Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Abandoned

Abandoned Farmhouse in Westfield (2003)

Relics of farmhouses hint at the glory days of Maine’s agricultural tradition. In remote villages, scenes of abandoned homes, churches, and vehicles mark changes in communities as populations ebb. The landscape is littered with these ghosts of Maine’s past, recalling … Continue reading

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Abbot

Location Map for Abbot

is a town in Piscataquis County, incorporated on January 31, 1827. It was one of several tracts granted to Bowdoin College in 1794 and was named for the College’s treasurer, John Abbott. (The final “t” in the town’s name seems to have been lost over the years.) In the 1870’s the town was prospering with two railway stations and a rail link to Bangor. Two covered bridges spanned the Piscataquis River. Continue reading

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Abbott, Jacob

(1803-1879) was born in Hallowell, graduated from Bowdoin College in 1820 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1825. He was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Amherst College from 1825-1829. He was rdained in 1834 at Elliot Church, Boston … Continue reading

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Abbott, John Stevens Cabot

was born in Brunswick on September 18, 1805. He was a brother of Jacob Abbott. Having graduated Bowdoin College in 1825, with Longfellow and Hawthorne. He later attended Andover Theological Seminary, serving as a minister between 1830 and 1844 when … Continue reading

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Abbott, Nehemiah

(1804-1877) was a U.S. Representative born in Sidney on March 29, 1804. He studied law at the Litchfield (Connecticut) Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1836, and commenced practice at Calais. Abbott moved to Columbus, Mississippi in 1839, … Continue reading

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Abortion

Abortions Maine and US 1978-2012

Abortion has been the center of political conflict for much of the last one hundred years, but especially so since the United State Supreme Court ruled in 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade, that prohibition of abortion is … Continue reading

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Acadia Acadian

Acadian Landing Site in Madawaska (2003)

Originally a French colony, Acadian lands in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia were passed back and forth between the French and English by various treaties settling European wars. The last of these, the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, gave … Continue reading

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Acadia National Park

Map of Acadia National Park and Surrounding Area

is in Hancock County on Mount Desert Island, about which explorer Samuel de Champlain created the first reliable European record in 1604. Through the gateway town of Bar Harbor, the Park now receives over 3 million visitors a year, with … Continue reading

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Acton

Location Map for Action

is a town in York County, incorporated on March 6, 1830; it ceded land to Shapleigh in 1831. It was part of a much larger tract of land in purchased in 1661 by Francis Small from Chief Sunday of the Newichawannock Tribe. Settled in 1776, the town’s first mill, a grist mill, was built on the Salmon Falls River in 1779 by Joseph Parsons. Continue reading

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Addison

Location Map for Addison

is a coastal town in Washington County, located at the junction of the Pleasant River and its West Branch, on a peninsular whose westerly portion comprises Cape Split in South Addison, and contains nature preserves, eagle nesting sites, and historic buildings. Continue reading

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African Americans

Klan Members Pose in their Robes (courtesy Dennis McLaughlin)

were in Maine at least as early as 1736 when a church in York purchased a slave for its minister. John Brown Russwurm was Bowdoin College‘s first black graduate, in 1826. The third black to graduate from an American college, … Continue reading

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Agricultural Fairs

Athens Fair Exhibition Hall (2003)

Acton Athens Bangor State Fair Blue Hill Clinton Common Ground (Unity) Cornish Cumberland Farmington Fryeburg Harmony Houlton Litchfield Monmouth New Portland Lions Northern Maine (Presque Isle) Ossipee Valley (So. Hiram) Oxford Piscataquis Valley (Dover-Foxcroft) Pittston Skowhegan State Fair South Hiram … Continue reading

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Agriculture

Abandoned Old Farm in Aroostook County (2001)

As Maine communities began to lose some of their frontier aspects in the early 19th century and assumed a more settled appearance, civic improvements were initiated. Among these was the regulation of livestock which, in contrast to earlier times, were … Continue reading

