The James School was built in 1917 in Spragueville, Presque Isle just beyond the Trans-Atlantic Balloon Site. The James School is approximately 5 miles south of Presque Isle, west of US Route One. Children up to grade eight were taught in this one room school building. With the consolidation of elementary schools in the area such as Presque Isle, Westfield, and Mapleton the James School was closed in 1948. It was used an additional ten years as a non-denominational church and then left to deteriorate. The school was restored in 1987 by local residents and Judge Julian Turner. The original school bell along with many of the school desks, books and tin wall coverings are in tack. An excellent place for weddings, educational activities, family get-togethers, and civic organizations to meet. This museum is open Sundays during the months of July and August from l:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. or at other times by appointment. For further information please contact the Presque Isle Area Chamber, phone # (207) 764-6561.
The Presque Isle Air Museum is located in the terminal building, Northern Maine Regional Airport, 650 Airport Drive, Presque Isle, phone # (207) 764-2542. The town bought land on the Mapleton Road and a hangar and runway were constructed. The airport and commercial air service were purchased in 1937 and airmail was started. In 1941 with the possibility of war in Europe this base was the closest area by land to Europe. More planes left Presque Isle for Europe than any other base in the United States. With the threat of Communism the base was reactivated in November 1950 as Presque Isle Air Force Base. The mission of air defense ended June 30, 1959. The Presque Isle Air Force Base became the first Intercontinental Missile Base in the nation to have the Snark Missile. The closure of the base because of military modernizations was inevitable. The base was changed to Skyway Industrial Park in 1962 and consisted of 440 acres. The Northern Maine Community College, housing, many businesses, and commercial airport are now on this area.
The Vera Estey House located at 16 Third Street, Presque Isle was purchased by the Historical Society on February 23, 1993. The house was owned by the late Vera T Estey. It was opened to the public in 1994. Ms. Estey, born in 1894, originally from Jackson-town, New Brunswick, Canada came to the Presque Isle area with her parents in 1903. The Estey family settled first in Maysville. The Estey Home was purchased in 1917 by her parents. Vera, who was the only child and remained unmarried, loved flowers to the extent that most of the property was flower gardens. She sold many of her flowers to the Boston Market. Most of the furnishings are original except for the stove and sink and a few things from the Society's collection.
The Estey House gardens, picket fence and archway are a work in progress. The Presque Isle Historical Society has acquired a cradle used by Louise Pratt in the year 1841. Louise Pratt's parents were one of the early settlers in Presque Isle. A trunk which belonged to Summer Whitney, who once owned the Estey property, was found at a garage sale. What luck! Mr. Whitney bought the land from the original settler Dennis Fairbanks.
The Estey House is open to the public upon appointment. Contact can be made through the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce 207 764-6561.
Northern Maine Museum of Science is located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle at Folsom Hall, south Main Street. With the acquiring of a large collection from Leroy and Katherine Norton and the Portland Museum of Natural History, the museum began in 1970. With a donation from NYNEX (Verizon) formal work began in 1994 and formally opened on October 5, 1996. There is a large display of fresh-water sea shells, a herbarium and forestry specimens to name only a few. A model of the Sun is also housed at Folsom Hall, University of Maine at Presque Isle. A 40-mile long scale model of the solar system extends from Houlton Information Center to the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The solar system is located on Route l. The models are three-dimensional and are mounted on ten feet high posts and can be all viewed from the vehicle except for the Sun model.
The Trans-Atlantic Balloon Site represents the first hot air balloon, Double Eagle II, to travel from across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Miserey, France. A memorial park was established in 1981 at the site on the Spragueville Road, Presque Isle, 5 miles south of Presque Isle, west of U.S. Route 1. The flight was launched August 11, 1978 and arrived in France on August 17. The first attempt took place in 1977 but due to bad weather off the coast of Ireland it failed. With just two pilots at this time they decided to contact a third pilot named Larry Newman to accompany the others, Ben Abruzzo and Maxie Anderson. Larry Newman has an aviation background. He was born in Los Angeles. At the age of 12 he flew an airplane solo. At the age of 17 he had already attained all of his pilot ratings and had become a flight instructor. He lived in Hawaii for several years and then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He became the world's largest producer of hang gliders. With Abruzzo and Anderson in 1978 he bought his first plane, a Learjet. He developed an ultralight aircraft in 1979. In 1980 Newman and Abruzzo set a world record for staying in the air 75 hours and 10 minutes in a small balloon. After selling his business in 1985 he became an airline pilot and fulfilled his lifelong dream. By 1989 he was captain of a Boeing 757. As of 2004 he is the only balloonist of the three still living. The Double Eagle II monument on the Spragueville Road, Presque Isle can be visited at any time.
The Presque Isle Firehouse located on second Street is in the process of being restored by the Presque Isle Historical Society. The Firehouse also includes the original jail. It is being completed in phases. Phase 1 will restore the 1912 firehouse to its original glory. Historical items will include an original Presque Isle Fire truck, a horse-drawn carriage, historical photographs, artifacts, and horse-drawn carriage. Phase II will involve the renovation of the second floor as an educational center for local school systems and civic groups. The Firehouse is not open to the public at the present time due to the renovations. Donations in support of this project are welcome. The address for donations is: The County Historical & Cultural Center, c/o Linda Smith, P.O. Box 1262, Presque Isle, Maine 04769. Contact can be made through the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce 207 764-6561 also.