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5 Fun Facts About October 17 In Maine History

---Learn Every Day: ME Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history me To: 618-270-4005---

1. On October 17, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Navy, which played a key role in the American Revolution. Among the officers commissioned to serve in the Navy was Maine native Richard Saltonstall.

2. Maine's first governor, William King, was born on October 17, 1768. King helped lead the state's push for statehood and was elected Maine's first governor in 1820.

3. On October 17, 1841, the Great Fire of Portland destroyed much of the city's downtown area. The fire began in a commercial building on Exchange Street and quickly spread, destroying over 1,500 buildings and causing millions of dollars in damage. Despite the devastation, the city was rebuilt in the years following the fire, with many of its most iconic buildings constructed in the decades that followed.

4. October 17, 1861 marked the first major battle of the Civil War in Maine, when Union forces clashed with Confederate troops at the Battle of Balls Bluff. The battle was a resounding defeat for the Union forces, with over 1,000 Union soldiers killed or wounded.

5. On October 17, 1979, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge opened to traffic. At the time of its construction, the bridge was the tallest in Maine, with a height of 447 feet above the Penobscot River. Today, the bridge is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
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