Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Entries listed under "historical societies"

Bangor Historic Register

84-96 Hammond Street (2016)

National Register of Historic Places –Bangor Bangor’s architectural history is influenced by the great houses built in the boom years of the nineteenth century, with its resident lumber barons and its related commerce. The city’s role as a regional hub … 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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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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Blue Hill

Blue Hill Birdseye View 1896

Settled in 1762, its name derives from Blue Hill just north of the town’s main settlement. Blue Hill Falls and East Blue Hill are other settlements. Jonathan Fisher House, on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the town’s major assets. Blue Hill was the original site in 1986 of Northeast Historic Film. Continue reading

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Boothbay Harbor

Location Map for Boothbay Harbor

in Lincoln County incorporated in 1889. It is a major attraction for summer visitors with shops, restaurants, art galleries, marinas, and recreational fishing opportunities. Tours to coastal islands, whale watching, and a safe, engaging harbor are some of the attractions. The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is here. See photos. Continue reading

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Bowdoin

Location Map for Bowdoin

Settled before the Revolutionary War, it is named for James Bowdoin II, a governor of Massachusetts. Typical of early towns, Bowdoin had 15 school houses in 1870; by 2010 it, one elementary school. More than tripled in population since 1970,the still rural town is becoming a commuter community with easy access to Interstate 95. See photos and video. Continue reading

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Brunswick

Location Map For Brunswick

Since the demise of textile and shoe manufacturing, Brunswick has become a service center for the region and a residential community for commuters to the greater Portland area. With Bowdoin College, Maine State Music Theater, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Pejepscot Historical Society, and many historic buildings, it is a powerful cultural magnet. AMTRAK service to Boston resumed in 2012. The town has a 66 mile ocean shoreline and 12 miles along the Androscoggin River. Continue reading

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Buxton

Location Map for Buxton

was settled by men who were survivors of King Philip’s War having been granted allotments of land in what was then Narragansett, Number One. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1750. Named for Buxton in Norfolk, England, it incorporated in 1762. The Buxton Powder House, one of only three War of 1812 powder houses to survive in Maine, was erected on a vote of local citizens. See photos. Continue reading

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Canton

Location Map For Canton

village in Oxford County, incorporated in 1821, overlooks Lake Anasagunticook at the junction of Rts. 108 and 140. The Androscoggin River winds through the town just north of the village. The historical society, old railroad station and masonic building grace this residential, agricultural community. See video and photos. Continue reading

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Carmel

Location Map for Carmel

near Interstate 95 and an easy commute to Bangor, Carmel sustained substantial population growth of 19 percent in the 1990-2000 decade, and nearly 16 percent in the ten years ending in 2010. First settled in 1798, it incorporated in1811. See photos. Continue reading

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Carthage

Location Map For Carthage

in Franklin County incorporated in 1826 has a small but growing population. It has has many pleasant views of the western mountains and several historic buildings. The village of Berry Mills, on the Webb River, has a sawmill, as it did in the 1880s. See photos. Continue reading

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Chapman

Location Map For Chapman

a town in Aroostook County, incorporated in 1915 from Chapman Plantation, was settled in the late 1860s. It cooperates with Castle Hill and Mapleton with a common town manager and comprehensive plan. The Haystack Historical Society serves this rural area. Continue reading

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Cultural Resources

Pejepscot Historical Society on Park Row in Brunswick (2002)

Cultural resources in Maine range from the many community institutions to larger institutions with statewide or broader significance. This page contains a brief summary. Acton Shapleigh HS Albany Township History Allagash HS Alexander – Crawford HS Andover HS Androscoggin HS … Continue reading

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Cumberland

Location Map for Cumberland

in Cumberland County, incorporated 1822, includes two islands in Casco Bay: Sturdivant and Basket. Basket Island, is a nature preserve of .9 acres of mixed forest and shell and gravel beaches. The town, a suburb of Portland, grew by almost 23 percent between 1990 and 2000, and continues its population growth. See photos. 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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Dover-Foxcroft

Location Map for Dover-Foxcroft

the county seat of Piscataquis County, born of the union of Dover and Foxcroft in 1922, and home to Foxcroft Academy and three members of Congress, is the commercial center of the area. See photos. Continue reading