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AIDS

Proportion of People with HIV/AIDS in 2009, by Region

The following maps, created by the Maine Bureau of Health, illustrate the spread of AIDS cases over the past two decades. Click on each map to see a larger, clearer version. Figure 2.3 (figure numbers are from the 2009 DHHS … Continue reading

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Airline, The

is an east-west transportation route from Bangor to Calais, currently a portion of state highway Route 9. Crossing Penobscot, Hancock, and Washington counties, it was planned as a military road in 1838-1839 during the Aroostook War, but remained unfinished 20 … Continue reading

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Airports

Scheduled Service

In 2006 Maine had 50 airports, 36 publicly owned.  Of the publicly owned, only 6  were served by regularly scheduled passenger service.  The other 30 serve the general aviation community which flies smaller, unscheduled aircraft.  There are some others reserved … Continue reading

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Albany

Location Map for Albany

an unorganized township in Oxford County, was originally incorporated as a town on June 20, 1803 from its earlier designation as Oxford Plantation. It lies just south of the town of Bethel and on the edge of the scenic White Mountains National Forest in Western Maine. The town house, grange, and congregational church, all near Routes 5 and 15, are historic landmarks. Continue reading

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Albion

Location map for Albion

First settled in 1790, probably by Congregational minister Daniel Lovejoy, Albion, in Kennebec County, is the birthplace of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, son of Daniel and a fearless journalist and opponent of slavery. A plaque to Lovejoy, who was murdered for his beliefs, rests outside the town library. Continue reading

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Alcohol

Beer Barrel

Maine was the home of prohibition. In 1846 Maine passed the first laws in the country outlawing the sale of alcoholic beverages except for “industrial and medicinal purposes.” In 1851, a stricter statute known as the “Maine Law” was passed … Continue reading

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Alewife Landings

Alewife Landings 1950-2011

Alewife landings crashed in 1981 and have yet to recover to any of the 1950-1980 levels.  While both the catch and value were depressed through 2000, more recent years have shown a rise in total value and price per pound. … Continue reading

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Alewives

Adult Alewife

In the early 1600’s a dam was built in Nequasset, now a portion of Woolwich. It was the early primary power source for the town, the site of grist, saw, and fulling mills. The original wooden fishway provided a rich … Continue reading

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Alexander

Location Map for Alexander

is a town in Washington County named for Alexander Baring (Lord Ashburton) the British envoy who, along with Daniel Webster, settled Maine’s northern boundary with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. It contains Barrows and Pleasant lakes, and has substantial frontage on Meddybemps Lake. Continue reading

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Alfred

Map of Maine Showing the location of Alfred. Green areas are unorganized territories.

Originally, the area was known to the Native Americans as Massabesic and was acquired from Chief Fluellin in 1661 by Major William Phipps. Later a Shaker community settled on a hill overlooking what is now called Shaker Pond. Alfred is the county seat of York County and was the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930’s. Continue reading

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Allagash

Location Map for Allagash

in Aroostook County, is at the mouth of the Allagash River as it enters the St, John. Large in area, small in population, hunting and camping is an economic asset. The Allagash River flows through the town and is the tenth longest in the State. At 69 miles, it drains 1,240 square miles in northern Maine. Across the St. John lies the small Canadian town of Connors. Continue reading

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Allen, Elisha Hunt

(1804-1883), son of Samuel Clesson Allen, was a U.S. Representative who was born in New Salem, Massachusetts on January 28, 1804. He attended New Salem Academy, and was graduated from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1823. Allen studied law, was … Continue reading

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Allen, Thomas H.

