Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Entries listed under "historic houses"

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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Bar Harbor

Location Map for Bar Harbor

After Newport, Rhode Island, Bar Harbor was the resort of choice for wealthy eastern Americans until the great fire of 1947 destroyed many homes and forested areas. Acadia National Park dominates tourists’ itineraries when the town’s population swells each summer. The College of the Atlantic is located here. Continue reading

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Bath

Location Map for Bath

The city’s Customs House was an important center for revenue and recording the history of shipping in the area. The nearby elegant City Hall dominates the downtown. Home to Bath Iron Works on the Kennebec River, the city has had a long history of shipbuilding, including nine clipper ships during the 1850’s. Continue reading

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Berwick

Location Map for Berwick

a town in York County on the New Hampshire border, incorporated in 1713, named for an old English town in Dorsetshire. Settlements were made as early as 1624. In the mid-1600’s substantial lumbering began and a sawmill was built. In 1660 a group of Friends or “Quakers” sought refuge from persecution and settled here. Continue reading

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Bethel

Location Map for Bethel

one of the oldest villages in western Maine, incorporated in 1796 from Sudbury Canada Plantation. Its name signifies the “House of God,” possibly inspired by its location among the Oxford Hills. The Middle Intervale Meetinghouse was built in 1816. West Bethel village is along a canoe trip route on the Androscoggin River. See photos. Continue reading

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Boothbay

Location Map for Blue Hill

includes Damariscove Island, an early fishing outpost, providing critical food (fish) to the starving Pilgrims. Harvesting the sea is still a significant occupation. Now the Boothbay region is a center of summer tourist activity, with the Boothbay Playhouse and the Railroad Museum. See photos and video. Continue reading

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Bowdoinham

Bowdoinham Location Map

settled originally as early as 1623, but Indian raids precluded a permanent presence. Reportedly named for Dr. Peter Bowdoin, an early proprietor, it occupies the western shore of Merrymeeting Bay. The Cathance River runs through it and into the Bay. A fast growing community, Bowdoinham has attracted commuters and retirees to its still rural open spaces. See photos. Continue reading

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Bremen

Location Map for Bremen

Germans emigrated here in the mid-18th century misled into believing they would find a prosperous city in the wilderness. It has three nature preserves. Located on state Route 32 at the confluence of the Medomak River and Muscongus Bay, the main settlement is on Keene Neck. See photos. Continue reading

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Brewer

Brewer Along the Penobscot (2003)

has long been a paper making center, primarily based on the Eastern Manufacturing (later Eastern Fine Paper) Company in South Brewer on the banks of the Penobscot River. This area of town has historically been its industrial center. It is the birthplace of Civil War General and Governor Joshua L. Chamberlain. Continue reading

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Brownville

Location Map for Brownville

Famed for its slate, its quarry industry ended in 1917. It is the eastern gateway to The Hermitage, 35 acres of stately 150 year-old growth white pine overlooking the Pleasant River. Brownville Junction is so named for the railroad junction of Canadian and U.S. railroads. Continue reading

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Calais

Location Map for Calais

in eastern, coastal Washington County and named for the French port, was briefly settled in 1604 when a French expedition arrived on St. Croix Island. Today it features late 19th century historic brick structures, modern state and federal buildings, and a visitor center. Home to Washington County Community College. See video and photos. Continue reading

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Casco

Location Map For Casco

settled by Europeans in 1771, in Cumberland County, incorporated in 1841, is on the north shore of Sebago Lake. The Songo Lock, built about 1830, linked Long Pond and Brandy Pond with Sebago Lake, allowing boat passage from Harrison to Portland. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author and Bowdoin College graduate was its most prominent resident. Continue reading

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Chelsea

Location Map For Chelsea

in Kennebec County, named for a town in Massachusetts, incorporated in 1851. Togus Medical Center, known generally as “Togus” is here. Originally it was the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers from the Civil War. The grange, school and town hall are clustered near each other. See photos. Continue reading

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Chesuncook

Chesuncook Location Map

[chu-SUN-cook] is an unorganized township (T5 R13 WELS) in Piscataquis County. The name means “at the place of the principal outlet,” according to McCauley. Chesuncook Lake extends south to T3 R12 WELS. Ripogenus Dam, constructed 1916-1920 “at the place of … Continue reading

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Cundys Harbor

Cundys Harbor Village (2014)

Cundys Harbor is a village within the town of Harpswell, in the area known as East Harpswell. It is located in the southeastern portion of this sprawling coastal town, on Sebascodegan Island. In 1985 the Maine Historic Preservation Commission described … Continue reading

