Environmental History of the Androscoggin River, Maine and New Hampshire


During the winter of 1997, students in Environmental Studies 202, Introduction to Environmental Studies developed environmental histories for most of the towns along the Androscoggin river. Each group of 4 to 6 students was ass igned a town on which to focus. Their charge was to learn what they could about the local history, and examine it from the perspective of the evolving relationship between the local communities and the Androscoggin River, the aquatic thread that stitches all of these communities together. Students worked through town offices, local libraries, village historical societies. They examined deed records, old maps, newspaper clippings, town histories, and just about any other resources that they were able to locate.

This project was initiated as a collaboration between the Bates College Environmental Studies Program and Bonnie Lounsbury of the Androscoggin Land Trust. The Androscoggin Land Trust is a watershed-wide land trust dedicated to the health of the Andros coggin river and its watershed. The land trust sponsors a variety of special events, including an annual "Source-to-the-Sea" Canoe Trek down the length of the Androscoggin. A primary purpose of these projects was to develop information of valu e to the land trust during the Source-to-the-Sea trek, and as background for future efforts to develop a comprehensive environmental history of the river. Students were assigned four tasks: (1) to develop an annotated bibliography of historical material s relating to a certain town, (2) to draw up a "preliminary environmental timeline", (3) to try and locate at least one historical map of each community from before 1900, and (4) to prepare a narrative statement examining the relationship betw een town and river.

The history of each community is intimately tied up with that of the Androscoggin. Like communities anywhere, these sprung up where they did because of the local availability of certain resources. Along the Androscoggin, the gifts of the river — what now would be called the natural capital of the river — were often of special significance in determining where people settled, and what economic activities dominated the communities. The features of the river that attracted people varied up an d down the river, from the fertile floodplains that gave the resort town of Bethel its start to the falls that offered opportunity for development of hydropower in Rumford, Jay, Lewiston. The town of Brunswick was doubly blessed, not only being located a long a great falls, but also at the head of tide, providing opportunity both for hydropower, and ready access to shipping to markets. All along the river, its value for transportation of logs has played an important and role in local communities.

Since the 1930s, the history of the Androscoggin has been one of degradation and recovery. Pollution caused by discharges of largely untreated paper mill effluent were sufficiently noxious before the middle of the century to produce fumes rumored to p eal the paint off of houses. Low dissolved oxygen in the river made it unsuitable for most aquatic life, while foam and dark colors made it unappealing. The river was being treated as a sewer, and it all too often looked and smelled like one. Following increased regulation of water quality, initially by the state of Maine (supported by the work of Bates Professor of Chemistry XXXXXXXXXX? Sduring the 1940s), and later by the federal government under the Federal Water Pollution Control ActClean Water Act (marshaled through congress by Bates alumnus, Edmund Muskie), the river has staged a remarkable comeback. Today, most of the river is clean enough to support aquatic life once again. The Gulf Island Pond, located a few miles north of Lewiston, is now h ome to an annual Bass fishing competition. While the river still has high concentrations of mercury and dioxins in some of its sediments — problems that will take decades or centuries to clear up — it is now a significant recreational resource to the local communities along its banks.

To give you a flavor of what the students discovered, what follows are the timelines submitted by student groups. Timelines are ordered approximately from upstream to downstream communities.

Berlin NH

Andrew Watterson

Kajsa Krieger

Taki Miyamoto

Todd Bailey

Todd Kundla

1774 Errol is chartered

1789 Owners of the Errol Grant petition NH General Assembly for towns form Conway to Errol to pay expenses for a "good connecting road"

1791- NH G.A. finally approves Errol’s petition (Still waiting in 1997)

1804 Winter road built from Andover to Umbagog

1806 First settlers arrive in Errol via Dixville Notch

1820 Errol pop. = 36

1820 First crude road/trail developed between Shelburne Addition (Gorham) and Maynesborough (Berlin)

1824 First logging camp east of Androscoggin (Milan/Berlin)

1824 Berlin established as the agricultural community of "Maynesborough" William Sessions clears first homestead west of falls

1826 First saw mill built at head of Berlin Falls (Maynesborough) by Thomas Green

1829 Maynesborough, NH incorporated as Berlin "...to erase all memory of British rule"

1835 First grist mill built in Berlin

1836 Berlin Pop. = 72

1836 Errol, NH incorporated; noted as "good farmland for hay, oats and potatoes"

1836 First Rangely dam built to facilitate log driving

1837 First good road built between Berlin and Gorham

1837 First log drives from Rangeleys

1851 J.B. Brown and 3 Portland business men create H.Winslow & Companybuy upper Berlin Falls

Androscoggin River Improvement Company established to control river flow via headwater dams investors (Duns and Pingrees) planning a hydro/lumber monopoly for Lewiston

1852 Berlin Mills Company builds its first sawmill

1852 H.Winslow Co. establish first mill- with Berlin Mills Company, foils Lewiston’s plan

1858 First covered bridge over Androscoggin in Berlin

1860 Berlin pop.= 400

1866 W.W. and L.T. Brown buy controlling interest in H.Winslow & Company change name to Berlin Mills Company

1877 H.H. Furbish of PA brings soda pulp process to Berlin

1877 Forest Fiber Company established

1878 UWP purchases Errol Dam (+500 acres), Middle and Upper Dams (+160 acres each) plus 10 rod strip on both sides of Rapid River

1880 Berlin pop. = 1150

1883 Opera house built in Berlin

1883 White Mt. Pulp & Paper. first groundwood plant in NH (Dead RiverBerlin's first grist mill site)

1885 Berlin offers 10 years of tax exemption to any company willing to build a pulp mill; Glen Manufacturing Company develops paper mill on east side of river.

