Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Westbrook

Year Population
1970 14,444
1980 14,976
1990 16,121
2000 16,142
2010 17,494
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 43:41:38
W. Latitude 70:21:15
Maine House District 34,35
Maine Senate District 25,28
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 17.1
Area sq. mi. (land) 16.9
Population/sqmi (land) 1,035
County: Cumberland

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Westbrook Population Chart 1820-2010

Population Trend 1820-2010

[WEST-bruk] is a city in located in Cumberland County, settled about 1630, had two villages: Saccarappa and Ammoncongin. It was incorporated as a town on February 14, 1814 under the name Stroudwater, which was changed in June of that year to Westbrook.

The first house was built in 1699. The first permanent settler built a house, saw mill & grist mill at Saccarappa Falls about 1739. According to the Westbrook Historical society Saccarappa is a Native American word meaning “falling toward the sun.”

Paper Mill in Westbrook on Route 4 (2003)

Paper Mill in Westbrook on Route 4 (2003)

For nearly forty years, the town swapped land and boundaries with Falmouth – 1819, 1825, 1828, 1831, 1835, 1836, and finally 1853. The city has a substantial Franco-American population attracted to the S. D. Warren paper mill (later Sappi Fine Paper) that was established in 1852.

Colonel Thomas Westbrook, its namesake, was a commander of forces during the fourth French and Indian War, including a raid on Norridgewock in 1721. He later became a large landowner and mill operator. An image recalling the ship he sailed on from New Hampshire to Maine is on the City’s seal.

Pride's Corner Drive In Theater (2003)

Pride’s Corner Drive In Theater (2003)

In 1891 Westbrook became a city. It is the birthplace of sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers (1825-1861).

It was the childhood hometown of bandleader Rudy Vallee, who popularized the Maine Stein Song. One of the few remaining drive-in movie theaters in Maine is at Pride’s Corner.

Former Forest Street School (2003)

Former Forest Street School (2003)

In addition to those buildings listed on the Historic Register below, the Forest Street School built in the late 19th century still stands, though now the site of condominiums.

Buildings in Downtown Westbrook (2003)

Buildings in Downtown Westbrook (2003)

Flowing through the city is the Presumpscot River, whose name means “many rough places river. ”

Now the 12th largest community in Maine by population, it was edged out of its 1990 11th largest position by Saco in the 2000 Census, but maintained 12th largest rank in the 2010 Census.  Since 1820 Westbrook has had a virtually consistent population growth record.  The 1880 Census report seems out of step, possibly from a counting error. (See the population trend chart above.)

Immediately west of Portland on U.S. 302 and Maine Route 25, but part of the Portland metropolitan area, Westbrook is home to industrial, professional, and commercial enterprises, as well as to a campus of Husson University.

Additional resources

Born, Vaun E., Ed. 100 years of Westbrook Mayors, 1891-1991. Westbrook Historical Society. Westbrook, Me.? Westbrook Historical Society. 1991.

Field, Jacqueline. Silk and Society: Silk Manufacturers and Users 1870-1930: based on a study of the Haskell Silk Company, Westbrook, Maine. 1997. (Thesis (M.A.)–University of Southern Maine, 1997)

Ketover, Karen Sherman. Fabius M. Ray’s Story of Westbrook. Bowie, MD. Heritage Books. c1998.

Lewis, John R. An Early History of Pride’s Corner. Westbrook, Me. Men’s Club of the Pride’s Corner Congregational Church. 1968.

Rowe, Ernest Ray. Highlights of Westbrook History. Westbrook, Me. Westbrook Woman’s Club. 1952.

Vasquez, Andrea M.P. Remembering Westbrook: The People of the Paper City. Charleston, SC History Press. 2010. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library]

Weigle, Anastasia S. A Presence in the Community: The Warren Family Legacy. Westbrook, Me. Warren Memorial Foundation and Cornelia Warren Community Association. c2000.

Westbrook Historical Society. http://www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org/index.html (accessed April 30, 2012)

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Cumberland Mills Historic District, both sides of Presumpscot River between railroad tracks and Warren Avenue

Harris, Nathan, House, 425 Main Street

Vallee Family House, 36 Monroe Avenue

Walker Memorial Library, 800 Main Street

Warren Block, Main Street

Westbrook High School, 765 Main Street

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