Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 10
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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



The most characteristic feature of Maine is its hilliness. The

Hydrographic Survey of the State gives 600 feet as the average eleva-
tion above the sea of its whole territory. The coast has only three
considerable elevations.—Agamenticus, in York, 672 feet, Megunticook,
in Camden, 1,457, and Green Mountain, in Mount Desert, 1,533 feet
above the level of the sea. The “ highlands ” along the north-western
side of Maine, are bare, barren, and of the uniform height of about

2,000 feet above the surface of the sea, which circumstances give the
range suitability as a boundary line. But between these and the coast
region is an elevated triangular tract reaching from Fryeburg on the
south to the Bald Mountain Ridge (at the Canadian border and in the
latitude of the northern extremity of Moosehead Lake) and extending
from south-west to north-east across the State, decreasing to a point at
Mars Hill on the eastern border. The general elevation of the water
levels in the region of Moosehead Lake is above 1,100 feet above sea
level, falling off somewhat in all directions, but most toward the east.

In the whole extent of this tract start up here and there isolated jieaks
or short ranges. As disposed in its different parts with respect to sea
level, the surface of the State shows, firstly, an ascending slope from
the shore line 140 miles into the interior ; secondly, a counter slope or
declivity extending 78 miles in the widest part to the northern bound-
ary ; thirdly, a general falling off in height from west to east. The
divide separating the first two slopes has a height above sea-level varying
from 1,800 feet in the west, to 600 in the east, affording an average of
1,085 feet, according to our report of the North-Eastern Boundary
Survey. The area of the Northern Slope is 7,400, and of the Southern,
24,100 square miles. The former has a comparative uniformity of
elevation over its different parts; the descent from the water-shed
ridge on the south to the St. John on the north, is not sufficient to give
more than a slow movement to the streams, and the depression of the
whole basin to the eastward is so slight that the currents of the St.
John itself is moderate. This slope is swampy and devoid of falls as
compared with the Southern Slope; the latter having a decided and
uniform descent sea-ward over its whole extent. Our highest moun-
tain is Katahdin, whose top is 5,385 feet above the sea. This region of
elevation is considered by geologists to be a prolongation of the great
Appalachian, or Alleghany chain of mountains, which rises in northern
Georgia, and bends north-easterly along the continent, manifesting its
existence in New York in the Catskills and the Adirondacks, losing in
elevation by diffusion, until in New Hampshire, the peaks again rise
into grandeur as the White Mountains. The mountains of Maine
differ from the Appalachian chain in their middle and southern region,
in that they consist not of'ridges, but peaks more or less conical in
form, generally isolated, but sometimes disposed in clusters. They arc
comparatively bare of dirt about their summits, being outcroppings of
bald rock, and not immense swells of land; but about their bases
they are heavily wooded. Their conical form and dispersement result
in a smaller deposit of moisture upon their windward slopes than would
occur with continuous ridges; and in consequence there is a more
equal rainfall in all parts. (See article “ Mountains ” in alphabetical
part of this book.)


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