city, Aroostook county, northeastern Maine, U.S., on the Aroostook River and its affluent the Presque Isle Stream, near the New Brunswick (Canada) border, 163 miles (262 km) north-northeast of Bangor. Settled in the 1820s as Fairbanks, it was incorporated as a town in 1859 with a name indicative of a peninsula that was "almost an island" (French: presqu'ile). It annexed Maysville in 1883. After completion of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad (1895), it attained importance as a centre for processing and shipping potatoes. The University of Maine at Presque Isle (founded as a state college in 1903) operates the nearby Aroostook Farm-Maine Experiment Station for improving the growing and marketing of potato and grain crops. The former Presque Isle Air Base (closed 1961) is now the site of Northern Maine Technical College and an industrial park. The city's potato-based economy is augmented by light manufactures (notably plywood veneer and metal products) and hunting and winter sports facilities (skiing at Quaggy Joe Mountain and Mars Hill). In August 1978 Presque Isle was the liftoff point for Double Eagle II, the first hot-air balloon (manned by Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman) to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to France. Inc. city, 1940. Pop. (1990) 10,550; (2000) 9,511.
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