Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Entries listed under "museums"

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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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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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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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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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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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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Bristol

Going to Monhegan from New Harbor (2013)

Pemaquid Neck hosts the village of New Harbor, along with Pemaquid Beach and Pemaquid Light. The area, visited by Europeans by 1569, is said to be the home of the Indian Samoset, who greeted the Pilgrims in 1621 in English. New Harbor is a departure point for Monhegan Island. See video and photos. Continue reading

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Civil War

Camp scene, 2nd Maine Infantry

had a major impact on Maine, whose armed forces played a leading role in Maine’s participation in the Civil War. The Adjutant General’s Office in Maine State government had extensive records of Maine’s participation in the Civil War. Now in … Continue reading

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Cranberry Isles

Location Map for Cranberry Isles

in Hancock County, incorporated 1830, requires ferries or water taxis to access. The 200 acre cranberry marsh on Great Cranberry Island influenced Governor Bernard in 1762 to name the town as it is. Little Cranberry hosts the Islesford Historical Museum; The Baker Island and Bear Island light stations provide navigation assistance near Acadia National Park. See map. 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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Damariscotta

Location Map for Damariscotta

in Lincoln County, contains Native American shell middens (heaps), built 8 clipper ships, and borders the Great Salt Bay nature preserve. Walt Disney’s Bambi was “born” here. See photos. Continue reading

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Fairfield

Location Map for Fairfield

Fairfield Center, with its impressive church and grange hall, is at the crossroads of routes 23 & 104. The old Lawrence High School is near the veterans park with its gazebo and shade trees. See photos. In the fall, a popular destination for apples and pumpkins is The Apple Farm. Fairfield, incorporated in 1788 in Somerset County, now hosts Kennebec Valley Community College. Continue reading

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Frenchboro

Location Map for Frenchboro and Long Island

Settled in the early 1800s, the island had a population of 19 in 1820, when fishing and some logging sustained the community. Other than for a period of pulpwood harvesting, few roads were constructed outside Lunt Harbor. See amateur film, video and photos. While many Maine islands struggle to maintain a critical mass of population, Frenchboro experienced a substantial reversal of three decades of decline when the 2010 U.S. Census confirmed sixty-one people as resident. Continue reading

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Frenchville

Location Map for Frenchville

in Aroostook County, incorporated in 1869 under the name Dickeyville. The name was change to Frenchville in 1871 in recognition of the French-Acadian population of the town. Its northern border is with Canada along a great bend in the St. John River. A potato farming community, it has lost population over the past three decades. The Frenchville Historical Society’s “Caboose” is part of a railroad station full scale exhibit. Continue reading

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Grand Lake Stream

Location Map for Grand Lake Stream

The sparsely populated area has its main village, Grand Lake Stream, on the stream of the same name that connects West Grand Lake with Big Lake to the south. The surrounding lakes offer a fishing and wilderness experience prized by those who visit them. 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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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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Kingfield

Location Map for Kingfield

Now a “four season” recreation center, located half way between the North Pole and the Equator, it is the gateway to Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Area in Carrabassett Valley. See video & photo. Named for Maine’s first governor, the town hosts the Stanly Museum (of Stanley Steamer fame). Continue reading

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Liberty

Location Map for Liberty

Lake St. George and its associated State Park, are in the north-central portion of the Town on Route 3. Liberty Village is on the east shore of the Lake and Route 173 is the main street. This scenic rural community is about a twenty-one mile and about a half-hour drive to Camden; and less than twenty miles and less than a half-hour drive to Belfast. In the 1880’s Liberty was know for its many apple orchards and fertile farmland. 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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Littleton

Location Map for Littleton

in potato country north of Houlton, it is split by U.S. Route 1 and borders Canada on its east. See photos. It is home to Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum. Watson Settlement Bridge, built in 1911, is the oldest surviving Howe Truss system in a Maine covered bridge. The Littleton Esker is west of U.S. Route 1 just north of the Littleton-Houtlon town line. Continue reading

