Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 12
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Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney

BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from


livered by our rivers, fall therefore on their passage to the sea through
the mean distance of 600 feet, and in their descent yield a gross power
of 4429 horse for each foot of fall. This being multiplied by the total
average fall in feet, gives 2,656,200 horse-povver gross, which are
equivalent to the working energy of over 34,000,000 men laboring
without intermission from year’s end to years end. 1 Of couise a
very considerable fraction of this force exists where circumstances ren-
der it of no account as a source of practical power and_ value ; much
of it beino1 consumed iu overcoming the friction and resistance of the
passage of the waters, while much of it enters the ocean in the foim of
the velocity of rivers. ^ A.s to the actual amount that cau be bi ought
into use for the usual working hours of the year, with an expenditure
that would be deemed reasonable at now existing prices of mechanical
power, it is a sufficiently close approximation to assign a figure between
one and two millions of horse-powers. ” f (See
Manufactures / also
rivers, under their respective names.) The uniformity of volume in
our principal rivers is such that by using available means of storage by
dams at the larger reservoirs, nearly the full power can be maintained
during working hours through the year, except for a few weeks in
exceptionally dry seasons. A grand circumstance in relation to the
rivers of our southern slope especially, is that the lines of stratification
of our rocks are generally at almost right angles to the courses of the
rivers, thus producing the pitches and sudden descents so important to
the availability of the power ; while the hardness of the rocks preserves
the condition of the channels, and prevents loss of water by absorption
and percolation.


On looking at the map of Maine, one of the first observations will
be the numerous lakes and ponds that are divided quite evenly among
the counties. The total count of those represented upon our maps as
connected with our rivers within the State is not less than 1568. This
number does not include the multitude of small ponds scattered about
in such profusion that almost every school district has one; nor
those large and small, in the wilderness districts, that are not rep-
resented upon any map.

The lakes of which we have taken account possess at the lowest esti-
mate a combined area of 2200 square miles. Calculating on the basis
of the above figures, we have one lake to each twenty square miles of
territory, and oue square mile of lake to each 14.3 square miles of ter-
ritorial area. Thus Maine coutains more lake surface than a million
square miles situated in the central and western districts of the United    A

States, south of the lake belt.

Almost every one of these ponds is connected with a river by which
a constant change of the contents of the basis is kept up, enhancing
its purity and supplying industrial motive in its vicinity. It is also a
remarkable feature that the lakes of Maine, to an important extent, are
situated upon the mountain region of the State, and are obliged to seek
a passage for their waters over its broken surface, or through its rug-

t Ibid., p. 8.


Hydrographic Survey of Maine, p. 8.


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