More Than a Century Ago, Bangor, Maine, Had Its Own Time Zone
Fresh off losing an hour of sleep across the state of Maine, the debate over whether daylight savings time should be abolished or not is raging once again. For almost all of us, daylight savings time is all we've ever known, where two times each year we mess with our clocks and our bodies as we try to maximize the sun's light.
But prior to daylight savings time being enacted, one city in Maine essentially operated under its own time zone. According to the Bangor Daily News, back in the 1800s, Bangor, Maine, was the sole holdout when the rest of Maine (and the country) adopted a standard time to help facilitate everything from commerce to travel.
In a more confusing era of the country's history, the United States was once home to more than 50 time zones from coast to coast. As the country became more connected, the erratic and unpredictable time zones became an issue. In 1883, railroad companies came up with a solution of dividing the country into four time zones (eastern, central, mountain and pacific). Everyone in Maine was on board, with the exception of the mayor of Bangor.
Frederick Cummings believed in "god's will" and that the sun should dictate the time, not a standardization across the country. With that in mind, Bangor refused to adopt the new time zones, and generally ran 25 minutes ahead of everyone else in the state. Things stayed that way in Bangor for more than a year, leaving visitors and even town residents constantly questioning what time it really was.
When Mayor Cummings came up for election again, he held his ground on refusal to adopt the standard time zones. Bangor residents promptly voted him out of office, believing the time discrepancy would end. It didn't. In fact, it took until 1887 before the Maine legislature made it state law that every municipality in Maine had to operate under the eastern time zone.