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Livermore Falls

Livermore Falls Birdseye View 1889

For years Livermore Falls was a thriving paper mill town. See video and photos. Recently, the employment future has become less certain, as shown by the age of the housing stock. Pikes Corner at Route 133 and 106 is in the East Livermore area, in Livermore Falls. The town is directly north of the Lewiston-Auburn area. An extensive logging and manufacturing operation produces wood pallets. 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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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 Sweden

Location Map for New Sweden

After the Civil War, Maine, like other states, was losing population to the great westward migration. A conscious public policy of encouraging Swedish immigration resulted in the very successful settlement of Swedes in New Sweden. Just northwest of Caribou on Maine Route 161, the town is just south of Stockholm. Continue reading

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Nordica, Lillian

Lillian Nordica, courtesy Maine State Museum

(1857-1914) was born on the family farm in Farmington as Lillian Bayard Norton. According to one observer, she was “America’s first and most glamorous opera singer to attain true international prominence.” After the financial failure of the farm and, two … Continue reading

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Norlands

Washburn Norlands Livng History Center (2003)

The Norlands Living History Center in Livermore provides a live-in opportunity to those who want to experience life as early Maine settlers did. Unfortunately, the great barn burned to the ground on April 28, 2008, damaging the adjoining mansion. A … Continue reading

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Ogunquit

Location Map for Ogunquit

Ogunquit, before 1980, was a village corporation and functioned for the most part as a town of its own, supporting its own police, fire, highway and sewer departments. The town is a well known actors and artists colony, featuring the historic Ogunquit Playhouse and beautiful beaches. Perkins Cove, south of the main village on Shore Road, combines a working waterfront, a restaurant, an art museum, and fine cottages. Continue reading

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Owls Head

Location Map for Owls Head

The Knox County Regional Airport is located in Owls Head and is one of Maine’s busiest during the summer months. Owls Head State Park offers views of Penobscot Bay and the nearby Owls Head Transportation Museum contains vintage aircraft frequently flown over the Bay. Owls Head Light Station marks the southern entrance to Rockland Harbor. Continue reading

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Paris

Location Map for Paris

The Paris Hill neighborhood has several architecturally interesting old homes, while South Paris has been the industrial and manufacturing center. See photos. On the Stearns Hill Road the old Hungry Hollow schoolhouse sits on a small plot. South Paris village, split by the Little Androscoggin River, is the main population center and is half of the Norway-South Paris community. 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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Peary, Robert E.

The Peary House on Eagle Island (2002)

(1856-1920), who summered on Eagle Island, received a degree in civil engineering from Bowdoin College in 1877, was a noted Arctic explorer who became famous as the discoverer of the North Pole, though many experts believe that the claim has … Continue reading

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Perkins, Frances

Frances Perkins Center (2014)

While she was born in Boston, Frances Perkins considered her family’s “Brick House” in Newcastle to be her home. As the National Park Service observed in its National Landmark Nomination document: The Perkins Homestead in Newcastle, Maine, is nationally significant … Continue reading

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Phillips

Location Map for Phillips

The Sandy River-Rangeley Lakes Railroad, which transported people and forest products to and from the north woods, was once headquartered in the town. See photos. As the Sandy River passes through the village, the river bed appears as frozen sand, almost bone-like in its strange shapes. A canoe trip from here to Farmington begins well below the bridge. Outdoors woman, columnist, and promoter of outdoor sports in Maine, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby was born here. Continue reading

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Pittston Academy Grant

Pittston Farm Sign on the Northern Road (2008)

This township is mostly south of the Golden Road where the Northern Road turns down toward the Pittston Farm, established by the Great Northern Paper Company. According to John Gould, In lumber camp lingo a “farm” is a depot and … Continue reading

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Portland

Location Map for Portland

With its large population, financial and legal services, cultural and historical attractions, and “Old Port” dining and shopping district, the City is the only true metropolitan area in the state. See photos. Portland harbor is a working waterfront serving tankers, tourists, and fisheries, along with recreational boating from year-round and summer residents. Ferries connect the mainland to the many Casco Bay islands. Settled in 1632 and incorporated as a town on July 4, 1786, Portland became a city in 1833. 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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Railroads