(1945- ) U.S. Representative; born in Portland on April 16, 1945, he graduated Bowdoin College in 1967, and was a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University in 1970. He received his J.D. from Harvard University in 1974. Allen was on the … Continue reading

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Alna

Location Map for Alna

Head Tide village, poet Edwin Arlington Robinson’s birthplace, is a “small, picturesque river community with many … well-preserved 19th century buildings.” Video. Alna is home to the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington narrow gauge railway museum. The Sheepscot River runs through the town, the site of canoe trips from Whitefield to Wiscasset. Continue reading

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Alton

Location Map for Alton

Near Bangor and the University of Maine in Orono, home to the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge and Alton Bog, it has steadily gained population since 1970. The Refuge is the site of an archaeological project on Pushaw Stream; evidence suggests occupation by prehistoric Indian cultures dating back approximately 7,000 years. Continue reading

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Ames, Benjamin

(1778-1835) a Democratic-Republican from Bath, born October 30, 1778, was acting governor 1821-1822 and President of the Maine Senate in 1824. He was born in Andover, Massachusetts and Harvard educated, moved to Bath in 1806 and was admitted to the … Continue reading

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Amherst

Location Map for Amherst

A web of dirt roads leads into the hinterland where several streams, the West Branch of the Union River, and a half dozen small ponds attract fishermen, hunters, and vacationers. Amherst was the site of an unsolved a homicide, in 1976. Video. Named for Amherst, New Hampshire, it is located on the east-west Maine Route 9, known as the Airline. Continue reading

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Amish

Location Map for Smyrna

People of the Old Order Amish community have moved to the town of Smyrna in substantial numbers. Arriving in 1996, the Amish community had grown from just a few settlers to approximately 80 people in 12 families by 2002. Their … Continue reading

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Amity

Location Map for Amity

is a small town in Aroostook County, incorporated on March 19, 1836 from township T10 R01. Even as Aroostook County has lost population over the years, Amity has managed slow but consistent growth. Continue reading

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Amphibians

Spotted Salamander in Monson (2007)

Amphibians, part of Maine’s wildlife population, are cold-blooded vertebrate (having a backbone) animals usually living on land but breeding in water, where their offspring change into adults. Salamanders An example of a Maine amphibian is the Spotted Salamander. It breeds … Continue reading

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Anderson, Hugh J.

(1801-1881) was a U.S. Representative born in Wiscasset on May 10, 1801 where he attended the local schools. He moved to Belfast in 1815 and was employed as a clerk in the mercantile establishment of his uncle. Clerk of the … Continue reading

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Andover

Location Map for Andover

The Appalachian Trail crosses B Hill Road in nearby Andover North Surplus. AT&T built the Telstar satellite station here in the 1960s. Community photos. Native American Molly Ockett was buried in an unmarked grave in Andover’s Woodlawn Cemetery in 1816. Continue reading

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Andover North Surplus TWP

1945 Topographic Map with AT Path

Is a township immediately southeast of Township C, host to the next northerly section of the Appalachian Trail. The “surplus” indicates that it did not fit easily into the original township layout of the state, thus the ten-mile by three-mile … Continue reading

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Andover West Surplus TWP

Andover West Surplus 1945 Topographic Map

The township is immediately southwest of Andover North Surplus, host to the next northerly section of the Appalachian Trail. The Trail tracks the northwest corner of the township near the northeast slope of Little Bald Pate Mountain. In 1945, (the … Continue reading

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Andrews, Thomas H.

(1953- ) was a U.S. Representative, born in North Easton, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, March 27, 1953; graduated from North Easton High School. He received a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Bowdoin College in 1976. Executive director of Maine Association … Continue reading

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Androscoggin County

Map of Maine Counties and Baxter Park

is home to Maine’s second largest population center – the Lewiston-Auburn area, and is fourth in overall population among Maine’s counties.  It was established in 1854 by taking several towns from Cumberland, Kennebec, Lincoln, and Oxford counties. See an 1858 … Continue reading

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Androscoggin River

Androscoggin River from Route 2 in Rumford Center (2010)

rises in the northwestern corner of the state, enters New Hampshire at Errol, then crosses back in the Oxford County town of Gilead. It then heads north at Bethel to Rumford and Mexico before turning south to Livermore Falls and … Continue reading

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Animals, Vehicle Collisions

Moose Crash Map MDOT (2008)

Collisions with moose and deer are all too common in Maine.  The state Department of Transportation posts signs where crossings have been reported and prepares maps describing the frequency and locations of collisions.

