Did You Know Maine Is The “Capital Of The World” For These 3 Products?
According to Atlas Obscura, an interesting website of random and curious facts, the state of Maine is the “capital of the world” for 3 separate products. Oh and sorry Augusta, while you’re the official capital of the state, you don’t register on this particular list. One of the products shouldn’t come as any big surprise but the other two, well you’d have to be in the “know”. Here are the 3 products and the 3 towns that Maine is the “capital of the world” for:
File this one under things you probably expected. Lobster is generally the #1 thing any lifelong Maine resident hears about when you bring up our state somewhere else in the world. You’re vacationing in Mexico? “Oh yeah, i’ve heard of Maine, great lobster up there”. Getting ready to hop on a ride at Disney World. “You’re from Maine, just amazing seafood up there, especially the lobster”.
Here’s what you might NOT know. Rockland has deemed themselves the “lobster capital of the world”. Sorry every city, town and municipality that catches and provides lobster. Rockland beat you all to it. Rockland holds their annual “lobsterfest” to celebrate and don’t forget, the first lobster in Maine was established in 1876 in Vinalhaven, right off the coast of Rockland.
Here in Maine, we’re pretty much pros at surviving cold, harsh winters. A lot of that has to do with our winter apparel. Everybody knows the legend of L.L. Bean and that the company is still thriving today but have you ever heard of Chester Greenwood? Way back in 1873, young Chester was ice skating and had a revelation for a new piece of outerwear. He asked his grandmother to sew some fur between loops of wire. Eventually that became known as ear muffs.
Greenwood grew up in Farmington, Maine. It took all the way until 1977 for the legislature of Maine to recognize Greenwood’s accomplishment, when they finally deemed December 21st as “Chester Greenwood Day” in Maine. Farmington celebrates in style however, with an entire day of activities. Craft fairs, wagon rides, and a full blown earmuff themed parade make up Chester Greenwood day.
Before nylon floss ruined the party for everyone, a little town in Maine called Strong had the clear distinction of being the “toothpick capital of the world”. Strong Wood Products was once producing 20 million toothpicks per day at the height of their productivity. It was a remarkable amount of production and a remarkable distinction for a town where the population has rarely crossed over 1000 people total.
In May of 2003, the final toothpick made from the Strong plant was produced. It was a bittersweet day for the entire state, considering at one point Strong was responsible for 95% of the world’s toothpick production. Atlas Obscura details the rise and fall of Strong, Maine in this fantastic article.