My first job after graduating college was at large newspaper in South Florida. Well, it was an internship, actually. At the time, I remember saying to my other intern co-worker, Leslie, that it was *so cool* to work in a skyscraper. She scoffed that I called our building a skyscraper.
Leslie was from Long Island, NY, and did not consider 20-something floor building a skyscraper. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and not only was this building far, far taller than the tallest building in Maine, but the floor we worked on was almost as tall as the tallest building in Maine.
Today I get to work out of Bangor’s own little “skyscraper” on the 6th floor of 1 Merchants Plaza, and I remembered those summer days in South Florida. It got me thinking — how do Maine’s tallest buildings compare?
According to Wikipedia, Maine’s tallest building is the Franklin Towers in Portland at 16 stories tall:
With our tallest building at 175 feet tall, that means Maine ranks 47th in the country in terms of the tallest building per state. So, perspective matters.
Maine’s tallest structure is the former St. Patrick’s Church in Lewiston at 220 ft. tall — though its tallest point isn’t accessible by humans, so it doesn’t count in the tallest building rankings.
As an aside — if you’ve lived in Lewiston, like me, you’re probably thinking, “seriously that church is taller than the Basilica?” — and apparently, it is, as the Basilica’s towers are 168 ft, according to this website.
So how do Maine’s tallest buildings compare with other tall things?
It’s a little more than twice as tall as a blue whale is long.
It’s about one-tenth the height of 1 World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (1,776 ft.)
It’s a little less than half the height of Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree (379 ft.):
A little less than two-thirds the height of the Statue of Liberty:
Maine ranks in the bottom third for population density in the country and you can tell just by the fact that we don’t have many tall buildings.
I’ve driven by the Franklin Towers in Portland dozens of times, but I couldn’t have told you that it was the tallest building in the state until I started doing this research. And I parked across the street from St. Patrick’s church in Lewiston every day for years and I didn’t even realize it was the tallest structure in Lewiston-Auburn (it is at the bottom of a hill).
So when this country girl goes to the big city, that’s why she’s easily impressed. What is tall to Mainers is just not that tall to everyone else.