Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Guilford

Location Map for Guilford

Year Population
1970 1,880
1980 1,793
1990 1,710
2000 1,531
2010 1,521
Guilford Population Chart 1820-2010

Population Trend 1820-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 45:12:31
W. Latitude 69:20:29
Maine House District 119
Maine Senate District 4
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 35.7
Area sq. mi. (land) 35.0
Population/sq.mi. (land) 43.5
County: Piscataquis

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Plaque for Low's Bridge (2004)

Plaque for Low’s Bridge (2004)

[GIHL-frd]is a town in Piscataquis County, incorporated on February 8, 1816 from the township T6 R7, NWP.

Guilford Municipal Building and Fire Department (2011)

Municipal Building, Fire Dept. (2011)

Guilford Memorial Library (2002)

Memorial Library (2002)

Formerly a grant to Bowdoin College, the land became available for settlement in about 1804 and in 1805 the first crops were grown and houses built.

Low's covered bridge over the Piscataquis River in Guilford (2010)

Low’s Covered Bridge over the Piscataquis River in Guilford (2010)

Low's covered bridge over the Piscataquis River in Guilford (2010)

Low’s Covered Bridge over the Piscataquis River in Guilford (2010)

Since several of the Low family had moved there by 1806, Lowstown became the locally applied name.

In 1812 it was organized as a plantation. Soon the resident petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for incorporation as the town of Fluvanna. The proposed name was ignored in favor of Guilford.

Logs as raw material at Hardwood Products Company in Guilford (2010)

Logs as Raw Material at Hardwood Products in Guilford (2010)

Unused factory in Guilford near 187 Water Street (2010)

Unused factory, Water St. (’10)

United Methodist Church (2011)

United Methodist Church (2011)

The Piscataquis River flows through the main village with neighboring Sangerville, formed with some land from Guilford, on the southern shore.

The town was long a center for textile production.

The late 20th century history of Guilford was marked by fires, floods, and economic instability. The following is  condensed from an account by Tom Goulette:

Half the downtown burned during a wild snowstorm in 1969; five businesses were wiped out. In 1979 a flood caused severe damage at Pride Manufacturing and destroyed the Chase & Kimball Oil Company oil storage facility near the ball fields. Even so, there were over 1,000 jobs in a town of 1800 residents.

By 1983, retail businesses were thriving. The three local industries were modernizing and expanding, there was no municipal debt, several new businesses including a credit union arrived. Another downtown fire destroyed a clothing store, but it immediately rebuilt.

The greatest flood in the town’s history struck on April Fool’s Day 1987. Cresting at levels seven feet higher than ever and pushing huge ice floes ahead of the water, it damaged over 50 homes, and destroyed many structures including Low’s Covered Bridge. Damages overall were in the millions of dollars.

In 1992, Pride Manufacturing’s purchase of the former Ethan Allen plant in Burnham foreshadowed its diminishing presence in Guilford.

In the early 21st century, efforts at renewal were evident. A river festival was launched and a Downtown Revitalization project was complete, giving a new appearance to the south side of town with period lamp posts, concrete and granite sidewalks, and street trees.

Downtown Guilford (2011)

Downtown Guilford (2011) @

Downtown Guilford (2011)

Downtown Guilford (2011) @

Downtown Guilford (2011)

Downtown Guilford (2011) @

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board-Manager.

Additional resources

Celebrating 175 Years of Growth: Guilford Maine, 1816-1991. Guilford, Me. 175th Anniversary Committee. 1991. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

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

Goulette, Tom. “Modern History: 1966 to Present.” (accessed March 14, 2014)

Guilford (Me.) Guilford, Maine, 1816-1916; proceedings of the centennial celebration June 17-18, 1916. Dover Me. 1916.

Guilford Historical Society (Guilford, Me.) A Short Pictorial History of Guilford, Maine: 1860-1960. Guilford, Me. Guilford Historical Society. c2004.

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

Guilford Memorial Library: 86002107.PDF
Hudson, H., Law Offices: 79000162.PDF
Straw House: 82000776.PDF

McKusick, Carl. Guilford 2000. c2000.

Piscataquis Woolen Company (Guilford, Me.) Records, 1935 Dec. 4-1942 Nov. 12. (Cataloger Note: The Piscataquis Woolen Company in Guilford, Maine was established and incorporated in 1881. It manufactured cashmere, broadcloth, and ladies wear which was sold throughout the United States.) [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

Schultz, Sieferd C. Guilford and Sangerville. Charleston, SC. Arcadia Publishing. c2008.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Guilford Memorial Library

Guilford Memorial Library (2002)

Guilford Memorial Library (2002)

[Library and Water Streets] This 1908 library is an important example of local cultural enrichment, in part because it represents a long history of efforts to bring literary advantages to the community. Additionally, the building placed on the landscape is a substantial architectural statement. (See photo above.)

In 1909 the “Bangor Commercial” noted, in part: This beautiful building, as well as the collection of nearly 3,000 volumes which will be so finely housed and which antedate the building by several years, are the outgrowth of many years of hard and diligent work by a little band of intelligent, cultivated, enthusiastic ladies. . . . The library finds its origin in a circulating book club organized by these same ladies early in 1900.

The library is architecturally significant for its unaltered condition and as a locally rare example of Renaissance design. As a center of culture in this relatively isolated industrial community, it was appropriate for the library building to exemplify what was the most up-to-date concepts in architectural design for public buildings.*

Hudson, H., Law Office

Hudson Law Office (1976)

Hudson Law Office (1976)

[Hudson Avenue] Of the small commercial buildings in Maine, none are more interesting as a group than the local law offices that sprung up in many communities during the 19th century. Almost always of superior design, they represent of most of the major architectural styles of the period. The H. Hudson Law Office is unequaled in terms of scale, neatness and sophistication. It exists as a tiny, ornate Mansard jewel in the otherwise rather plain surroundings of Guilford.

Henry Hudson built the office at the height of his career. He was admitted to the Piscataquis Bar in 1849 and was in active practice until his death in 1877. Hudson attained a reputation as one of the ablest lawyers in Eastern Maine. His son Henry continued practice in the same office until his retirement in 1919. Since that time the building has undergone various uses but in the 1970s was returned to its law office function.* [Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. photo]

Straw House

Straw House (1981)

Straw House (1981)

[Golda Court] The Straw House is an outstanding example of a highly decorative Queen Anne residence with striking external surface treatments in the gables and tower. In this respect it rivals any building of the style in Maine.

The house was built by David Robinson Straw, Jr. He was educated at Bowdoin College, was admitted to the Piscataquis Bar in 1862 and became a leader in community affairs and county legal circles. In 1880 he also established the insurance agency of Straw and Martin and shortly thereafter built this house on the crest of a hill above the town. The other leading legal figure in Guilford, Henry Hudson II (see Hudson Law Office) built a house, now gone, at about the same time. It had almost identical decorative features and must have been designed by the same architect.* [Frank A. Beard photo]

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