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Cushing

Location Map for Cushing

in Knox County, incorporated in 1789, is just south of Thomaston and lies on the western shore of the St. George River. It is famous as the home of Anna “Christina” Olson, Andrew Wyeth’s subject in his now classic “Christina’s World.” The weather beaten house overlooks the Georges River and the family cemetery. Continue reading

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Eastport

Location Map for Eastport

is on Moose Island at the end of a peninsular surrounded by Cobscook Bay and Passamaquoddy Bay. See video and photos. Visited by European fishermen and traders in the 1600’s, the area was settled in 1772. A proposed oil refinery was rejected based on concerns about oil spills and environmental threats. Once a fish canning center (the first sardine cannery in the U.S. opened in 1875), the city struggles against its isolated location. The historic downtown has undergone substantial restoration. Continue reading

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Edgecomb

Location Map for Edgecomb

Overlooking the Sheepscot River and the Narrows at the entrance to Wiscasset Harbor, Fort Edgecomb’s tower has a 360 degree view of the water and countryside. See photos. Settlers arrived in 1744; the town incorporated in 1774. Population has more than doubling, during the decades 1970-2010. Continue reading

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Falmouth

Location Map for Falmouth

In 1658, a town named Falmouth was created but was destroyed by Indians in 1689. In 1718 a town was again established. Much of the original area was later distributed to new towns: Cape Elizabeth, Portland, and Westbrook. Falmouth is a rapidly growing suburban community, having increased over 35% in population between 1990 and 2000. Percival Baxter donated Mackworth Island to the state, now a nature preserve in the town. Continue reading

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Farmingdale

Location Map for Farmingdale

On the Kennebec River just north of Gardiner, it is a residential community serving the Augusta-Gardiner capital area. Several large homes overlook the Kennebec River. See photos. West of the main street, in a suburban-rural area, it touches on Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area at Jimmies Pond near the Outlet Road. Continue reading

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Farmington

Location Map for Farmington

From a trading center in the late 18th century, it saw rapid growth through the Civil War, largely with designation as the shire town of Franklin County, arrival of a few manufacturers, and founding of several educational institutions. It boasts a highly rated small college: the University of Maine at Farmington, near downtown. Originally the Farmington State Normal School, it was established in 1864. The town is the birthplace of renowned vocalist Lillian Nordica; the home of inventor Chester Greenwood and U.S. Representative Robert Goodenow. Continue reading

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Freeport

Location Map for Freeport

is a popular center of “outlet” stores, including the legendary L. L. Bean, which has a virtual campus of retail buildings. See video and photos. It was named, say some, for Sir Andrew Freeport, a character in Addison’s Spectator Papers. Freeport-built vessels Lafayette and Blen were captured and burned by Confederate raiders. Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan lived in Freeport, as did a young John Gould, later author, humorist, and newspaper editor. Continue reading

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Fryeburg

Location Map for Fryeburg

a town in Oxford County, incorporated in 1777 on the site of an Indian settlement known as Pequawket. See photos. Daniel Webster was a teacher at Fryeburg Academy in 1802. Native American Molly Ockett was born about 1740 into the Pigwacket tribe. The Battle of Lovewell’s Pond was one long day in 1725, during which the leader of the white volunteers, Captain Lovewell, was slain along with the Indian leader Pangus. Continue reading

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Hampden

Location Map for Hampden

The town is a suburb of Bangor lying just south of that city on U.S. Route 1A. It hosts a regional U.S. Post Office processing center. Hampden Academy was established in 1803. The Grange Hall, one of the first chartered Granges in 1880. See photos. While teaching here Stephen King was spending his spare time writing short stories and novels. It is the birthplace of social reformer Dorothea Dix. Settled in 1767 it was once known as Wheelersborough after the first settler, carpenter, and mill owner. Continue reading

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Harpswell Center

Harpswell Town House and Kellogg Church (2013)

During Harpswell’s early settlement and before a bridge connected it to the rest of the town, Harpswell Neck was the site of several small villages.  Harpswell Center hosted a church, the 1759 meetinghouse (later the town office), and a 1793 … Continue reading

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Historic Preservation Commission, Maine

Maine Historic Preservation Commission (2001)

The Commission is responsible for the identification, evaluation, and protection of Maine’s significant cultural resources as directed by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It is located at 55 Capitol Street in Augusta. It consists of eleven members as … Continue reading

