Caribou is a city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,312 at the 2000 census. The city is the birthplace of current U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of 80.2 square miles (207.7 km²), of which, 79.3 square miles (205.4 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²) of it (1.11%) is water.
Caribou is located in the geographical center of Aroostook County. Aroostook County is readily accessible by two major highways; Interstate 95 from the South and the Trans-Canada Highway 2 from the North and East. Caribou is located on the northern bend of the Aroostook River before it heads southeast to join the St. John River in New Brunswick just east of Fort Fairfield, Maine. In the sparsely populated Aroostook County, Caribou is at the hub of spokes serving the area via U.S. 1 and Maine Routes 89, 161, 164, 205 and 228. Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque Isle, Maine serves as the primary hub for air service. Daily flights are scheduled to and from Northern Maine with daily connections to Boston’s Logan International Airport. Seaports are also close by in coastal Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec. The closest deep water port is Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, away from Caribou. Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) is a regional railway operating in the states of Maine, Vermont and in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, providing a direct rail link between Northern Maine, Saint John, NB and Montreal, QC.
Given the city's economic and cultural ties with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, cross-border partnerships and relationships are often a common facet in many businesses.
The normal seasonal snowfall for Caribou is approximately . The record snowfall for Caribou is set in the Winter of 2007/2008. From the beginning of the 2007-2008 snowfall season through midnight April 18, 2008, the National Weather Service in Caribou, ME has recorded of snowfall.
Spring in Aroostook County begins with maple tree tapping and the picking of fiddleheads along the many rivers in late May. Fiddleheads, the very young, coiled leaves of the ostrich fern, are a county delicacy. Spring is known as the ‘mud season’, which suits many local ATV owners. Designated areas of the snowmobile trail system may be used for all terrain vehicles.
Warm days and cool nights characterize summers. The area is generally favored with abundant rainfall, which is one of the most important factors in the high yield of the potato and grain crops throughout the county. The growing season in Caribou averages more than 120 days.
Autumn climate is nearly ideal, with mostly sunny warm days and cool nights predominating. The end of September begins the Potato harvest; this is truly a community event. Many Aroostook County schools still close during the harvest so that local farmers who lack modern equipment may hire the children at low wages.
Snowfall can occur during any month, but usually the first snowfall occurs in November.
Link to NWS (National Weather Service) – http://www.erh.noaa.gov/car
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In 1793, Alexander Cochran visited the area in 1793 seeking a mill site. Fourteen years later, Charles Turner surveyed ten thousand acres (40 km²) of land in Northern Maine
, then part of the state of Massachusetts
. In 1808 Captain William Eaton was deeded these same 10,000 acres (40 km²) as a reward for his heroic victory over the Barbary Pirates, this estate became known as the Eaton Grant and is now the southeast section of Caribou. Around 1824 settlers began arriving from New Brunswick
, and settled land on the north side of the Aroostook River
. However, European settlers awaited the conclusion of the northern boundary dispute with Canada before arriving in large numbers, in 1843.
Caribou was incorporated on April 5, 1859 as the town of Lyndon from Eaton Plantation and part of half-township H. In 1869 Lyndon annexed Eaton, Sheridan and Forestville plantations. On February 26 of that year its name was changed to Caribou, only to be changed back to Lyndon on March 9. Finally on February 8, 1877 Caribou was confirmed as the town's permanent name. Caribou was incorporated as a city February 23, 1967. The city's population decline began to decline soon thereafter, associated with difficulties in the traditional potato industry and the closing of nearby Loring Air Force Base
in Limestone, Maine
Historic Sites and museums:
As of the census
of 2000, there were 8,312 people, 3,517 households, and 2,324 families residing in the city. The population density
was 104.8 people per square mile (40.5/km²). There were 3,858 housing units at an average density of 48.7/sq mi (18.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.22% White
, 0.29% African American
, 1.48% Native American
, 0.91% Asian
, 0.07% Pacific Islander
, 0.08% from other races
, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.46% of the population.
There were 3,517 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,485, and the median income for a family was $38,378. Males had a median income of $29,202 versus $20,737 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,061. About 8.4% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.7% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.
In Caribou and throughout Aroostook County
, the two major agricultural crops are the potato
. Area farmers annually plant approximately 80,000 acres (320 km²) of potatoes. The chief varieties are Russett Burbank, Superior, Shepody and Atlantic. Aroostook County
is renowned for its Round White potatoes. The potato crop is used for seed, table stock, and processed potato products. Aroostook County
is the largest grower of broccoli on the East Coast.
Other important agricultural crops grown in the area include peas, hay, oats, and alternative crops on a smaller scale. The high volume of activity results in the growth of related agri-business. Farm implement sales and services and the development of several area processing plants are examples of the influence agriculture has on the local economy.
Hilltop Elementary School
, serving kindergarten
through the second grade
Teague Park School, serving the third and the fourth grades as well as two pre-school classrooms.
Caribou Middle School, serving the fifth through eighth grades.
Caribou High School
Caribou has over a dozen cross country ski trails with varied scenery and terrain within a one hour drive of the city.
is widely known by sports enthusiasts for its well-groomed extensive snowmobile
trail system; Caribou maintains of Aroostook County
’s snowmobile trail system. A major tourist destination for snowmobile enthusiasts throughout the country, who take advantage of the more than of groomed snowmobile trails, which have been rated the third best in the nation. Snowmobilers can venture out every day, choose a variety of routes and with the number of loop trails never cross the same trail twice. Many county communities are located on the Canadian border, making international travel by snowmobile convenient. Running through the heart of Aroostook County
is the Northeast Snowmobile Trail (NEST)
, and International Snowmobile Trail System
, New Hampshire
, and the Province of Quebec
Caribou is served by WAGM-TV
, a CBS
affiliate located in Presque Isle, Maine
, which is the only full-power commercial television station north of Bangor, Maine
. Residents of Caribou receive the Maine Public Broadcasting Network
, a PBS
affiliate, over WMEM-TV
, as well as the CBC
from Canada. Most residents subscribe to Dish Network
or Time Warner Cable
. The city is also home to two radio stations: WCXU
97.7 FM and WFST
600 AM. In addition, listeners can receive other radio stations in Northern Maine, Western New Brunwick and Eastern Quebec. They include CJEM
92.7 FM, CIKX
93.5 FM, CBAL
94.3 FM, CFVD
95.5 FM, WQHR
96.1 FM, WBPW
96.9 FM, CBAM
99.5 FM, CBAF
100.3 FM, CFAI-1
101.1 FM, WOZI
101.9 FM, CBZC
103.3 FM, CFAI-1
105.1 FM, WMEM
106.1 FM, CIBM
107.1 FM and WEGP
1390 AM. Lately there has been an increase in Satellite Radio Subscriptions in Northern Maine. Sirius Satellite Radio
and XM Satellite Radio
are leading the way due to the lack of radio programming aimed at the 12-40 age bracket in Northern Maine. A weekly newspaper, the Aroostook Republican
, is published in Caribou. Home delivery of the daily newspaper out of Bangor, Maine
, the Bangor Daily News
, is also available.
Arts and culture
The Caribou Performing Arts Center draws acts and shows from all over the United States and Canada. Caribou also has a thriving music program centered around the Caribou Music Department. Music education has been a vital part of the education system in Caribou for years. The Caribou High School Music Building Fund, a student-initiated non-profit organization, is currently raising $2.7 million for a new music facility to be located at the high school. The new facility will allow Caribou High School students to utilize increased practice space and music technology to significantly further music education. Additionally, the facility will be open to community groups and musicians from all over Caribou and Aroostook County to use as the only center for music in Northern Maine.