Maine: An Encyclopedia
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Androscoggin River

rises in the northwestern corner of the state, enters New Hampshire at Errol, then crosses back in the Oxford County town of Gilead. It then heads north at Bethel to Rumford and Mexico before turning south to Livermore Falls and the cities of Lewiston and Auburn.

Androscoggin River from Route 2 in Rumford Center (2010)

Androscoggin River from Route 2 in Rumford Center (2010)

Androscoggin River at Durham River Park in Durham (2004)

Androscoggin River at Durham River Park in Durham (2004)

The Little Androscoggin is its largest tributary, flowing from Bryant Pond through Oxford County including Norway and South Paris, finally joining the main river at Auburn. Other tributaries are the Nezinscot at Turner, the Webb at Dixfield Village, and the Ellis and the Swift rivers joining at Rumford.  The main river continues south through Livermore, Livermore Falls, Auburn, Lewiston, Lisbon and Durham.

Webb River at Dixfield (2013)

Webb River at Dixfield (2013)

Androscoggin River at Dixfield (2013)

Androscoggin River at Dixfield (2013)

Sign for Florida Power and Light's Brunswick Fishway (2010)

Sign for Florida Power and Light’s Brunswick Fishway (2010)

Fish Through Viewing Glass at Brunswick Fishway (2010)

Fish Through Viewing Glass at Brunswick Fishway (2010)

Androscoggin River and Fishway near Brunswick-Topsham Bridge (2010)

Androscoggin River and Fishway near Brunswick-Topsham Bridge (2010)


The river passes through Brunswick and Topsham just before joining the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay. All the major communities along its route used its power to support mills, factories, and electric generating facilities.

Rapids in the Androscoggin, Riverside Drive, Lewiston (2013)

Rapids in the Androscoggin, Riverside Drive, Lewiston (2013)

Great Falls at Auburn-Lewiston (June, 1973), U.S. EPA photo

Great Falls at Auburn-Lewiston (June, 1973), U.S. EPA photo; National Archives # NWDNS-412-DA-


Androscoggin, though appearing in many forms and spellings, essentially means “place for preparing or curing fish,” probably referring to the falls at Lewiston.

The third longest Maine river at 174 miles, it drains 3,430 square miles. Once the most polluted, smelly and toxic river, the water quality of the Androscoggin has improved markedly in recent decades.

Additional resources

Lawrance, Walter A. Androscoggin River Pulp and Paper Industry and Pollution Abatement, 1942-1977: Final Report of the Androscoggin River Technical Committee. Lewiston, Me. The Committee. 1978.

Sargent, David A. Remembering Lewiston-Auburn on the Mighty Androscoggin: River Views. Charleston, SC.History Press. 2010.

Wight, D. B. The Androscoggin River Valley, Gateway To The White Mountains. Rutland, Vt. C.E. Tuttle Co. 1967.

Wood, Richard G. A History of Lumbering in Maine: 1820-1861, p. 13.

This entry was posted in Ecology, Rivers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment