Maine: An Encyclopedia


Year Population
1970 9,989
1980 10,578
1990 10,573
2000 9,112
2010 10,362
Orono Population Chart 1810-2010

Population Trend 1810-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:52:58
W. Latitude 68:42:13
Maine House Dists 123,124
Maine Senate District 5
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 19.8
Area sq. mi. (land) 18.2
Population/sqmi (land) 569.3
County: Penobscot

Total=land+water; Land=land only
St. Mary's Catholic Church (2005)

St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Sign: Welcome to Orono (2005)[OR-uh-no] is a town in Penobscot County, incorporated on March 12, 1806 from Stillwater Plantation. In 1840 it ceded land to form Old Town.

The town is named for a well-respected Chief of the Penobscots who supported the American Revolution.

The name “Orono” may not be of Indian origin since he reportedly said that his father was French and his mother was half-French and half-Indian.

Governor Israel Washburn House (2005)

Gov. Washburn House (2005)

Nathaniel Treat House (2005)

Nathaniel Treat House (2005)

The town was settled in about 1774, but in 1775 the pioneers retreated to other nearby settlements for protection against Indian raids.

Revolutionary Patriots Memorial (2005)

Revolutionary Patriots Memorial

After the Revolutionary War they returned along with others to develop mills and lumbering.

Water power was plentiful with the Stillwater River bisecting the town and merging with the Penobscot along its east boundary.

A comment from the Fogler Library’s Special Collections, notes the impact of early setters:

Gideon Mayo was born in 1808 and lived in Orono, Maine. He was involved in various businesses in the Orono area and served as agent for several sawmills on the Stillwater River, including the Basin Mills, the Island Mills, and the Orono Manufacturing Company which consisted of sawmills and water-power on the lower dam at Ayers Island on the Stillwater River in Orono.

Mayo also became involved in the 1850’s in founding and financing the Penobscot Railroad Company and served as a member of the Board of Directors and as president of the company.

In 1903 two labor unions existed in the town: the Sawmill Workers’ Union and the Papermakers’ Union.

A land-grant agricultural school was established at Orono in 1862, evolving in 1865 into the University of Maine, which now dominates the town’s economy and culture.

Post Office (2005)

Post Office (2005)

Shops and Pat's Pizza (2005)

Shops and Pat’s Pizza (2005)

Pat’s Pizza, at the center in the photo at right, has been a major institution among students for generations.

It has since opened restaurants in other towns across the state.

Orono Land Trust manages the Gould Landing area at Pushaw Lake, which includes 38 acres of upland, wetlands, and two islands.  The Nadeau-Savoy park at the landing memorializes two Orono men killed in action in1966 and 1970.

Pushaw Lake near Gould Landing (2014)

Nadeau-Savoy Park at Pushaw Lake (2014)

Nadeau-Savoy Park at Pushaw Lake (2014)

Pushaw Lake near Gould's Landing (2014)

Pushaw Lake near Gould's Landing (2014)

Pushaw Lake near Gould's Landing (2014)

Form of Government: Council-Manager

Additional sources

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

Day, Clarence Albert, 1883-1981. Historical sketch of Orono. Orono, Me. 1956.

Doty, Stewart C. Orono, 1806-2006. Orono, Me. Orono Historical Society. c2006. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

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

Old Fire Engine House: 85002181.PDF

Mayo, Gideon, 1808-1876. Papers. Special Collections, Fogler Library, University of Maine. Orono.

Peterson, Scott D. Orono. Chicago, Ill. Arcadia. 2004.

Rogers, Hanna W., ed. A History of Orono, Maine. 1926. Special Collections, Fogler Library, University of Maine. Orono.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Colburn, William, House, 91 Bennoch Road

Maine Experiment Station Barn, University of Maine campus

Old Fire Engine House, North Main Street

Old Fire Engine House (1985)

Old Fire Engine House (1985)

The Old Fire Engine House is a virtually unaltered example of a late 19th century fire station. It was also important to the northern half of the town, separated from the rest of the community by the Stillwater River. This area developed after the Civil War as an industrial center with factories and working class housing. [Roger G. Reed photo]

Although a volunteer fire department was organized in the late 1830s, an engine house was not built until the 1860s. Known as Monitor Hall, it served the town center south of the Stillwater River. A town meeting in 1892 raised $2,000 for an engine house. Designed in a modified Colonial Revival style, it contained a large hall at grade level for the engine. Below grade, where the structure was built into the side of a hill, were the horse stalls. A bell tower at the front called the volunteer firemen. A hose tower is in the rear.

The interior has original woodwork on the floors, walls and ceilings. The walls have tongue and groove paneling; windows have molded trim with corner blocks.

Orono Main Street Historic District, Main Street from Maplewood Avenue to Pine Street

Treat, Nathaniel, House, 114 Main Street

University of Maine at Orono Historic District, Munson, Sebec, and Schoodic Roads

US Post Office–Orono Main, Forest and Bennoch Streets

Washburn, Governor Israel, House, 120 Main Street

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