Tag Archives: trivia

Wildlife refuge on former Air Force base, atomic weapons storage site | DownEast.com

There was a time when Loring Air Force Base outside of Limestone, Maine, was at the very front line of the Cold War. After all, it was the military base on U.S. soil that was closest to Europe.

Carved out of the North Woods of Maine and named after Air Force Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient during the Korean War, the base was home of the 42nd Bomb Wing flying B-36 Peacemakers and later B-52 Stratofortresses and KC-135 Stratotankers.

It also was home for a Nuclear Weapons Storage Area and was the first U.S. site specifically constructed for the storage, assembly and testing of atomic weapons.

I knew about the B-52s because a friend of the family was retired Air Force and the huge jets occasionally flew over my home in Aroostook County. And the KC-135s make sense to keep the B-52s flying. But I had no idea growing up that there had been a Nuclear Weapons Storage Area there, too.

The idea that there was work done there on atomic weapons is pretty stunning, really, given how very remote and rural the region remains to this day. But then again, that may be the point, to be remote and out of the view of everyone, including others in the military.

But things have changed, of course, as the base was closed to military use in the mid-1990s and reverted to civilian uses.

Some of the most remote areas of the former base – perhaps some of the area where the work on atomic weapons was carried out – now is a wildlife refuge. I didn’t realize that until I read today’s DownEast.com trivial question.

What wildlife refuge is located on part of the former Loring Air Force Base?


Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1998 when 4,700 acres were transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge also administers some 2,400 wetland conservation easements throughout Aroostook County.

Honoring those who served in the American Revolution

OK, I didn’t know this trivia question on DownEast.com. It’s kind of interesting. I wish the answer had included when the monument was placed there. And it wouldn’t hurt if a photo had been included. Ah, well …

Where is the monument honoring Maine Indians who fought in the Revolutionary War?


At the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation. It was placed there by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Sssssensational! No poisonous snakes in Maine – mostly | DownEast.com

I was a wildland firefighter for three summers while attending college and we were always told to watch out for rattlesnakes.

And paying for green fees in California, Nevada and other western states might come with a warning to avoid certain areas on the golf course infested with snakes. (“Sooo, is that a 7-iron, then?” – a reply to a warning about snakes at a golf course in Carson City, Nevada.)

The answer to the DownEast.com trivia question should calm any concerns for parents in Maine about letting their children play in the outdoors.

Is it true that Maine has no venomous snakes?


Yes. Though a small number of timber rattlesnakes, considered transient, have been spotted in southernmost Maine, the state is considered the only one of the Lower 48 to have no native venomous snakes.

OK, here’s a family-lore story. The story goes that my father, sister and very probably my mother and I were outside. My father and mother very likely were doing yard work; my sister and I were too young.

At one point my sister wandered to the edge of the property and brought back with her a run-of-the-mill garter snake and tried to show it to my father. Apparently, my father was particularly frightened of snakes – and the little garter snake was no exception. He apparently backed away from my sister, yelling at her to drop the snake.

No one was harmed, not even the snake.

There may be a problem with the trivia question answer, however, and it might require a mild clarification. I just noticed in a Wikipedia entry on garter snakes that

“Garters were long thought to be nonvenomous, but recent discoveries have revealed that they do in fact produce a mild neurotoxic venom. Garter snakes are nevertheless harmless to humans due to the very low amounts of venom they produce, which is comparatively mild, and the fact that they lack an effective means of delivering it.”

So there you have the skinny of snakes.

Hello? Is this the person to whom I am calling?

I think I might have shared this DownEast.com trivia question another time, but it still bring a smirk to my face.

Where was the last hand-cranked phone taken out of service?


It was in Bryant Pond (Maine) in 1983.

Stumped by a DownEast.com trivia question – again

OK, so I was stumped by today’s DownEast.com trivia question.

And I’m a tiny bit embarrassed by that since I grew up in the Maine North Woods and I should have known better. Here it is:

What’s a Bangor Tiger?


It’s a traditional name for a skillful competitor in the sport of log-rolling (birling). The name was given to Penobscot river-drivers in the nineteenth century.

I’ll remember it now, you can be sure of that.

Riding the rail in Maine

If you’re going to visit Maine, but only the very southern tip, you might take note of the following information. It comes from today’s trivia question on DownEast.com.