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Anson

Location Map for Anson

Settled in 1772, known as Brookfield, Seven Mile Brook Plantation, and Titcomb Town, it is named for British Lord George Anson. In 1775, Benedict Arnold’s expedition camped at Norridgewock Falls, near the current town office. Continue reading

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Appalachian Trail

National Park Service Map of the AT in Maine

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. … Continue reading

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Appalachian Trail -Springer Mountain Georgia

Parking Lot on Springer Mountain

APPALACHIAN TRAIL – SPRINGER MOUNTAIN GEORGIA Here in the Chattahoochee National Forest on Springer Mountain is where the Appalachian Trail begins for the “north bounders” as they trek to Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park. Often they are dropped off … Continue reading

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Appalachian Trail Map

This is a clickable map of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, covering each of the 36 towns and townships through which the trail passes. Photos, maps, and videos illustrate the route. Continue reading

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Appalachian Trail Relief: Magic, Gifts and Supplies

AT Cafe in Millinocket (2014)

According to the Oxford English Reference Dictionary “magic” may mean “an inexplicable or remarkable influence producing surprising results.” For hikers of the Appalachian Trail it means relief from the weary, but rewarding, trek for many miles for many days. Sometimes … Continue reading

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Appleton

Location Map for Appleton

is named for Samuel Appleton, an early settler (1770’s), and has frontage on Sennebec Pond. The Medomak Valley Grange is on Rt. 105 south of Burkettville village. Continue reading

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Appleton, John

John Appleton courtesy (Maine State Museum)

(1815-1864), a U.S. Representative born in Beverly, Massachusetts on February 11, 1815, was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1834. He studied law at the Cambridge Law School, was admitted to the Cumberland bar in 1837, and commenced practice in Portland. … Continue reading

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Archaeology

Outline of a Building at Pemaquid (2001)

The views above represent products of historic archaeology, showing outlines of buildings in the early years of the Pemaquid settlement. The views of digs at shell middens above, often a target of archaeologists, provide a view of prehistoric archeological research. … Continue reading

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Archives, Maine State

The Maine State Archives, located in Augusta, is the custodian of the permanently valuable of state government, including early court records and vital records (births, deaths, marriages, etc.) According to its website, “The permanently valuable records of State government are … Continue reading

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Argyle

Location Map for Argyle

On the old stage route (now Rt. 116) along the Penobscot River, Argyle shares the Scottish origins of adjoining Edinburg. Formed as a town in 1839, it deorganized in 1938. Continue reading

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Arnold, Benedict

Arnold

led an expedition in 1775 from Massachusetts, up the Kennebec River and through the Maine woods to join General Philip Schuyler in an attempt to defeat the British at Quebec. It left Cambridge on September 11th under orders from General … Continue reading

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Aroostook County

Map of Maine Counties and Baxter Park

the “rooftop of Maine,” John Steinbeck. This northernmost county, known as “the County,” is the state’s largest, established in 1839, during the “Aroostook War.” Famed for its potato growing, the County’s premiere crop has declined steadily, as has its population. Nevertheless, agriculture still dominates the County’s economy and its culture. Continue reading

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Aroostook County Nature Preserves

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. The 5,000 acre preserve, created in 1998, was once a part of the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. Deboullie Public Reserved Land, T 15 R9 WELS. Its low rugged mountains and scenic remote trout … Continue reading

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Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

Location Map for Aroostook NWR

was created from a portion of the former Loring Air Force Base, which extended for 9,000 acres in the town of Limestone, and other sections in Caswell and Connor Township. One of the many nature preserves in Maine, it was … Continue reading

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Aroostook War

The nation’s only war declared by a state and the nation’s only bloodless war. Its roots were planted in the Treaty of Paris of 1783 ending the Revolutionary War.  With inaccurate maps and uncertainty about with local river was the … Continue reading