Maine Rail Map

A Brief History of Railroads Maine Railroad technology was first developed in Great Britain, and included Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive of 1804 and George Stevenson’s locomotive “Rocket” of 1829. In addition to the standard gauge (width) lines reviewed here, narrow … Continue reading

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Railroads, Narrow Gauge

Narrow Gauge Railroad Map

Starting in the latter part of the 19th century, Maine had a unique system of railroads that ran on rails only two feet apart. Eventually five of these railroads served rural areas in western and central Maine. They were the … Continue reading

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Rockland

The Farnsworth Museum (2005)

a city in, and the county seat of, Knox County, it is the home to the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Seafood Festival, a historic working waterfront, historic structures, and birthplace of notable cultural and political figures. Located on U.S. Route 1, the city is a regional service and retail center. Continue reading

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Saco

View of Saco Bay, from A Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1886

One half of the Biddeford-Saco metropolitan area, the city has its own extensive beach and Ferry Beach State Park. See photos. It is one stop on AMTRAK’s Downeaster rail service. Occupying the east side of the Saco River as it enters Saco Bay, the city is the eleventh largest community in Maine. Continue reading

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Scarborough

Location Map for Scarborough

A suburb of Portland, the rapidly growing community now ranks as tenth most populous in Maine according to the 2000 U.S. Census, up from 13th place in 1990, having grown almost 36 percent in ten years. See photos. The Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area is managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in a federal-state partnership program. The town’s fine beaches and the Scarborough Downs race track and off-track betting facility are attractions for many. Continue reading

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Searsport

Location Map for Searsport

The town has two areas with industrial potential on Penobscot Bay. See photos. In addition to substantial resources of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport has recreational opportunities at Moose Point State Park on Penobscot Bay, and frontage on Swan Lake inland at the northwest corner of the town. 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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Southport Island

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

Located between Sheepscot Bay and Booth Bay, it is connected by a swing bridge to the town of Boothbay Harbor, and the casual visitor might not assume the town with two lighthouses was on an island. See photos. At the height of the summer, traffic is often backed up at the bridge as boats pass. Townsend Gut is the narrow waterway that separates the two towns. It is a shortcut from Boothbay Harbor to the Sheepscot River. The general store in West Southport village has been an institution for over a century. Continue reading

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Southwest Harbor

Location Map for Southwest Harbor

It lies on the southwest entrance to Somes Sound, diagonally across from Northeast Harbor, a village in the town of Mount Desert. Southwest Harbor has been both a fishing and summer resort community from its earliest days as a town. See photos. Maine Route 102 begins at entrance to Mount Desert Island and leads directly south to the main village of Southwest Harbor. Here the Wendell Gilley Museum celebrates the life and work of Gilley, a pioneer of decorative bird carving. South of the harbor, the small villages of Manset and Seawall face the entrance to Somes Sound and the Cranberry Isles. Continue reading

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St. Francis

Location Map for St. Francis

The St. Francis River, which forms the northeastern border with Canada along with the St. John River, joins the St. John at the town of St. Francis. Across the St. John lies Madawaska County, New Brunswick. The St. John River forms the northern boundary of this small community, which has been declining in population for the past two decades. It is the last organized town on Route 161, which follows the St. John River from Fort Kent. 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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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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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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Waterboro

Location Map for Waterboro

The South Waterboro Bible Chapel is in the most southern of three villages, Waterboro. See photos. The others are Waterboro Center and North Waterboro. In the last forty years the town’s population has grown phenomenally, having expanded to over six times its size as in 1970. Continue reading

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Wells

Cottages along Wells Beach (2012)

in York County north of Ogunquit, Wells Main Street is a commercial strip, hosting some community facilities, including the Junior High and the Historical Society. See photos. Wells Beach is a destination for locals and tourists alike. In 2004 the town estimated its peak summer population at about 39,000, including seasonal homes, lodging houses, and recreational vehicle parks. That is four times the resident population. Continue reading

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Wilton

Location Map for Wilton

Located on the shore of Wilson Pond, the main village lies at the intersection of U.S. Route 2 and Maine Routes 4 and 156.. See photos. George H. Bass began making boots for farmers in 1876. For more than 100 years, the G. H. Bass company made footwear in Wilton. 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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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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