Friday, August 13, 2010

Maine Minutiae : The Shire City of Waldo County

Belfast Harbor*
What the heck is a "shire city"? I don't know. Read through these definitions and decide for yourself. I tend to go with the one about "a former administrative district of England." But then again, I am a knucklehead, so don't mind me. At any rate, the shire city of Waldo county is Belfast, which was of course named after the city of the same moniker in Ireland. (Note: Belfast is now in Northern Ireland). Belfast was once where the Penobscot Indians went in the summer to hunt and fish, but in 1630 the land became part of the Muscongus Patent which "granted rights for English trading posts with the Indians, especially for the lucrative fur trade. About 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston bought the Muscongus Patent, which had evolved into outright ownership of the land, and was thereafter known as the Waldo Patent." (Wikipedia) Incorporated in 1773, Belfast was mostly abandoned during the American Revolution and was briefly occupied by the British in the War of 1812. The city would, over time, became a center for shipbuilding, poultry production and is now home to Bank of America-owned MBNA, a large credit card services center. Belfast is one of the locations Heather and I are considering as we discuss where we are going to move to as I ease into retirement. Ever since I was a wee lad in Fort Worth, Texas, I have dreamed of living in a "shire" city, whatever the heck one is. :)

*Photo from

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