Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Windham

Location Map for Windham

Location Map for Windham

Year Population
1970 6,593
1980 11,282
1990 13,020
2000 14,904
2010 17,001
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 43:47:50
W. Latitude 70:24:18
Maine House Dist 24,25
Maine Senate District 26
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 50.3
Area sq. mi. (land) 46.7
Population/sqmi (land) 364.5
County: Cumberland

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Windham Population Chart 1790-2010

Population Trend 1790-2010

The Community Church of South Windham (2013)

The Community Church of South Windham (2013)

Sign: Welcome to Windham (2003)[WIND-uhm] is a town in Cumberland County, settled in 1735 and incorporated on June 12, 1762 from New Marblehead Plantation.

A mill was erected on the Presumpscot River at Mallison Falls (also known as Horseshoe, Horse Beef, and Nagwamqueeg) as early as 1738.

Native Americans protested that is was preventing the migration of fish, on which they depended.  The dam and associated mill was washed away in a flood in 1743. The river flows the length of the town from Sebago Lake Basin to Westbrook in the south.

Presumpscot River in South Windham (2013)

Presumpscot River in South Windham (2013) @

Dam on the Presumpscot River (2013)

Dam on the Presumpscot River (2013) @

As with most early Maine towns, life was dangerous. According to George Varney,

In 1744 a substantial fort was erected in the settlement, and furnished at the expense of the inhabitants with two swivel guns and the necessary ammunition. From 1745 to 1751 the inhabitants lived within its walls. It was a period of great suffering and danger . . . .

Meetinghouse on Route 302 (2003)

Meetinghouse on Route 302 (2003)

Population levels from 1820 through 1940 remained at about 2,000.  After World War II, it began to inch upward, but by the 1970s the community began to change dramatically. Windham had almost tripled its population by 2010.

The main village, North Windham, lies adjacent to Sebago Lake and on the shore of Little Sebago Lake at the junction of U.S. Route 302 and Maine Routes 35 and 115.

While Route 302 is a long commercial strip, the old meeting house above is adjacent to the Windham Union Church. Built in 1849, the Friends Meeting House (below) is on Route 4 in South Windham.

Young adult offenders are held at the Maine Correctional Center, a major facility in South Windham.

South Windham Fire Company (2013)

South Windham Fire Company (2013) @

Buildings on Main Street South Windham (2013)

Buildings on Main Street South Windham (2013) @

Commercial Strip North Windham (2013)

Commercial Strip North Windham (2013) @

Roadside Vegetable Stand, North Windham (1938)

Roadside Vegetable Stand, North Windham (1938)

Windham’s historic lore includes these items:

  • Resident John A. Andrews was an early governor of Massachusetts
  •  

  • The first church was organized in 1743
  •  

  • Nineteen schoolhouses were operating in 1886

 

Friends Meeting House on Route 4 (2003)

Friends Meeting House on Route 4 (2003)

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Council-Manager.

Additional resources

Bodge, George M. New Marblehead, Now Windham, Me.: Ecclesiastical Matters. 1898. [Maine State Library]

Dole, Frederick Howard. Sketches of the History of Windham, Maine, 1734-1935; The Story of a Typical New England Town. Westbrook, Me. H. S. Cobb, Printer. 1935.

Dole, Samuel Thomas. Windham in the Past. Windham, Me. Windham Historical Society. 1974. [Maine State Library] (A source for “Horseshoe Dam” date.)

Friends of Sebago Lake, Friends of the Presumpscot River and American Rivers. “Historic Records Related to the Anadromous Fisheries of the Presumpscot River and Sebago Lake, Maine.” September 2002. http://home.gwi.net/~fks/presumpoverview.html (accessed October 29, 2013)

Smith, Thomas Laurens. History of the Town of Windham. Portland, Me. Hoyt & Fogg. 1873.

Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. 1886. p. 592.

Windham Bicentennial Committee, Windam, Me. Windham 1976. The Bicentennial Committee. Windham, Me. The Committee. 1976. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library]

Windham, Maine 250th Anniversary Celebration June 1987. 1987? North Windham, Me. The Village Print Shop, Courier Free Press. [Maine State Library]

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Gould House, 280 Windham Center Road

Maplewood Farm, River Road southeast of junction with Webber Road South Windham

Smith, Parson, House, Southeast of South Windham on River Road South Windham

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One Response to Windham

  1. Joseph Vaughan says:

    In South Windham on High st. Was called ,I think, Red City. Houses were used by the workers at the Pulp Mill. My dad worked at the mill and grew up on Depot road where a Wescott lived when I grew up. Am I right about ” Red City” ? Please set me straight.

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