Houlton is a town located in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The town was first settled in 1805 and incorporated in 1831. The town's history is closely tied to its location along the border with Canada and its role as a transportation hub.
In the early years of the town's history, Houlton was primarily a farming community. However, in the mid-19th century, the construction of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad connected the town to the rest of Maine and facilitated the shipment of goods. This led to the growth of Houlton's timber and potato industries and helped establish the town as a center of commerce and industry.
Houlton's location along the border with Canada also played an important role in the town's history. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Houlton was an important stop for travelers heading north to Canada. The town served as a customs and immigration station, and many businesses in the town catered to Canadian tourists.
In addition to its economic and transportation importance, Houlton has also played a role in American military history. During World War II, the town was the site of the Houlton Army Air Base, which was used as a training base for American and British pilots. The base was closed after the war, but the airport is still in use today.
Today, Houlton is a vibrant community with a rich history and a strong sense of community pride. The town is home to several historic sites, including the Market Square Historic District and the Aroostook County Courthouse. Houlton also hosts several annual events, including the Houlton Agricultural Fair, which celebrates the town's agricultural heritage, and the Houlton International Blues Festival, which attracts blues musicians from around the world.
Top Tourist Attractions
- Market Square Historic District: This historic district encompasses the town's historic commercial center and includes a collection of 19th and early 20th-century buildings that reflect the town's history and development. It's a great place to take a walk, grab a bite to eat, and explore local shops.
- Aroostook State Park: Located just outside of Houlton, Aroostook State Park is Maine's first state park and offers visitors a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. The park features over 800 acres of forests, fields, and lakes, as well as hiking trails, swimming beaches, and picnic areas.
- Houlton Community Arts Center: This community arts center hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and art exhibits. It's a great place to take in some local culture and support the arts in the community.
- Houlton Historical Society Museum: The Houlton Historical Society Museum is located in the historic 1832 John Putnam House and features exhibits on the town's history, including displays on the timber and potato industries, military history, and local culture.
- Houlton Farms Dairy Bar: This local ice cream shop is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. They serve up delicious homemade ice cream in a variety of flavors, as well as other treats like milkshakes and sundaes.
- Houlton International Airport: While it may seem unusual to visit an airport as a tourist attraction, the Houlton International Airport offers a unique experience for aviation enthusiasts. The airport is home to the Maine Air Museum, which features a collection of vintage aircraft and aviation artifacts.
Houlton has a humid continental climate, which means that it experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are typically warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 70s and occasional heatwaves with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winters are cold and snowy, with average low temperatures in the single digits and occasional periods of sub-zero temperatures. Snowfall is common from November to April, with an average of over 100 inches of snow per year.
Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with cool temperatures and occasional rain showers. The best time to visit Houlton depends on your interests. If you enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling, then the winter months are the best time to visit. If you prefer warmer weather and outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, then the summer months are ideal. The fall is also a popular time to visit Houlton, as the changing leaves create a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities and scenic drives.
The town is situated in the heart of the Aroostook River Valley, which is a fertile agricultural region known for its potato farms and dairy production. The town's terrain is relatively flat, with rolling hills and forests surrounding the valley.
Houlton is located at the intersection of several major highways, including Interstate 95, which runs from Miami, Florida to Houlton, Maine. The town is also situated along the Canadian border, with the town of Woodstock, New Brunswick located just across the border to the north.
The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is located just south of Houlton and covers over 5,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and bald eagles, and offers visitors opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife viewing.
The town is also located near several large lakes, including Nickerson Lake and Drews Lake, which are popular destinations for fishing and boating. The nearby North Maine Woods region offers even more opportunities for outdoor recreation, with miles of hiking trails, hunting areas, and wilderness campsites.
Market Square Historic District
The Market Square Historic District is located in Houlton, Maine, and encompasses the town's historic commercial center. Houlton was settled in the early 1800s and became an important stop for travelers heading north to Canada. The town grew rapidly in the mid-19th century with the construction of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, which connected Houlton to the rest of Maine and facilitated the shipment of goods.
The Market Square Historic District was established in 1983 and includes a collection of 19th and early 20th-century buildings that reflect the town's history and development. The district covers roughly four blocks in the center of town, bounded by Main Street, Military Street, Court Street, and Franklin Avenue.
Some of the notable buildings in the Market Square Historic District include the 1873 Aroostook County Courthouse, the 1898 Cary Library, and the 1911 Houlton High School. Other buildings in the district include commercial buildings, churches, and homes.
The Market Square Historic District is a well-preserved example of a small New England town center, and it provides visitors with a glimpse into Houlton's history and culture. Today, the district is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, who come to enjoy the historic architecture, shops, and restaurants in the area.