Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Action

Location Map for Acton

Year Population
1970 697
1980 1,228
1990 1,727
2000 2,145
2010 2,447
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 43:32:01
W. Latitude 70:52:57
Maine House District 20
Maine Senate District 34
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 41.1
Area sq. mi. (land) 37.7
Population/sq.mi. (land) 64.9
County: York

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Acton Population Chart 1830-2010

Population Trend 1830-2010

Sign: "Town Line Acton" (2014)[AK-tun] is a town in York County, incorporated on March 6, 1830 from a portion of Shapleigh; it ceded some land back to Shapleigh in 1831.

It was part of a much larger tract of land in purchased in 1661 by Francis Small from Chief Sunday of the Newichawannock Tribe.

Settled in 1776, the town’s first mill, a grist mill, was built on the Salmon Falls River in 1779 by Joseph Parsons.

Prior to incorporation it was the western part of the plantation of Hubbardstown; in 1789 it became the eastern part of Shapleigh. The town was named for Acton, Massachusetts, which was named for Acton, England, part of greater London.

Shipping Apples in Acton (George French Collection, Maine State Archives)

Shipping Apples (c. 1940)

Apple Farm in Acton (2012)

Apple Farm in Acton (2012)

Apples have been a significant crop for this western Maine community, though the number of active orchards has declined in recent years.

Silver was discovered in 1877, followed by a decade of mining and prospecting, after which the mines were abandoned.

Beginning in 1850, the town’s population began a century of decline, reaching its lowest point in 1940.

As have several small communities in York County, Acton has shown significant population growth in recent years.  The number of permanent residents has more than tripled since 1970, and doubled since 1980 when its population was the highest it had been in 120 years .

2010 U.S.Census figures confirm that the trend continues.

1841 Baptist Church in South Acton (2014)

1841 Baptist Church, (2014) @

Acton Fairgrounds (2014)

Acton Fairgrounds (2014) @

Acton Public Safety Building (2014)

Public Safety Building (2014)

Acton Elementary School (2014)

Elementary School (2014)

Action Municipal Buildings (2014)

Municipal Buildings (2014) @

Nestled on a small hillside near Route 109 and H Road are the town’s library, town hall, and 1781 Congregational Church. Two veterans memorials lie nearby. Acton’s western border is with New Hampshire and is defined by the Salmon Falls River.  It has substantial frontage on several lakes: Mousam, Wilson, Great East, and Square Pond.

World Wars I & II Veterans Memorial (2014)

World Wars I & II Veterans Memorial (2014)

Korean & Vietnam Wars Veterans Memorial (2014)

Korean & Vietnam Wars Veterans Memorial (’14)

The town lies southwest of Sanford on U.S. Route 202 and Route 11, which continue into New Hampshire.

Convenience Store On Rt. 109 (2014)

Convenience Store On Rt. 109 (2014)

Mousam Lake on Rt. 109 (2014)

Mousam Lake on Rt. 109 (2014)

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

Additional resources

Chadbourne, Ava Harriet. Maine Place Names and The Peopling of its Towns.

Treadwell, Olive M. Sesquicentennial History of Acton, Maine 1830-1980. Town of Acton. 198?.

Goodwin, Esther E. Acton and Shapleigh, Maine – Past & Present. Shapleigh, Me. Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society. 1976.

Fullonton, Joseph. The History of Acton, Me. Dover, N.H. W. Burr, printer. 1847.

*Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me.   Text from

Petersen, Debbie. Shapleigh and Acton. Charleston, SC. Arcadia Publishing. 2010.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Lincoln School

[8 Orchard Road] This 19th century one-room schoolhouse was built in 1884 to serve the students of District# 2, one of 14 districts  in town at the time. Surviving into the 20th century, it was closed when a new multi-grade elementary school opened in 1957. * Photos taken 2014 at N43° 29′ 29.53″ W70° 54′ 39.64″.

1884 Lincoln One-Room School (2014)

1884 Lincoln One-Room School Interior (2014)


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This entry was last modified: September 14, 2017 06:25 PM

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