Where in the world would you find a cable car from Dunedin, New Zealand?


At the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Founded in 1939, the museum has more than 250 vehicles and is the largest museum of mass transit and electric street trolleys in the world.

This looks like fun, actually, and I wouldn’t mind making this a part of my next visit to Maine. Here is a link to the museum’s website: http://www.trolleymuseum.org/

In search of pirate treasure on a Maine island

Tales of buried treasure have sparked the imagination of young and old for centuries. The high-seas adventure of boarding a ship or fending off marauders, the clink of clashing cutlasses and the boom of canons, it all stirs excitement in most of us.

Maine’s coast is a tough, rough, rugged fortress of surf-honed granite. It has been a favorite place frequented by pirates, smugglers, bootleggers, and drug mules.

So here is today’s trivia question from DownEast.com about buried treasure.


On what island is Captain Kidd’s treasure reportedly buried?


Jewell Island in Casco Bay is most commonly mentioned as the pirate’s hiding place, but before he was hanged he gave his wife a piece of paper with the numbers 44-10-66-18, which have been interpreted as the latitude and longitude of Deer Isle. Richmond Island and Squirrel Island have also been mentioned.

Tracking down Public Enemy No. 1 in Bangor

You gotta love a good gangster flick, especially when it’s the real thing. Here’s today’s DownEast.com trivia question.

What is Maine’s best-known gun battle?


On October 12, 1937, federal agents killed Public Enemy No. 1 Al Brady and two cohorts on Central Street in Bangor in the bloodiest shoot-out in Maine history.

There has been quite a bit of this written about this gunbattle. And I believe they reenact it in Bangor from time to time.

Confused by moose-car collisions in Maine

Here’s today’s trivia question from DownEast.com.

How many moose-car collisions occur in Maine each year?


In a statistically typical year, some 700 people collide with moose, 160 are injured, and 3 are killed.

OK, I’m slightly confused by the answer to this question. First, I’m guessing that when it reads “700 people collide with moose,” it really means the vehicles in which the people were traveling collided with the moose, not the people themselves. But does that mean 700 collisions or 700 people were involved in those collisions? After all, a vehicle can carry more than one person.

And when it reads “160 are injured, and 3 are killed,” I assume it means people, not moose.

Interesting question. I just wish I was sure about the answer.

Maine townsfolk supported revolution by renaming town Mexico

Here’s another bit of Maine trivia from DownEast.com. For those who are not from Maine, there are a number of towns in the central part of the state that are named for foreign nations and cities. There is a Moscow, China, Paris in Maine, among others. Here is how Mexico, Maine, got its name. 

How did the town of Mexico get its name?


Originally called Holmanstown, the community was renamed Mexico in 1818 to show support for the Mexican revolution against Spanish rule.

They don’t call it the Pine Tree State for nothin’

Today’s DownEast.com trivia question asks:

How much of Maine’s land area is covered with forest?


Ninety percent, 17.7 million acres, the most of any state. (www.forest.umaine.edu)

When it says “the most of any state,” I’m guessing that’s by percentage.

Maine-Canadian border is how long?

Here’s today’s offering from DownEast.com‘s trivia treasure chest.

How long is the Maine-Canadian border?


611 miles

Here’s a little trivia bonus: Maine is also bordered by the Atlantic – Maine has about 3,500 miles of coastline – and by only one other state – New Hampshire. And that border is about 184 miles, according to various Maine governmental websites. The state is about 320 miles long and 210 miles wide and has a total area of approximately 33,215 square miles.

First radio ministry in the country … in Maine

DownEast.com’s trivia stumped me again. I would have figured Portland as the location. Or Bangor or Augusta or any other fairly large Maine city. But I would not have guessed how early it started.

 What is the oldest electronic church in the country?


The First Radio Parish Church, broadcast daily by WCSH-TV in Portland, was first heard over the airwaves on WCSH-AM radio in 1926.

Oh, oh, oh! I know this one!

OK, so DownEast.com’s trivia question stumped me two days running, but the question today was, well, a little too easy. Here it is.

How many states border Maine?


Only one, New Hampshire.

Everyone knows that. Sheesh!

What is Maine’s northernmost community?

From DownEast.com’s trivia chest.

What is Maine’s northernmost community?


Estcourt Station in extreme northwest Maine.