Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Alfred

Map of Maine Showing the location of Alfred. Green areas are unorganized territories.

Location Map for Alfred

Year Population
1970 1,211
1980 1,890
1990 2,238
2000 2,497
2010 3,019
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 43:28:55
W. Latitude 70:44:18
Maine House District 21
Maine Senate District 32
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 27.9
Area sq. mi. (land) 27.2
Population/sq.mi. (land) 91.7
County: York

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Alfred Population Chart 1800-2010

Population Trend 1800-2010

Alfred Country Store in Alfred (2003)

Alfred Country Store (2003)

Alfred Town Hall (2002)

[AL-fred] is a town in York County, incorporated on February 25, 1808.

It was named for Alfred the Great, England’s Saxon King of the Ninth Century.

Though Simon Coffin of Massachusetts arrived in 1764, the first permanent settlement took place in 1770.

Shaker Museum on Shaker Hill (2012)

Shaker Museum (2012)

Shaker Museum Interior (2012)

Museum Interior (2012) @

Later, a Shaker community, including Alfred Town Hall members of the Coffin family, settled on a hill overlooking what is now called Shaker Pond, a 78-acre water body in the town’s north.  The “Carriage House” on the hill hosts the Shaker Museum.

Residence Hall on Shaker Hill (2012)

Residence Hall, Shaker Hill (2012) @

Founder, Brothers of Christian Instruction (2012)

Founder of the Brothers (2012) @

The Shaker community has been succeeded by a Catholic retreat campus on Shaker Hill.  A statue there commemorates “J. M. Robert de la Mannais, 1780-1860, Founder of  the Brothers of Christian Instruction.”

Cemetery Lane leads to the resting place of Shakers, and Christian Brothers.

York County Courthouse in Alfred (2003)

York County Courthouse in Alfred (2003)

The York County seat since 1803, it was incorporated on February 4, 1794 as a district, having been part of Sanford.

John Holmes, who arrived in 1799, was a young lawyer specializing in real estate law, a skill in great demand in the poorly defined properties of the area.

Holmes,  who became a U.S. Senator, provided the impetus for locating the York County Court House, completed in 1807, in Alfred.

Parsons Memorial Library in Alfred (2002)

Parsons Memorial Library in Alfred (2002)

Alfred set off land to Sanford on February 23, 1828 and annexed land from Waterborough (now Waterboro) on July 22, 1847.

Originally, the area was known to the Native Americans as Massabesic and was acquired from Chief Fluellin in 1661 by Major William Phipps. According to Brunelle the price was “‘two large blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, 20 strings of beads’ and several other articles.”

Troop A State Police (2012)

Troop A State Police (2012) @

Shaker Hill Apple Festival (2012)

Festival Sign (2012) @

American Legion Post (2012)

American Legion Post (2012)


Alfred is the county seat of York County and was the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930’s.

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

Additional resources

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

Beard, Frank A. and Bette A. Smith. Maine’s Historic Places: Properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Camden, Me. Down East Books. c1982.

Boyle, Frederick R. Early Families of Alfred, Maine. Portsmouth, N.H. Peter E. Randall. 2006.

Congregational Church (Alfred, Me.). Alfred, Maine Congregational Church records vol. I & II, 1782-1866 : members, baptisms, marriages & deaths. Sanford & Springvale, Maine, Genealogical Committee Publisher 1949.

Eastman, Harland H. A Cluster of Maine Villages: Sanford and Springvale, Acton, Shapleigh and Alfred. Springvale, Me. H. H. Eastman, 1991. (Sanford, Me. Robert M. Wilson, Wilson’s Printers).

Eastman, Harland H. Alfred, Maine: the Shakers and the Village. Springvale, Me. H. H. Eastman, 1986. (Sanford, Me. Wilson’s Printers)

First Baptist Church (Alfred, Me.). Records of the First Baptist Church of Alfred, Maine, 1836-1914. Sanford and Springvale, Maine. 1935-1936. The Benapeag Chapter, DAR, 1936.

Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me.   Text and photos from National Register of Historic Places: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/xxxxxxxx.PDF and http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/photos/xxxxxxxx.PDF

Alfred Historic District: 83000479.PDF
Shaker Historic District: 01000371.PDF
District No. 5 School: 09000015.PDF
Senator John Holmes House: 75000117.PDF
Lord-Dane House: 92001708.PDF

Parsons, Usher. A Centennial History of Alfred, York County, Maine. Sanford, Everts & Co., Publisher. Philadelphia, Collins, printer. 1872.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Alfred Historic District, Kennebunk and Saco Roads.

