Maine: An Encyclopedia


Location Map for Pembroke

Year Population
1970 700
1980 920
1990 852
2000 879
2010 840
Pembroke Population Chart 1840-2010

Population Trend 1840-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:56:33
W. Latitude 67:10:19
Maine House District 140
Maine Senate District 6
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 35.2
Area sq. mi. (land) 27.4
Population/sq.mi. (land) 30.7
County: Washington

Total=land+water; Land=land only

Clipper Ships Built Here

  • Comet–1852
  • Queen of the Pacific–1852
  • Western Continent–1853

[PEM-broke] is a town in Washington County, settled in the 1770’s and incorporated on February 4, 1832 from a portion of Dennysville.

"The Square Pembroke, Me." (postcard c. 1905)

“The Square Pembroke, Me.” (postcard c. 1905)

Its economy in 1886 was described in the Gazetteer of Maine, when the population exceeded 2,000:

Pemmaquan River, the principal stream in town, furnishes not less than five good water-powers, all of which are occupied. There are two mills for manufacturing long and short lumber, a planing mill and a sash and blind factory, two grist-mills, and works of the Pembroke Iron Company. These consist of furnaces, rolling-mill, machine-shop, etc. . . . General Ezekiel Foster, an enterprising merchant of Eastport, was the originator of this enterprise, having commenced building the work in 1832.

The town was also noted for its shipbuilding, which began in 1825.  By 1860 Pembroke had seven shipyards, though only two survived by the late 19th century.

The lawyer, newspaper editor, political leader and humorist William Pattangall was born here in 1865.

West Pembroke is the birthplace, on September 9, 1898, of New Hampshire Republican governor and U.S. Senator Henry Styles Bridges. He attended the local public schools and was graduated from Pembroke High School in 1916, then from the School of Agriculture, University of Maine at Orono in 1918. Bridges was agricultural agent for Hacock County and manager of the 1,000 acre Thoreau Farm.

Bridges moved to New Hampshire in 1921, was elected governor in 1935 and U.S. Senator in 1937. In the Senate he was minority leader 1952-1953 and served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Eighty-third Congress. According to his biographer, President Franklin Roosevelt selected him as one of the few Americans to know of the development of the atomic bomb. Bridges visited Pembroke often. He died on November 26, 1961.

The town is also the birthplace of Dr. Charles H. Best, the co-discoverer of insulin.

Pembroke’s Leighton Neck extends into Cobscook Bay and is bounded by the broad expanses of the Dennys River and the Pennamaquan River. Reversing Falls State Park is nearby.

Beginning in Charlotte’s Pennamaquan Lake and extending through Pembroke along the Pennamaquan River is the Pennamaquan Wildlife Management Area. This 1,500-plus acre site offers opportunities for boating, canoeing, hunting, fishing, and viewing of eagles, deer and waterfowl.

The main village straddles the latter river near the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Maine Route 214.

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

Additional resources

Kiepper, James J. Styles Bridges/Yankee Senator. Sugar Hill, New Hampshire: Phoenix Press. 2001.

Maine. Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  “Pennaquam WMA.” (accessed February 16, 2012)

Pembroke Sesquicentennial 1832-1982: Settled 1770, Incorporated 1832. Pembroke, Me.? Published by the Pembroke Sesquicentennial Committee, 1982. (Machias, Me. Printed by Commercial Printing Co.) [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library]

Pembroke Terquasquicentennial, 1832-2007: Settled 1770, Incorporated 1832. Pembroke, Me. Pembroke Historical Society., 2007. [Maine State Library]

Stoddard, Ezekiel. Pembroke Stage Accommodation. 1866-1867. (Cataloger Note: Daybook used by Zeke Stoddard to record seat reservations for his stage line in Pembroke, Maine. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. 1886. pp. 431-432.

Wilder, Sidney A. Centennial Celebration of the Town of Pembroke, Maine. 1928-1932. [Maine State Library]

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Best, Charles, House, County Road, West Pembroke

Reversing Falls Site, Address Restricted

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This entry was last modified: December 09, 2014 12:15 AM

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