is the ninth most populous of the sixteen counties, located in north central Maine, formed on March 1, 1809 from the northern portion of Kennebec County. In 1838 substantial sections of the county were given up to form Piscataquis and Franklin counties. See an 1860 map of the county in the Map Cabinet.
A series of boundary changes in the 19th century came to an end in 1885 when a portion of Wellington in Piscataquis County was annexed to Cambridge in Somerset.
The county now consists of the towns of Anson, Athens, Bingham, Cambridge, Canaan, Caratunk, Cornville, Detroit, Embden, Fairfield, Harmony, Hartland, Jackman, Madison, Mercer, Moose River, Moscow, New Portland, Norridgewock, Palmyra, Pittsfield, Ripley, Skowhegan, Smithfield, Solon, St. Albans, Starks; and the plantations of Brighton, Dennistown, Highland, Pleasant Ridge, The Forks, and West Forks; and the townships of Concord, and Rockwood Strip, among others.
The county contains U.S. Route 201 which extends about 100 miles from its southern most point to the border with the Province of Quebec.
Skowhegan is the most populous town and is the County Seat, hosting the county government, courthouse, and the county jail.
In 2010, Somerset County’s population represented 3.9% of the state’s total, with a census count of 52,228 a 2.6% increase over 2000.
National Register of Historic Place
Somerset County Courthouse
[High and Court Street] Though obviously an architecturally distinguished building and the work of two out- standing architects, the Somerset County Courthouse has an interesting political history. Charles F. Douglas who designed his own house in Norridgewock, designed the original structure in 1873. The county outgrew the building by the end of the century. It was enlarged and remodeled in 1904 with sensitivity to the Douglas design by John Calvin Stevens, Maine’s most famous architect.
On March 1, 1809, the northern part of the Kennebec County was incorporated under the name of Somerset County with Norridgewock as the county seat. A later act of 1872 changed the county seat to Skowhegan provided that town would provide a suitable place for holding court within a very short time or the act would be void. Skowhegan immediately prepared temporary space, but the County Commissioners declared it unsatisfactory, because of the competition with Norridgewock.
Much litigation was only settled when ex-Governor Abner Coburn of Skowhegan, perhaps the wealthiest man in the state, offered to pay for a large formal courthouse in Skowhegan, an offer the county as a whole could not refuse.
|People QuickFacts (updated November 4, 2010)
|Population, 2009 estimate||50,947||1,318,301|
|Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009||0.1%||3.4%|
|Population estimates base (April 1) 2000||50,888||1,274,915|
|Persons under 5 years old, percent, 2009||5.3%||5.4%|
|Persons under 18 years old, percent, 2009||21.6%||20.6%|
|Persons 65 years old and over, percent, 2009||16.0%||15.6%|
|Female persons, percent, 2009||51.0%||51.2%|
|White persons, percent, 2009 (a)||97.5%||96.1%|
|Black persons, percent, 2009 (a)||0.5%||1.2%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2009 (a)||0.5%||0.6%|
|Asian persons, percent, 2009 (a)||0.4%||1.0%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2009 (a)||Z||Z|
|Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2009||1.1%||1.1%|
|Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2009 (b)||0.7%||1.4%|
|White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2009||96.9%||94.9%|
|Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct 5 yrs old & over||65.7%||59.6%|
|Foreign born persons, percent, 2000||1.7%||2.9%|
|Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2000||4.3%||7.8%|
|High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2000||80.8%||85.4%|
|Bachelor’s degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000||11.8%||22.9%|
|Persons with a disability, age 5+, 2000||10,590||237,910|
|Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2000||24.2||22.7|
|Housing units, 2009||29,096||704,578|
|Homeownership rate, 2000||77.8%||71.6%|
|Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2000||11.3%||20.3%|
|Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000||$70,100||$98,700|
|Persons per household, 2000||2.44||2.39|
|Median household income, 2008||$35,277||$46,419|
|Per capita money income, 1999||$15,474||$19,533|
|Persons below poverty level, percent, 2008||18.7%||12.6%|
|Business QuickFacts||Somerset County||Maine|
|Private nonfarm establishments, 2008||1,223||41,7551|
|Private nonfarm employment, 2008||14,388||509,0931|
|Private nonfarm employment, percent change 2000-2008||-13.0%||3.5%1|
|Nonemployer establishments, 2008||3,567||113,522|
|Total number of firms, 2002||4,438||135,410|
|Black-owned firms, percent, 2002||F||0.2%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native owned firms, percent, 2002||F||0.5%|
|Asian-owned firms, percent, 2002||F||0.6%|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander owned firms, percent, 2002||F||S|
|Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2002||F||0.5%|
|Women-owned firms, percent, 2002||29.0%||24.0%|
|Manufacturers shipments, 2002 ($1000)||1,210,281||13,851,915|
|Wholesale trade sales, 2002 ($1000)||D||10,371,084|
|Retail sales, 2002 ($1000)||430,579||16,053,515|
|Retail sales per capita, 2002||$8,436||$12,370|
|Accommodation and foodservices sales, 2002 ($1000)||39,325||2,045,841|
|Building permits, 2009||71||3,1211|
|Federal spending, 2008||408,354||11,974,3611|
|Geography QuickFacts||Somerset County||Maine|
|Land area, 2000 (square miles)||3,926.50||30,861.55|
|Persons per square mile, 2000||13.0||41.3|
|Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Area||None|
(b) Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.D: Suppressed to avoid disclosure of confidential information
F: Fewer than 100 firms
FN: Footnote on this item for this area in place of data
NA: Not available
S: Suppressed; does not meet publication standards
X: Not applicable
Z: Value greater than zero but less than half unit of measure shown