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Island Falls

Location Map for Island Falls

William Sewall became a wildlife guide and companion to Theodore Roosevelt in the 1870′s. The town has frontage on almost half of Pleasant Lake. See photos. The nearby Walker Settlement hosts a golf course and residential development near the lake. Several large homes recall the heady days when potato was king in the County. One of those was that of Governor Carl E. Milliken. Island Falls has had industry in the form of lumber mills, grist mills and a starch factory. Continue reading

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Jay

Location Map for Jay

Both Jay and Livermore Falls, have been paper mill towns on the River since the 19th century. See photos. Jay’s town line cuts through Livermore Falls village with little obvious effect. The VFW Post is just a few hundred feet north of Livermore Falls. Jay was the scene of an extended and bitter strike of workers against the International Paper Androscoggin mill in 18987-1988. The white granite for President Ulysses S. Grant’s tomb came from North Jay Continue reading

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Jefferson

Location Map for Jefferson

Abandoned granite quarries and clay banks where bricks were made suggest the early economic activities of the area. See photos. Several fine farm houses and barns have survived to recall the great heritage of the town. See images below from the Library of Congress of the old cattle pound. Continue reading

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Kennebunk

Location Map for Kennebunk

The name means “the long cut bank” for a land formation near the sea. Shipbuilding and shipping were once staples of the economy, now oriented to tourism and light manufacturing. See photos. The conversion of historic buildings for contemporary use and the historic districts have enhanced Kennebunk’s attraction for visitors and new residents. Continue reading

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Lewiston

Location Map for Lewiston

Lewiston Falls, on the Androscoggin River between downtown Lewiston and neighboring Auburn, its “twin” city, was a fishing source for Native Americans. Recently, a park has been developed at the site of the falls, known as Great Falls, and one of the old mills, now a housing complex, that once thrived on its power. The great demand for manufacturing labor in the 19th century drew large numbers of French speaking people from Canada and northern Maine. From 1970 to 2000 the city’s population was again in decline. In 2010 it grew by about 1,000. This time another ethnic group, Somali refugees, were instrumental in the recent growth. Continue reading

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Litchfield

Location Map for Litchfield

The town contains the Tacoma Lakes, Cobbosseecontee Stream, a portion of Cobbosseecontee lake, Pleasant Pond, and several other ponds. See photos. Between Lewiston and Augusta, it offers summer cottage locations for many area residents. Litchfield Corners, in the southern tip of the community, hosts an old tavern, new town office and a country store. Continue reading

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Lovell

Location Map for Lovell

The town is named for John Lovell (or Lovewell), the hero of the Battle of Lovewell’s Pond in 1725, in which he was killed but the remaining Abenaki people abandoned the area. See photos. One of the lodges at Kezar Lake was owned by stage and screen star Rudy Vallee. Center Lovell, in the shadow of Sabattus Mountain, is the primary village, located on the shore of Middle Bay. Continue reading

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Machias

Location Map for Machias

The town, and its Burnham Tavern, was the site of anti-British plotting resulting in capturing the schooner Margaretta. The Tavern was built in 1770, the only building in eastern Maine directly connected with the American Revolution. The Washington County seat, it is located on the Machias River, the engine of its earlier lumbering and shipbuilding industries. Once a haven for pirates, and now a commercial center, it is home to the University of Maine at Machias. Continue reading

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Mechanic Falls

Location Map for Mechanic Falls

Ever since a paper mill was established on the Little Androscoggin River in 1850, the town has been part of Maine’s paper making economy. See photos. One of the inventors of the Stanley Steamer automobile, Freeland O. Stanley, built some models here and was the town’s first high school principal. Continue reading

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Monhegan Island

Location of Manana and Monhegan

Attractive to artists since the late 19th century, its first draw was fish. See video and photos. After early European explorers passed by (Cabot in 1497, Weymouth and Champlain in 1605), the abundance of fish soon became apparent. Botanists have identified over six hundred varieties of wildflowers on the island. Monhegan Light was commissioned on July 2, 1824. Continue reading

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Monmouth

Location Map for Monmouth

The Theater at Monmouth, specializes in Elizabethan productions. See photos. Highmoor Farm is part of the University of Maine’s agricultural experiment station network. This growing town is located on U.S. Route 202 between Augusta and Lewiston, making it a convenient location for commuters to each city. Continue reading

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Montville

Location Map for Montville

The town seems a series of “corners” villages on Maine Route 220 from north to south: Poland’s, Bean’s, White’s, McFarland’s, and Clark’s. See photos. The Frye Mountain (Gene Letourneau) Wildlife Management Area is located in the northeast corner of the town near Poland’s Corner village. This growing community is easily linked to Belfast and Augusta via Maine Route 3. Continue reading