The historic district is located in the center of Alfred Village, which was incorporated as a municipal district February 4, 1794. The Conant and Knight families settled here during the 1760’s. They and their descendants built many of the homes and shops around the village green. John Knight built a barn and ell where he entertained early travelers, earning the nickname, “Barn Knight.” During the revolutionary period, meetings to discuss the new form of government took place in the barn. Early church meetings were also held there. Across the street is the oldest home in the village center, now called “The Beehive.” Lawyers found it useful to live near the court house and the jail. Their affluence and pride in their homes greatly influenced the character of the village.

Alfred Shaker Historic District, both sides of Shaker Hill Road [See photos above.]

The District contains late eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century buildings astride Shaker Hill Road in an historic rural landscape. With an area of about 300 acres, on a hillside that rises from about 250 feet to 470 feet, it contains fields bordered by stone walls and forests.

Development began in 1793 with the Meeting House, followed by several two-story dwellings and shops that fronted on Shaker Hill Road. Agricultural outbuildings were built in a second and third line, primarily to the west side of the road. Nineteenth century views of the community reveal the extent of the facilities at the original Church Family compound, and at the smaller Second and North Family complexes to the north. Agricultural fields bordered by stone walls are clearly evident in these views.

In 1931, the Shaker residents in Alfred moved to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community in New Gloucester. Their lands in Alfred, Lyman and Waterboro were sold to the Brothers of Christian Instruction. Although the Brothers erected buildings on the property, they maintained the scale and siting pattern established by the Shakers. They have retained the core of the land holdings immediately surrounding the buildings, and have preserved the historic agricultural use of much of the land.

District No. 5 School, also known as the Alfred Gore School, 781 Gore Road

District No. 5 School Exterior

District No. 5 School Exterior

Located in the village of North Alfred, the schoolhouse and woodshed/outhouse is situated on a grassy lot surrounded on three sides by stone walls at the northern edge of the village. Last used as a school in 1921, it had functioned as a residence, club house and community hall through the 1990s.

The district included the northwestern third of Alfred. After the Civil War North Alfred was a substantial village with a church, post office, store, blacksmith shop, sawmill, and later a Grange hall. In 1872 Jonathan Bean deeded land to the district. This provides the traditional date for the erection of the schoolhouse, but some evidence suggests it could have been built as early as 1856.

District No. 5 School Interior

District No. 5 School Interior

It served students through the eighth grade. A wood stove provided heat; water was brought in from a spring in the summer and from a local farm in the winter. The school year was divided into three terms; spring, fall, and winter; teachers were hired by the term. The one room schoolhouse was familiar in rural Maine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Each school district was responsible for hiring teachers and erecting and maintaining its own school.

In 1884 reformers established a town-wide school committee. In the early 20th century, the State issued guidance for the certification of teachers, and school building standards. A push to grade the schools, close schools with few or sporadic students, and transport students to schools beyond walking distance, led to the school closure in 1921. Photos by Christi A. Mitchell, September 2, 2008.

Holmes, Sen. John, House, US Route 202.

Senator John Holmes House

Senator John Holmes House

Senator Holmes built a fifteen room mansion surrounding an enclosed court. The first story formal rooms have elaborate Federal woodwork. Other rooms reflect a more restrained treatment of period woodwork. In the front hall is a circular staircase, while the second floor hall displays a vaulted ceiling.

Holmes’ mansion of 1802 is an interesting blend, of the heavy mass of the main house with delicate ornamentation superimposed upon it. The ambitious portico and unusual bow and arrow balustrade establish the house as one of Maine’s finest examples of provincial Federal style architecture. Photo by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., August 14, 1974.

Lord–Dane House, Federal Street West side, 2 miles North of junction with US Route 202

Lord-Dane House Front

Lord-Dane House Front

The Lord-Dane House is an early nineteenth century farmhouse which exemplifies regionally distinct architectural traits characteristic of the Federal period in York County. It was built as a rural retreat by an important shipbuilder, Tobias Lord, for his wife about 1803.

Alfred Lord-Dane Side View

Alfred Lord-Dane Side View

The house consists of an L-shaped dwelling with an attached wing that was the carriage barn and storehouse. It overlooks Shaker Pond and the remains of Shaker Village on the opposite shore. Photos by Roger G. Reed, September, 1992.

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