Maine: An Encyclopedia


Brewer Along the Penobscot (2003)

Brewer Along the Penobscot (2003)

Year Population
1970 9,300
1980 9,017
1990 9,021
2000 8,987
2010 9,482
Brewer Population Chart 1820-2010

Population Trend 1820-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:46:44
W. Latitude 69:25:29
Maine House Dists 128,129
Maine Senate District 8
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 15.6
Area sq. mi. (land) 15.1
Population/sq.mi. (land) 628.0
County: Penobscot

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Unidentified Bell at Brewer City Hall (2013)

Unidentified Bell at Brewer City Hall (2013) @

[BREW-er] is a city in Penobscot County, incorporated on February 22, 1812 from a portion of Orrington and named for an early settler from Worcester, Massachusetts – Col. John Brewer – who arrived in 1770.

He promptly began to build a mill on the nearby Segeunkedunk Stream in what is now South Brewer. The first settlement was known as New Worcester. In his later years, beginning in 1800, Col. Brewer became the first postmaster, a post he held for thirty years.

In 1841 Brewer annexed land from Orrington, Dedham, and Bucksport. Later (1846, 1855) it gave up land to Eddington, and in 1852 to Holden. Left with only a little over 15 square miles, it incorporated as a city on March 30, 1880.

A brief excerpt about Brewer’s history [edited and condensed] noted:

Originally the streams emptying into the Penobscot River allowed for dams and dams power mills; sawmills for creating lumber and grist mills for grinding corn and grains. Later the river itself would have dams, which created power plants, paper mills, and textile mills. The river paved the way for log drives that started in the great north woods. The logs provided material for lumber, shipbuilding and shingle making.

One of the major industries of the Brewer area in the 1800s was shipbuilding. This was the days of the great wooden ships and Brewer was the center for building some of the great wooden sailing ships in America.

First Congregational Church (2013)

First Congregational Church (2013) @

North Brewer Eddington United Methodist Church (2013)

North Brewer Eddington United Methodist Church (2013)

Daniel Sargent owned a large sawmill in South Brewer. During the Civil War, he commanded the company of “Tigers” (Penobscot River Drivers) in the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also called “The Bangor Regiment.” This was the first unit to march out of Maine in 1861 and saw 11 battles. Sargent ended the war as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The community has long been a paper making center, primarily based on the Eastern Manufacturing (later Eastern Fine Paper) Company in South Brewer on the banks of the Penobscot River.

This area of the city has historically been its industrial center.  In the early 20th century several labor unions formed here: Papermakers (1902); Pulp, Sulphite and Papermill Workers (1903); Foundary Workers (1902); and Sawmill Employees (1902).

Eastern Fine Paper from South Main Street (2003)

Eastern Fine Paper from South Main Street

Eastern Manufacturing (postcard c. 1910), later Eastern Fine Paper Company

Eastern Manufacturing (postcard c. 1910)

Though afflicted with declining population from 1970 through 2000, the City has seen significant growth, topping the 1970 count in 2010.

Restaurant on the Penobscot River (2014)

Restaurant on the Penobscot River (2014) @

Eighty Chamberlain Street in Brewer is the birthplace of Civil War General and Governor Joshua L. Chamberlain. Folklorist Fannie Hardy Eckstorm was also born here and later founded the Brewer Public Library in 1908.

Form of Government: Council-Mayor-Manager.

Additional resources

Brewer. Compiled by Richard R. Shaw. Charleston, S.C. Arcadia. 2000.

Brewer, City of. “Brewer History.” (accessed November 19, 2014)

Fifield, Alma Marguerite. City Manager Government In Brewer, Maine. 1941. (Thesis (Honors) in History and Government–University of Maine, 1941.)

Gerry, Wyman P. Photograph Collection ca. 1900-ca. 1950 “… contains a number of glass negatives of photographs of Brewer, Maine around the turn of the century. Also present are a few later photographs taken in the 1950’s.” Special Collections, Fogler Library, University of Maine. Orono.

Kenney, Howard F. Past Times in Brewer, Maine. [Bangor Public Library]

*Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me.   Text and photos from National Register of Historic Places: and

Penobscot Salmon Club and Pool: 76000109.PDF (1976)
Sargent, Daniel, House: 82000425.PDF (1982)

Saucier, Neil. The City of Brewer, Maine, Centennial 1889-1989: Its History and Observance for its Centennial Year 1989. Brewer, Me. L. H. Thompson Printing. 1989.

Shaw, Richard R. The Lower Penobscot River Region. Dover, N.H. Arcadia., 1996.

Vickery, James B. A Pictorial History of Brewer, Maine. Brewer, Me. Published under the auspices of Brewer Bicentennial Committee. 1976.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Penobscot Expedition Site

[Address Restricted, Bangor-Brewer; see details about the Penobscot Expedition.]

Penobscot Salmon Club and Pool

Penobscot Salmon Club Clubhouse (1976)

Penobscot Salmon Club Clubhouse (1976)

[North Main Street North Brewer] The famous Bangor Salmon Pool is a stretch of relatively shallow, fast running water. The clubhouse of the Penobscot Salmon Club, a private club founded in 1894, sits on the shore. Although salmon were once very plentiful in the Penobscot, this particular area was found to be the most productive for fisherman. In the 1970s, although the average fish was smaller, many salmon were taken yearly from the “Pool.”

Bangor-Brewer Salmon Pool 1976

Bangor-Brewer Salmon Pool 1976

Beginning in 1914, during the Wilson Administration, a tradition had been established by the club of sending the first salmon caught by a member each year to the President of the United States. The present clubhouse, built in 1923, is somewhat smaller than the original building constructed in 1887, seven years prior to the formation of the club.

Another tradition has been the angler’s breakfast held each year on opening day of the season. The Penobscot Salmon Club at the Bangor Salmon Pool is a distinguished holdover of a gentlemen’s sporting club of the 19th century.* [Frank A. Beard photos]

After several years of closure, Maine reopened its  wild salmon season in 2006. In 2015 a new museum and associated educational buildings was in the planning stage, to be located on land owned by the Penobscot Salmon Club Corporation.

Sargent, Daniel House

[613 South Main Street] The Daniel Sargent House is one of only three Gothic Revival “villas” in Penobscot County, the only one in Brewer, or on the east bank of the Penobscot River. Brewer has no larger Victorian house and no more striking landmark within the village of South Brewer.

Daniel Sargent House (2003)

Daniel Sargent House (2003)

The house was built at the same time as two Gothic Revival villas in Bangor. Two front towers were added in the 1880’s or 1890’s, but do not detract from the “picturesque” bearing of the structure. The gables contain more feet of vine-like “vergehoarding” than any Gothic Revival house in central Maine, although the same pattern can be found on at least two other Penobscot Valley houses.

Daniel Sargent House, 613 South Main Street in Brewer

Daniel Sargent House (2003)

This house is also notable as the home of Daniel Sargent (1811-1885), one of the Bangor-Brewer area’s premier “lumber-barons” (saw-mill owners), in the mid-19th century, when Bangor was “The Lumber Capital of the WorId.” Sargent also owned a major Brewer shipyard, and was the first man to cut and export ice on the Penobscot River, a venture which became a major local industry by the 1880’s.Other than the addition of the towers, the house has been altered only in the removal of the original front porch in the mid-1940’s. A side porch, identical in detailing with the demolished porch, has been retained under a wooden-glass enclosure, which is easily removable. The house retains virtually all of its original acreage, and remains in excellent condition.*

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This entry was last modified: September 20, 2017 01:28 AM

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