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North Berwick

Location Map for North Berwick

The North Berwick Woolen Mill is a historic landmark on the banks of the Great Works River that passes through the main village. See photos. More than a dozen National Register historic places testify to the town’s significant role in Maine’s early history.It is home to the historic Hussey Plow Company and a Pratt & Whitney defense plant. Continue reading

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North Harpswell

Skolfield Shores Kiosk at Merriconeagan Farm (2011)

In Harpswell, this is the northern most village on Harpswell Neck, the others being West and South Harpswell. It centers on the intersection of Route 123 from Brunswick and the Mountain Road, which links North Harpswell to the islands via … Continue reading

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Oakland

Location Map of Oakland

Waterville’s commercial strip that is Kennedy Memorial Drive continues into Oakland for about a mile before becoming a more scenic road. See photos. Here the village emerges as it sits at Messalonskee Stream. Long the home of the New England Music Camp, recreational opportunities include access to several of the Belgrade lakes. Continue reading

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Orono

Orono Population Chart 1810-2010

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

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Parsonsfield

Location Map for Parsonsfield

Kezar Falls, a village on the Ossipee River named for George Kezar, is the largest in the area at the junction of Maine Routes 25 and 160. The community is split between Parsonsfield and Porter across the river, and is governed and taxed separately by the two towns. An early 20th century sanatorium, Maple Crest, was “located among the beautiful Limerick hills, the wild and picturesque outlines of which may be seen in every direction from the building. The view is in itself enough to stimulate the interest and mental activity so important to the cure of all diseases. Continue reading

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Portland Historic Register

Abyssinian Meeting House (2015)

The City of Portland has over eighty places and historic districts on the National Register, including Eastern Promenade, Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Gorges, Longfellow Monument, Portland City Hall, Portland Observatory, Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Westbrook College Historic District, and Western Promenade Continue reading

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Portland West End

House in the West End (2014)

The West End is well known for its fine 19th and early 20th century houses and tree-lined streets. Its extends west of State Street between Congress Street and Commercial Street to the Western Prom. Several Greater Portland Landmarks are here. Continue reading

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Raymond

Location Map for Raymond

The main village is located at the head of the large, well protected, Jordan Bay on the shore of Sebago Lake. Adjacent Raymond Neck extends over four miles into the Lake to form the Bay. Raymond’s “welcome” sign entices fishing enthusiasts to the “Home of the Landlocked Salmon,” which inhabit the lake. Nathaniel Hawthorne spent summers at his mother’s home. Continue reading

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Richmond

Location Map for Richmond

The main village is located on the west side of the Kennebec River, just south of Gardiner on Maine Route 24, where the river splits to form Swan Island. See photos.Benedict Arnold’s expedition, having first landed at Swan Island in the river across from the town, passed by the remnants of Fort Richmond. The town has a substantial collection of grand houses, including several Greek Revival specimens. Peacock Beach State Park is near the historic Peacock Tavern on U.S. Route 201. Continue reading

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South Berwick

Brick House with Classic Barn (2002)

Maine’s oldest educational institution, Berwick Academy, was established here in 1791 when the town was part of Berwick. See photos. South Berwick is the birthplace of Sarah Orne Jewett, who attended Berwick Academy for four years — her only formal education. The town is accessible to the coastal communities of York and Kittery via Maine Routes 91 and 236. Continue reading

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South Bristol

Boats and Osier

The Darling Marine Center of the University of Maine is located in the village of Walpole. See photos. The population centers in the town’s southern most reaches are on Rutherford Island, perched at the end of a peninsular. The community is home to three nature preserves. Plummer Point is a 74 acre wooded peninsula with over a mile of shoreline. The Tracy Property is a town park with public access to the Damariscotta River. The wooded 18-acre Witch Island Sanctuary, provides two beaches and views of Johns Bay. Continue reading

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South Portland

Location Map for South Portland

A residential community serving the greater Portland area for over a hundred years, the City has developed independent economic resources. See photos. It is part of the Port of Portland and home to a major railroad yard and fuel tank storage facility. The Southern Maine Community College campus includes Fort Preble, named for Commodore Edward Preble. Continue reading

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South Thomaston

Location Map for South Thomaston

The town lies on the Weskeag River, which broadens into several large coves before emptying into the Muscle Ridge Channel. In addition to the main village, Pleasant Beach, Waterman Beach, and Spruce Head villages hug the shore on Penobscot Bay. Spruce Head Island, connected to the mainland by a bridge, juts into Muscle Ridge Channel, a favorite passage for boaters seeking the protection of the outlying islands. Continue reading

