapleton (2014)

Route 163 (2014)

Field and Mountains (2014)

Field and Mountains (2014) @

Haystack Mountain and others from the West Chapman Road in Mapleton (2014)

Haystack Mountain (2014)

The first primitive roads were built in the early 1800’s and encouraged people from the south to come. People from the south were called “outsiders” or “Kennebeckers”. The bumpy dirt roads did allow the settlers to get to a trading post instead of waiting for the peddlers.

The Aroostook War of the 1840s  had a significant impact. Many of the early settlers were from Canada, as were the peddlers and preachers who brought products, information, and a way of life. Mail deliveries through Tobique (New Brunswick) were cut. Now settlers had to hire someone to carry mail to and from Houlton.

Veterans Memorial on Route 163 (2014)

Veterans Memorial on Route 163 (2014)

Informal Veterans Memorial on Route 163 (2014)

Informal Veterans Memorial on Route 163 (2014)

Mapleton Elementary School on Route 163 (2014)

Mapleton Elementary School on Route 163 (2014) @

The Grange played an important part in these early efforts at planning and organizing and continued to play a major communication and social role in the community for 60+ years. The first Grange meetings were held in private homes. It wasn’t until 1882 that a lot was purchased and the Eureka Grange Hall was built.

Haystack Historical Society (2014)

Haystack Historical Soc. (2014)

Mapleton Post Office (2014)

Mapleton Post Office (2014)

United Methodist Church (2014)

United Methodist Church (2014)

The town was expanding quite nicely until 1887 when a forest fire swept through the area burning the sawmill, the starch factory and much of the town. The mill was rebuilt immediately but the starch factory was not until years later , so farmers had to haul their potatoes to Presque Isle for processing.

Very Small 19th Century Braley Cemetery in Mapleton, south of Route 163 (2014)

Very Small 19th Century Braley Cemetery (’14) @

Much of the 1890’s were spent recuperating from the fire. In the early 1900’s technology from the outside (telephone – 1905, railroad – 1909, automobiles and electricity – 1914) became available and began to change the life of the town. Formal education was perceived as being important and several one room schools sprang up. Teachers were recruited and private families gave them room and board.

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board-Manager.

Additional resources

Breton, Rita. [Interview with Avis “Ma” Dudley] [sound recording]. Bangor, Me. The Author. 1981. [University of Maine at Presque Isle. Library and Learning Resource Center]

Burden, Rachel Higgins. Ray Higgins: His Mapleton Memories. Presque Isle, Me. c1981.

Ellis, Phineas E. Call Me Phin. Caribou, Me. Custom Printers. c1977.

Northern Maine Development Commission. A Comprehensive Plan for the Towns of Mapleton, Castle Hill and Chapman. Caribou, Me. 2009. (accessed March 4, 2014)

Potter, L. F. The Murder of Granville Hayden [manuscript] [1873?] (Cataloger Note: Accompanied by: photocopies of 3 newspaper articles, Bangor Daily News, June 17, July 18, ? 1965, by Oscar Nelder concerning the murder of Granville Hayden and lynching of Jim Cullen.) [University of Maine at Presque Isle. Library and Learning Resource Center]

Oliver, Egbert S. (ed.) The Tarbells of Yankton: A Family and a Community, 1891-1932, presented in letters. Portland, Or. Hapi Press. 1978.

Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. 1881. p. 64.

Winslow, Dena Lynn. Mapleton, Maine. Presque Isle, Me. c1980.

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This entry was last modified: March 31, 2017 01:55 PM

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