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Arrowsic

Location Map for Arrowsic

Arrowsic Island in the Kennebec River separates Georgetown from Phippsburg, which was settled in 1607. In 1625 Europeans moved to Arrowsic, five years after the Pilgrim landing. Two lighthouses have been established on Arrowsic’s Kennebec shore. See videos and photos. Continue reading

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Arundel

Location Map for Arundel

A town “Arundel” formed in 1719. In 1821 it became Kennebunk Port, from which, in 1915 a new town emerged: “North Kennebunkport.” In 1957 it changed to Arundel. Kenneth Roberts’ historical novel “Arundel” recounts the early life of the area and influenced the reemergence of the name. See video and photos. Continue reading

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Ashland

Location Map for Ashland

Frenchville and Sheridan are villages north of the village of Ashland. Lumbering, once the major industry, is recalled in Ashland’s Logging Museum. Continue reading

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Athens

Location Map for Athens

Settled by Revolutionary War soldiers, Athens incorporated in 1804. Somerset Academy now serves as town office, American Legion hall, and Christian Fellowship meeting place. The Union Meetinghouse has served the community since 1840. Athens has hosted a small agricultural fair for many years. Continue reading

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Atkinson

Location Map for Atkinson

In 1807 the Colcord brothers from Bangor built a grist mill and a saw mill on Alder Stream. Named for Judge Atkinson, the major landowner, it incorporated in 1819. Atkinson also donated a small library to the community, which is just east of Dover-Foxcroft in Piscataquis County. Continue reading

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Atlantic Puffin

Puffin near Machias Seal Island (2011)

This sea bird with a colorful bill lives year round near the coast of Washington and eastern Hancock counties. The largest concentration of puffins is at Machias Seal Island, off shore from Cutler in Washington County. The island is claimed … Continue reading

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Attean Township

Attean Pond from Scenic Turnout in Jackman July 1970

Etienne Orson was a settler in the area around 1793.  McCauley reports that the name came from a mispronunciation of Etienne. In the township-range system it is T6 R7 NBKP. The U.S. Census reported a single resident in 1870, five … Continue reading

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Auburn

Location Map for Auburn

home to two U.S. Senators: William D. Hathaway and Olympia J. Snowe; 5th largest city by population; Androscoggin County seat; 20+ National Historic Register places. It also hosts Central Maine Community College. Continue reading

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Augusta

Map of Maine Showing the location of Augusta. Green areas are unorganized territories.

Capital since 1832, originally “Cushnoc,” it was the site in 1628 of the Pilgrims’ trading post, and in 1754, Fort Western. The Blaine House governor’s residence is here. The Pine Tree State Arboretum has 200 acres of rolling hills and meadows and a diversity of habitats. Continue reading

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Augusta Historic Register

D. V. Adams Block (2015)

National Register of Historic Places – Augusta Much of Augusta’s history is tied to two eras: the early settlement and trading on the Kennebec River, and the long period it has served as the state’s capital.  Official government buildings and … Continue reading

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Aurora

Location Map for Aurora

is north of Ellsworth on Route 9 – “The Airline.” Silsby Plain is a sandy remnant of glaciers and a favorable site for blueberries. Another glacial feature, The Whalesback, is located east of the village, which is on the Old Airline Road. Continue reading

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Avery, Myron

Avery Peak from West Peak, Bigelow

Tireless worker to complete the Appalachian Trail, Myron Avery (1899-1952), born in Lubec, was a navy veteran of two world wars, and was awarded The Legion of Merit. Avery Peak on Bigelow Mountain was named in his honor. Continue reading

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Avon

Location Map for Avon

in Franklin County, named for the river in England and incorporated in 1802. Settled after the American Revolution, by 1886 Avon had two saw mills and eleven public schools, supported by an 1880 census population of 571. The 3,000-foot Mount Blue is located in the southwest corner of the town in Mount Blue State Park. Continue reading

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Constitutional Amendments List

The first amendment to the Maine Constitution was initiated fourteen years after statehood. The next few decades produced amendments adjusting the structure and rules of the new state. As the 200th anniversary approached in the year 2020, 172 amendments had … Continue reading

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