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Stow

Location Map for Stow

Stow borders New Hampshire, which may be reached by Maine Route 113 north from Fryeburg. It was once the home of the Pequawket Indians, who traveled the Pequawket Trail to Biddeford Pool during the summers to fish and gather shellfish. The Cold River enters the state in Stow and flows south through most of this narrow north-south shaped town. Continue reading

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Stratton

Location Map for Stratton

Stratton is a village in the town of Eustis. It is the main village with a small commercial area and civic facilities, including the town office, fire department, library, and post office. The Oramendal Blanchard House, home to the local sawmill owner in the late 19th century, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue reading

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Stroudwater

Park in "Historic Stroudwater" (2014)

Stroudwater, a neighborhood in the City of Portland, lies west of the railroad tracks to the Westbrook border. Several locations of historical significance include the Tate House Museum, a portion of the Cumberland & Oxford Canal, and an old dam on the Stroudwater River. It is a highly developed residential and commercial area. Continue reading

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Swan Island

Location Map for Swan Island

in the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden in Sagadahoc County is the only state-owned wildlife management area that is also a game preserve providing sanctuary for migrating waterfowl and the resident white-tailed deer. It is also the only management … Continue reading

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Thomaston

Just southwest of Rockland, the community lies at the point where the St. George River broadens into a long narrow bay. Ship building and shipping were the basis of its fortune and that of the two millionaires (of seven in the whole country) who lived there in 1840. Thomaston has many surviving fine homes, developed by financially successful residents, on its main street. Continue reading

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Topsham

Location Map for Topsham

Recently the downtown (see photos) has witnessed a renewal with modern buildings. Topsham has been a very rapidly growing community both in population and in commercial development.The area of the Topsham Fair Mall is located adjacent to Interstate 95. Pejepscot Village was once an active community when the Pejepscot Paper Mill was in full production. Falls in the Androscoggin River between Topsham and Brunswick encouraged the development of paper and textile mills which dominated the economy into the 20th century. Continue reading

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Union

Location Map for Union

Union (see photos) became the subject of Ben Ames Williams’ historical novel Come Spring, which chronicles the early settlement of the town through the lives of the Robbins family, whose home is now that of the Vose Library and the Union Historical Society. Most of the 591-acre Crawford Pond and the 523-acre Seven Tree Pond are shared with Warren to the south. Continue reading

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Van Buren

Location Map for Van Buren

Located across the St. John River from St. Leonard, New Brunswick, the town is at the junction of U.S. Routes 1 and 1A. See photos. Its economic development message is “Gateway to the St. John Valley.” Named for the eighth U.S. President, Martin Van Buren, the area was a haven for Acadians escaping the British oppression of 1755. In 1791 they settled near Keegan, a village just north of the main settlement. A model “Acadian Village” is near Keegan village. Continue reading

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Washburn

Location Map for Washburn

Long a potato growing and processing area, it lies northwest of Presque Isle on Route 164, which curves through the town and links it with Caribou to the northeast. See photos. Washburn’s main village is in the southwest near the Aroostook River, which crosses its southern portion. The villages of Bugbee, Crouseville, and Adeline are along the river on Route 164. Continue reading

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Westfield

Location Map for Westfield

Westfield village lies between U.S. Routes 1 and 1A, on the Prestile Stream, just north of Mars Hill in Aroostook County’s potato country. See photos. Aside from its palette and box factory, Westfield is primarily an agricultural area, except for the marshland in the western portion of the town. Continue reading

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Winthrop

Maranacook Lake in Winthrop (2013)

n addition to its recreational attractions, the town is a suburban community serving both the Augusta and Lewiston-Auburn areas. See photos. Winthrop is the birthplace in 1899 of Delphia Louis “Del” Bissonette, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Continue reading

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Wiscasset

Location Map for Wiscasset

is on U.S. Route 1 and the Sheepscot River. See photos and videos. With many historic structures, the town was host to “The Greenland Expedition of 1925,” which included explorers Richard Byrd and Donald McDonald. Since 1918 Camp Chewonki has been offering outdoor programs here. The town was once best known for its Maine Yankee Atomic Power plant. Continue reading

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Yarmouth

Location Map for Yarmouth

Yarmouth is a coastal town northeast of Portland on I-295 and U.S. Route 1. See photos. It is home to the Delorme Mapping Company and North Yarmouth Academy. Cousin’s Island is home to a large, oil fueled electric power plant known as Wyman Station. The Island has ferry terminal for Chebeague Island. Continue reading

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