Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Cumberland

Location Map for Cumberland

Year Population
1970 4,096
1980 5,284
1990 5,836
2000 7,159
2010 7,211
Cumberland Population Chart 1830-2010

Population Trend 1830-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 43:45:22
W. Latitude 70:11:22
Maine House District 45
Maine Senate District 25
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 46.4
Area sq. mi. (land) 26.1
Population/sqmi (land) 276.3
County: Cumberland

Total=land+water; Land=land only

Clipper Ship Built Here

  • Grapeshot–1853

[KUM-ber-land] is a town in Cumberland County, incorporated on April 2, 1822 from a portion of North Yarmouth.

The town stretches inland from West Cumberland bordering Windham, to Cumberland Foreside on Casco Bay.

It is the birth place in 1797 of Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr., who wrote the Shaker song, “Simple Gifts.”  In 1880 its population numbered 1,619.

Toll Road House (2002)

Toll Road House (2002)

According to local residents, the structure pictured at right was a way point on a toll road that ran through Cumberland Center many years ago.

The Gazetteer of Maine, in 1886, sang the praises of the community as follows:

Church in Cumberland Center (2001)

Church in Cumberland Center (2001)

It is also a place of much mental culture, having a Congregational Church, and an excellent academy called Greely Institute. . . .

The institute has a good library, and is also the place where many excellent lectures and other intellectual entertainments are afforded to people. 

Cumberland is notable for the many  distinguished persons,- ministers, missionaries, authors and teachers, who were born or have lived there. . . .

A large, old-fashioned wooden building constitutes a town-hall, convenient for many purposes. The public and private property is generally in good repair, and the town has a thrifty look to the traveler. 

Along many of the public roads are shade-trees–maple and elm–from ten to one hundred years old.

The town had nine public school houses in 1886, and four churches.

Chebeague Island, long a part of Cumberland, formed its own town in 2007.

Cumberland retains two other coastal islands: Sturdivant and Basket, 5. miles and 1.5 miles off-shore.

The Cumberland Historical Society building is next to the old Town Hall on Blanchard Street in Cumberland Center.

Former Town Hall (2005)

Former Town Hall (2005)

Cumberland Historical Society (2005)

Cumberland Historical Society (2005)

Basket Island, managed by The Nature Conservancy, is a nature preserve of .9 acres of mixed forest and shell and gravel beaches, with ospreys nesting on nearby ledges.

The town itself, a suburb of Portland, grew by almost 23 percent between 1990 and 2000.

Form of Government: Council-Manager

Additional resources

Bennett, Thomas C., ed. Vital Records from Town Reports of the Town of Cumberland, Maine, 1893-1960. Rockport, Me. Picton Press. c2005.

Sweetser, Mary E. History of the Town of Cumberland, Maine. Compiled for the Centennial Celebration, July 2-4, 1921. Yarmouth, Me. A. F. Tilton., 1921.

Sweetser, Phyllis Sturdivant, ed. Cumberland, Maine in Four Centuries. Cumberland, Me. The Town of Cumberland. 1976.

Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. 1886. pp. 184-185.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Captain Ruel and Lucy Merrill House

[66  Winn Road, Cumberland Center] The 1835 Merrill House is a 1½ story Greek Revival style cape connected to a striking Greek Revival barn. It is a relatively intact example of a connected farm complex and is noted for the architectural finish of the barn and front doorway of the house.

Reuel Merrill (1808-1875) was known as “Captain” Merrill apparently because of his maritime career as a sailor and shipmaster in the mid-19th century. Merrill married Lucy Knight (1815-1861). Two of their four children, William and Louville, served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. The Merrills occupied this house until their deaths. During the 1920s or 1930s several modifications were made to the house, at which time it was named “Ridgelands.”  The house is across the road from the Winn Road School.

Captain Ruel and Lucy Merrill House (2001)

Captain Ruel and Lucy Merrill House (2001)

Winn Road School (2001)

Winn Road School, District #7, 1816 (2001)

Winn Road School

[Winn Road Cumberland Center] This 1846 building was a rural district school built by the Town of Cumberland. It is one of only two known surviving one-room, brick, Greek Revival schoolhouses in Maine, the other, also in Cumberland, has been substantially altered. The Winn Road building ceased functioning as a school in the early 20th century.

Little remains of the its original interior, but a sloping floor, allowing a teacher to keep an eye on students, remained in 1983. The building was sold in the late 20th century with a preservation easement requiring maintenance of the facade and prohibiting demolition.

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This entry was last modified: February 18, 2018 09:57 PM

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