You’ve Probably Driven the Oldest Road in Maine Without Realizing It
Given the fact that the New England states, for the most part, were the first places in North America settled by Europeans, it should not be a big surprise that we have some old roads. Some REALLY old roads!
What about the oldest road in the state of Maine? What is it? How old is it? Can I still drive it?
The oldest road in the state is so old that it not only pre-dates the state of Maine, but the entire country!
According to the Maine Roads website, the oldest road was known as King's Highway. It started as a very basic dirt path that was just large enough to allow wagons and coaches to pass. This path allowed travelers to make their way from Massachusetts to Maine (or, as it was back then, the other part of Massachusetts).
The road got its start thanks to Benjamin Franklin. When he was the postmaster of the colonies, he started an initiative to build roads all over the place. The idea was that when these roads were completed, they would make it much easier to transport and deliver mail.
Around 1760, the road that would become an extension of King's Highway was marked out by granite blocks. Working from Boston northeast, it eventually connected larger Maine communities like York, Wells, Kennebunk, and Saco to the rest of the world.
Eventually, King's Highway would be extended all the way to the Downeast Maine town of Machias.
Can I Drive The Road Today?
Yes, you can still drive the first road in Maine. These days, it is even paved! Much of what started out as King's Highway eventually became Route 1 and Route 1A.
The next time you take your family on a scenic drive down Route 1, consider the historic figures that could have also made a trip down that road. Crazy, right?
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