I Really Miss the Classic Vertical Maine Town Line Signs – What Happened?
I'll admit that I don't like change. I was born and raised in Maine and have lived here my entire life. The thing about Maine is it is unique. It's rural. It's rustic. It's set in its ways. And some things in Maine should be left untouched no matter how insignificant they might seem.
One fine example of something that should have been left alone is Maine's vertical town line signs. If you've lived in Maine for any amount of time, especially in rural areas, you have seen these signs. Black lettering on a white background of a vertical sign, save for a black square at the top with white lettering reading "TOWN LINE." Not city limits. That's not Maine. "Town line" is.
In vertical lettering down the length of the sign is the town's name. They can be short like "Paris" or long like "Presque Isle."
As a kid, my mom would tell me to watch for the town signs on the side of the road on long trips to pass the time. There were no smartphones or screens on the back of the headrests on the front seats to watch TV on. All you could do was stare out the window and these signs kept you occupied because they were unique to Maine. As soon as you crossed the border into New Hampshire, the fun was over.
Where did they go?
I noticed in the 2010s, they started being replaced with drab, ugly, standard green signs with white lettering. One day the Topsham/Lincoln town line sign looked like this...
And suddenly was replaced with this...
You'll still find the vertical signs here and there, but they're much more scarce than they used to be, so it's always nice when I take a drive and come across one.
Back in 2015, Zachary Beane of Portland did the work to reconstruct the vertical town line signs, even finding the original font that was used long before I was born, and created an online shop where you could order your very own sign. He seems to have moved on since then as it's been four years since the last post on his Maine Town Line Facebook page.
I know what you're saying. Aren't there more things in the world to worry about than stupid signs? Yeah, sure there is, and I worry about those things too. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with remembering and longing for something that was a part of your childhood and was an iconic piece of Maine. Right?