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Ellsworth

Location Map for Ellsworth

Settled in 1763, it has relied on lumbering, shipbuilding, and industry to support its economy. The classic Grand Theater has been saved as an active movie and performance space. See photos. At the confluence of seven highway routes, the city is a shopping center for the area and summer tourism. The Col. John Black Mansion, a modified Georgian design, was home to the land agent for William Bingham. 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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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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Garland

Location Map for Garland

Garland’s 1891 Grange Hall, built in 1891 is one of the oldest surviving 19th century structures of its type, having both Greek Revival and Italianate elements, and simplicity. The Kenduskeag Stream flows from Garland Pond to the Penobscot River at Bangor. Lyndon Oak was a prominent community member. The town was incorporated in 1811. Continue reading

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Georgetown

Location Map for Georgetown

Settled in the early 1600s, it shares its early history with nearby Phippsburg and Arrowsic. See photos. It is home to Reid State Park and to the summer residence of sculptor William and artist Marguerite Zorach. Their daughter, artist Dahlov Ipcar, has also been a resident. The Josephine Newman Sanctuary and the Ledgewood nature preserve are here. Continue reading

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Gorham

Location Map for Gorham

First called Narragansett Number 7, it was granted to men who fought in the Narragansett War of 1675. Gorham Academy, founded 1803, became Western State Normal School, University of Maine at Gorham, and now Gorham Campus of the University of Southern Maine. The home of former governor Percival P. Baxter has become a museum of Indian artifacts and rare coins. Several other notables lived here. 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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Hartford

Location Map for Hartford

Lake Anasagunticook on Main Street (Route 140) in northern Hartford is surrounded by seasonal and year-round houses. See photos. Church Street, an extension of Staples Hill Road in Canton, is a rural road with farms, the old school and community church, with access to the southern shore of the Lake. The area was first settled by Edmund Irish in 1788. The J&) Irish Museum is on Route 140. Continue reading

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Hiram

Location Map for Hiram

The villages of Hiram and East Hiram are divided by the Saco River. Nearby Mount Cutler sports a hiking trail; a chain of ponds hugs the western border above South Hiram. Raymond Cotton, a storekeeper and author, made many home movies. See photos & 1938 video on blueberry farming. The community buildings (churches, library, grange, museum) are within walking distance in Hiram village. Continue reading

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Hope

Location Map for Hope

Located just northwest of Camden on Maine Routes 105 and 235, Hope has a cluster of lakes and ponds attractive to summer vacationers. See photos. The town’s population has more than tripled since 1970, and in the 2000-2010 decade continued growing by over 17 percent. The town hosts at least one extensive orchard featuring apples and pears, among other products. 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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Kennebunkport

Location Map for Kennebunkport

in York County, incorporated 1653 as Cape Porpoise. See photos. After early white settlers were driven away by Indian raids, it was reorganized as Arundel in 1718. In 1821 its name was changed to Kennebunk Port. It has long been an attraction for tourists and summer residents. Well-known residents included writers Booth Tarkington and Kenneth L. Roberts. Continue reading

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Leeds

Location Map for Leeds

While not as important to the local economy as it was in the 19th Century, farming still thrives in some areas of the community. Amid the farms of rural Leeds, the DeCoster mill, on a railroad line in North Leeds, dominates the landscape. The east shore of Androscoggin Lake brings several miles of shore frontage to the community in the northeast corner, including Stinchfield Beach. The Androscoggin River forms the western boundary separating Leeds from Turner. Continue reading

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Lincoln

Location Map for Lincoln

In 1846, Henry David Thoreau noted that his group “came into the Houlton road again, here called the military road, at Lincoln where there is quite a village for this country.” See photos. It has been a manufacturing center for pulp and paper, shoes and textiles. Recent years have seen a declining population as those sectors have faded. A 40 turbine wind will benefit the town budget. 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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Livermore

Livermore, the main village, fronts on Brettuns Pond. A boat launch is located off Route 4. Near Livermore village several old community buildings suggest an earlier location for the village center. North Livermore village is centered on twin water bodies, Round Pond and Long Pond. North Livermore Baptist Church graces the community, just north of “The Norlands” a living history center. 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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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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Monson

