Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Caratunk

Location Map for Caratunk

Year Population
1970 2,168
1980 2,226
1990 2,382
2000 2,583
2010 2,511
Caratunk Population Chart 1850-2010

Population Trend 1850-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:48:38
W. Latitude 69:56:21
Maine House District 118
Maine Senate District 3
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 48.4
Area sq. mi. (land) 47.5
Population/sq.mi. (land) 52.9
County: Somerset

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Steve Longley, Kennebec Ferryman for AT Hikers (2007)

Steve Longley, Kennebec Ferryman for AT Hikers (2007)

Benedict Arnold Monument (2007)

Benedict Arnold Monument (2007)

sign: Catatunk 1840, with image of Pleasant Pond[KAR-ah-tunk] is a town in Somerset County, incorporated on October 14, 1977 from Caratunk Plantation. The Plantation was organized for election purposes in 1840 and again in 1893, and for tax purposes in 1903. Before it was organized, the U.S. Census reported a population of 105 in 1790.

Some difference of opinion exists about the meaning of the name. Lawrence Bond believes the name means “scraped field,” as in “Where caribou scrape snow to find grass.” Jim Brunelle says categorically, “Caratunk is derived from an Abenaki word meaning forbidding or crooked stream.”

The town is 40 miles north of Skowhegan, via U.S. Route 201, on the Kennebec River where both Pierce Pond Stream and Pleasant Pond Stream enter it.

Pleasant Pond Stream (2002)

Pleasant Pond Stream ’02 @

Pleasant Pond and Moxie Mountain are the major geographic features in Caratunk, other than the Kennebec River.  Pleasant Pond Stream make a short journey from the pond to the river.

The Appalachian Trail crosses the northeastern and north- western portions of the town, making a bend north to The Forks around Pleasant Pond.

AT Trail North from Caratunk (2007)

AT Trail North (2007)

Path to AT Trail North from Caratunk (2007)

Path to AT Trail North (2007)

The Kennebec River Crossing is very much a “watershed” for northbound hikers as they near the end of their 2,000+ mile journey. They wave a flag on the western shore in Carrying Place Township and, for 21 seasons from 1987 through 2007, awaited the arrival of Steve Longley, the Ferryman.

In 1775, Benedict Arnold’s expedition to Quebec crossed the Kennebec river in the south of Caratunk near Gates Hill from the east side to the west in Carrying Place Township. The steep descent from what is now U.S. Route 201 stops at the higher water level created by the Wyman Dam. Across the Kennebec Arnold’s Expedition entered the Great Carrying Place.

The small Caratunk village is just off U.S. Route 201, where loaded logging trucks frequently rumble by .  Its Main Street intersects with Pleasant Pond Road leading to that pond in the interior of the town.

Caratunk Village (2014)

Caratunk Village (2014) @

Post office in Caratunk Village (2014)

Village Post Office (’14)

Caratunk Village (2014)

Caratunk Village (2014) @

Maine Forest Service in Caratunk Village (2014)

Maine Forest Service in the Village (2014) @

Logging Truck on U.S. Route 201 in Caratunk (2014)

Logging Truck on U.S. Route 201  (2014) @


Benedict Arnold’s Expedition Route – click a Bateau

Bateau North IconBateau East Icon<== To Quebec        To Beginning ==>

The monument above left reads “This tablet marks the place where Colonel Benedict Arnold with his soldiers left the Kennebec River October 1775 and marched from the west shore in a northwesterly direction to Dead River on their way to Quebec.” Placed by the Kennebec Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution 1976.”

AT South Boot Icon<= South      Appalachian Trail – click  a boot     North AT North Boot Icon=>


Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

More Videos!


Additional resources

Bruce, Amy M. Caratunk: A Pictorial History. Published By Amy M. Bruce Under The Auspices of the Sesquicentennial Committee. Caratunk, Me. Amy M. Bruce. North Anson, Me. Printed by Carrabassett Printers. 1990.

Clowes, Florence Waszkielewicz. Small World: Ethnographic Research of Caratunk, Maine. 1974. University of Maine, Fogler Library, Special Collections.

McAllister, Donna. The Sesquicentennial History Of Caratunk, Maine. Caratunk, Me. History Committee? North Anson, Me. Printed by Carrabassett Printers. 1990?

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This entry was last modified: June 09, 2017 10:42 PM

One Response to Caratunk

  1. Katherine Stevens Campbell says:

    Would like some information on a farm, was held by Ansel Herbet Stevens. I am his Granddaughter. I would like to know where it was?
    Thank You
    Katherine Stevens Campbell

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