Bangor, a city, port of entry, and the county-seat of Penobscot county, Maine, U.S.A., at the confluence of the Kenduskeag stream with the Penobscot river, and at the head of navigation on the Penobscot, about 60 m. from the ocean, and about 75 m. N.E. of Augusta. Pop. (1890) 19,103; (1900) 21,850, of whom 3726 were foreign-born and 176 were negroes; (1910, census) 24,803. A bridge (about 1300 ft. long) across the Penobscot connects Bangor with Brewer (pop. in 1910, 5667). Bangor is served directly by the Maine Central railway, several important branches radiating from the city, and by the Eastern Steamship line; the Maine Central connects near the city with the Bangor & Aroostook railway (whose general offices are here) and with the Washington County railway. The business portion of the city lies on both sides of the Kenduskeag and for about 3 m. along the W. bank of the Penobscot, which is here quite low, while many fine residences are on the hillsides farther back. Bangor is the seat of three state institutions - the Eastern Maine general hospital, the Eastern Maine insane hospital and the law school of the University of Maine - and of the Bangor Theological Seminary (Congregational), incorporated in 1814, opened at Hampden in 1816, removed to Bangor in 1819, and empowered in 1905 to confer degrees in divinity.
The city has several public parks, a public library and various charitable institutions, among which are a children's home, a home for aged men, a home for aged women and a deaconesses' home. Among the principal buildings are the county court house, the Federal building, the city hall and the opera house. The Eastern Maine Music Festival is held in Bangor in October of each year. The rise of the tide here to a height of 17 ft. makes the Penobscot navigable for large vessels; the Kenduskeag furnishes good water-power; and the city is the trade centre for an extensive agricultural district. The Eastern Maine State Fair is held here annually. Bangor is one of the largest lumber depots in the United States, and also ships considerable quantities of ice. The city's foreign trade is of some importance; in 1907 the imports were valued at $2,720,594, and the exports at $1,272,247. Bangor has various manufactures, the most important of which (other than those dependent upon lumber) are boots and shoes (including moccasins); among others are trunks, valises, saws, stoves, ranges and furnaces, edge tools and cant dogs, saw-mill machinery, brick, clothing, cigars, flour and dairy products.
In 1905 the city's factory products were valued at $3,408,355. The municipality owns and operates the water-works (the water-supply being drawn from the Penobscot by the Holly system) and an electric-lighting plant; there is also a large electric plant for generation of electricity for power and for commercial lighting, and in Bangor and the vicinity there were in 1908 about 60 m. of electric street-railway.
Bangor has been identified by some antiquarians as the site of the mythical city of Norumbega, and it was reported in 1656 that Fort Norombega, built by the French, was standing here; but the authentic history of Bangor begins in 1769 when the first settlers came. The settlement was at first called Conduskeag and for a short time was locally known as Sunbury. In 1791 the town was incorporated, and through the influence of the Rev. Seth Noble, the first pastor, the name was changed to Bangor, the name of one of his favourite hymn-tunes. During the war of 1812 a British force occupied Bangor for several days (in September 1814), destroying vessels and cargoes. Bangor was chartered as a city in 1834. In 1836 a railway from Bangor to Old Town was completed; this was the first railway in the state; Bangor had, also, the first electric street-railway in Maine (1889), and one of the first iron steamships built in America ran to this port and was named "Bangor."