Monson Birdseye View 1889

The Appalachian Trail runs along the northwestern portion of Lake Hebron, then veers north toward the Doughty Ponds. See photos. In Maine, “Monson” often means “slate” to those who know that its high quality products have been shipped worldwide. Continue reading

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New Vineyard

Location Map for New Vineyard

Framed by the Carrabassett and Sandy Rivers, this irregularly shaped town’s main village lies on Maine Route 27 between New Portland and Farmington. See photos. The Maine Wood Turning company is on Route 27 in the village. Nearby Bauds, Mill, and Lily ponds, and frontage on Porter Lake, provide wide fishing and recreational opportunities. Continue reading

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Newfield

Location Map for Newfield

The old center of Newfield village was destroyed by the great forest fire of 1947. See photos. The Willowbrook Historic District covers this area and the buildings that survived the fire. In 1984 the application to establish the historic district reported “Very little change in the buildings or landscape has occurred in the last one-hundred years so that the sense of time and place of a remote southwestern Maine rural community of the 19th century remains strongly present.” At the source of the Little Ossipee River, and dotted with ponds and streams, Newfield is a rapidly growing community about twenty miles northwest of Sanford Continue reading

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Nobleboro

Location Map for Nobleboro

Throughout its history Nobleboro remained a rural community, but because of nearby lakes, rivers, and seacoast, about 37% of its inhabitants are non-resident “summer people.” See photos. Damariscotta Lake is accessible and nearby Great Salt Bay is the state’s first marine shellfish protected area. Shipbuilding was once a major industry with twenty-six shipyards in town at the peak. Maine’s first recorded meteorite (and the second in the U.S.) arrived in 1823. Continue reading

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Norridgewock

Location Map for Norridgewock

The village straddles a bend in the Kennebec River at the junction of Maine Routes 8 and 139, and U.S. Routes 2 and 201A. See photos. The Sandy River empties into the Kennebec in the town. Benedict Arnold’s expedition passed through in 1775. Norridgewock was the home of author Rebecca “Sophie May” Clark, and U.S.Representatives Cullen Sawtelle and Stephen D. Lindsey. Continue reading

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North Yarmouth

Location Map for North Yarmouth

North Yarmouth’s rapidly growing community, nearly triplng its population since 1970, is within easy reach of Yarmouth, Brunswick, and the greater Portland area. King William’s War started here when Indians attacked the settlement in the late 1680’s. Continue reading

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Passadumkeag

Location Map for Passadumkeag

The current village of Passadumkeag includes a small residential area east of U.S. Route 2. A community center (in a Quonset building), fire station, historical society, town office, post office, and the Passadumkeag Baptist are all on or near Pleasant Street in this small village. Continue reading

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Patten

The Village from Route 11 Looking North (2006)

has continued its focus on lumbering since early settlement, including its informative Lumberman’s Museum on the Shin Pond Road. The Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church anchors the southern end of the main street. See photos. The small community has witnessed a dwindling population over the past several decades with the loss of jobs in farming, lumbering, and the paper industry. Patten is the northern gateway from Interstate 95 to Baxter State Park. Continue reading

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Phippsburg

Location Map for Phippsburg

Even before it was incorporated, the community had its church (see photos), which was organized in 1765 and built in 1802. The tip of Phippsburg at the mouth of the Kennebec River is the site of the first English attempt at settling New England: the Popham Colony of 1607-1608. Fort Popham and Fort Baldwin, rise as a guardians of land upriver. Coxes Head, which juts out into the Kennebec River. Continue reading

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Searsmont

Location Map for Searsmont

The main village is located on the St. George River and is adjacent to Quantabacook Lake. See photos. The town is served by Maine Routes 3, 131 and 173 and lies about ten miles southwest of Belfast. In 1925 the first international radio broadcast was relayed from Belfast through Searsmont and on to New York City. Continue reading

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Shapleigh

Location Map for Shapleigh

Maine Route 11 moves up from Sanford through the villages of Emery Mills, Shapleigh, and North Shapleigh near the lake shores. See photos. Shapleigh Woods, managed by The Nature Conservancy, is a 265-acre nature preserve. Continue reading

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Skowhegan

Location Map for Skowhegan

Recorded as Skwahegan in early reports, the name means “watching place for fish,” drawn from the falls in the Kennebec River that harbored salmon. See photos. Local Indians speared them as they attempted to scale the falls. Textile and shoe manufacturing were major employment options for local residents during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Once home to Camp Modin, a camp for Jewish boys and girls until 1992, Lake George Regional Park is split between Skowhegan and Canaan. 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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Stockholm

Location Map for Stockholm

Named for the Swedish capital, the village lies on the Little Madawaska River, just off Maine Route 161 and just north of New Sweden, also part of the Colony. The village, essentially off the main highways, is not “on-the-way” to anywhere. This small community, with a continued significant reliance on agriculture and a declining population, still supports three churches: Catholic, Baptist, and Lutheran. 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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Surry

Location Map for Surry

Surry is just southwest of Ellsworth on Maine Route 172 where it crosses Route 176. Once an active fishing, farming and lumbering community, it is now primarily residential with modest tourism and fishing supplementing the local economy. The town’s Newbury Neck extends over six miles from the mainland, a virtual island surrounded by Morgan Bay and Union River Bay. 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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Vanceboro

Sunset over Small Stream in Vanceboro (2013)

At the easternend of Maine Route 6, Vanceboro lies across the river from St. Croix, New Brunswick where 24-hour per day customs stations manage border crossings. See photos. A hill in the village overlooks the main street. With the large houses, the veterans hall and memorial, it appears to have been an important neighborhood in the history of Vanceboro. The local school of recent vintage is located there. Trains from Maine pass through Vanceboro to Canada. Continue reading

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Vassalboro

Location Map for Vassalboro

has sufficient space to support farming as well as serving as a residential area for people working in Augusta and Waterville. See video and photos. Benedict Arnold stopped here to obtain a canoe on his way to Quebec. Site of Oak Grove Seminary in 1844, then Oak Grove Coburn school in 1970, then the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2001. Continue reading

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Waldoboro

Location Map for Waldoboro

is home to six nature preserves, an old German church and a traditional downtown. See photos. However, most people know Waldoboro by its location on U.S. Route 1, where convenience stores populate the commercial strip. 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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Waterville

Location Map for Waterville

Waterville is a regional service center for northern Kennebec and southern Somerset counties. See photos. Its downtown and the Kennedy Memorial Drive commercial strip provide business and professional services. It has been home to several U.S. Senators and Maine governors. Colby College is here. Continue reading

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Wesley

Location Map for Wesley

Blueberry production is a major industry in this Washington County town. See photos. The Jasper Wyman company is the primary employer and owner of the blueberry barrens in the area. Fishing and camping is available at Seavey Lake, Little Seavey Lake and the western shore of Long Lake. Maine Routes 9 and 192 pass through this sparsely populated, heavily forested area. Continue reading

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Winter Harbor

Winter Harbor (2004)

Winter Harbor lies south of U.S. Route 1 through Gouldsboro on Route 186. See photos. It hosts two nature preserves, Schoodic Island and Turtle Island. The town’s recent population decline is due is large part to the closing of the U.S. Navy base. Continue reading

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Woodland

Long view in Woodland on the Colby Siding Road (2003)

With little in the way of a central village, the town lies west of Caribou served by Maine Routes 161 and 228. See photos. Unable to find enough land in New Sweden, members of the Swedish Colony were granted 100 acre lots in Woodland. This northern community, in the heart of potato and forest product country, is not to be confused with the village of Woodland in the town of Baileyville. Continue reading

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Woolwich

Woolwich Shore on the Kennebec River from Thorne Head in North Bath (2010)

Woolwich, across the Kennebec River from Bath and with long shores on Merrymeeting Bay, is home to two nature preserves. Settled in the 1600s, it has several historic buildings. Alewives have been a historic part of the community. Continue reading

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York

Loaction Map for York

Most of the town’s inhabitants are located between U.S. Route 1 (inland) and U.S. Route 1A which runs along the coast. Its population has more than doubled in the past thirty years, and grew by nearly 31 percent between 1990 and 2000. Beaches and cottages characterize the coast. Continue reading

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