1886 First paper produced in Berlin

1886 Berlin population doubles in one year = 4000

1886 First electric lights in UAV at GMC

1886 Umbagog house opens in Errol; village becomes northernmost supply base for logging and "sports (hunters and fishermen)"

1887 Stone dam at Errol washes out

1887 Glen Manufacturing Company buys White Mountain Pulp & Paper

1887 Tilghman introduces sulfite pulping process W.W. Brown (Berlin Mills Company) commits to pulp and paper development (from soda pulp process)

1888 Sulfite pulp process displaces rags and soda pulp allows use of any softwood.

1888 Berlin Mills Co. develops Riverside Groundwood Mill first paper from straight wood pulp

1891 Berlin Mills Company builds Riverside paper mill

1892 Whitefield & Jefferson Railroad connected to Gorham and Berlin

1892 Blanchard and Twitchell Railroad (narrow gauge) built from Berlin into Success

1894 C.S. Peabody sells Moose Brook mills and 150 acre hay field to E.Libby & Sons sells their forest land to Brown (Berlin Mills Co.)

1895 Loss of Glen House, Railroad and mine Gorham is entirely dependent on Lumber.

1895 Berlin mills absorb most Gorham workers

1896 Berlin pop. = 6000

1896 Glen manufacturing is grinding 30 million BF spruce logs annually

1896 Berlin Mills : 60 million BF 1200 mill workers and 450 river drivers every spring (lumber and pulp)

1896 Burgess Sulfite Fiber Co. largest in America (75 - 80 tons Pulp/day)

1896 Many large farms in Berlin, Milan, Dummer, Errol Magalloway raising hay for logging horses

1897 Berlin incorporated as a city

1898 Glen Manufacturing Company joins International Paper Company, a collaboration of 20 newsprint mills

1898 Brown Company builds first bleached wood pulp plant

1900 Berlin pop= 8886 people, 308 horses, 170 cows

1900 Labor unrest is beginning to get serious in Berlin and other mill towns

1901 Contract let out for Gorham-Berlin Electric Railroad due to pressures of increasing consumer numbers

1901 The Society For Protection of NH Forests is established, as a result of growing concern for devastation of forests

1902 Union Labor Party organized in Berlin

1904 lumber supplies are weakening

1905 Berlin Electric Company buys water rights for dam at Lead Mine Bridge (Shelburne)

1910 Berlin pop = 11,780

1910 Glen Manufacturing CO. offers public stock for first time

1912 Berlin Shopping center for Gorham residents

1913 Berlin pop. = 14000

1914 Berlin Mills Co. buys 46000 acres of CVL stumpage on Megalloway & Diamonds

1916 Berlin becomes know as "City that Trees Built"

1916 Berlin hosts hundreds of lumberjacks and river drivers

1916 Berlin; fall through spring= 4500 men harvesting timber in UAV

1916 Supplies still being hauled to logging camps

1917 Berlin Mills Co. and Burgess Sulfite change name to "Brown Co."

1919 Brown Co. establishes huge nursery on north shore Cupsuptic Lake; beginning of forest research

1920 Berlin pop= 16104

1925 trucks being used to haul hardwoods

1927 Godfrey dam built on east branch of Ammonoosuc, for Berlin water supply 1930 Berlin pop. = 20000

1927 Brown Co. forced to close Cascade Sulfite Mill

1927 Androscoggin River Survey finds minimal pollution but mill activity has been near a standstill due to the depression

1935 Brown Co. files for bankruptcy Co. will be sold 3 times through 1940

1940 Berlin pop. = 19084

1941 Brown Co. back on its feet; Cascade Sulfite Mill re-opens

1941 Major drought results in exposure of polluted mud-flats all along the Androscoggin stench is terrible

1943 Cascade Sulfite Mill closes lack of manpower to cut pulp

1950 Berlin pop. = 16615, Errol pop. = 224

1950 Grant from Brown Co. to UNH to research use of waste bark.

1960 Berlin pop. =17821, Errol pop.= 220

1965 Berlin and Gorham mill making only 50% of expenses

1967 Brown Co. mills bought by Gulf Western makes basic Clean Air & Water Act improvements - work force reduced to 1600 people

1970 Berlin pop.= 15256

1970 Brown Co. Woods crew is reduced to less than 100 - most cutting is sub-contracted

1980 Brown Co. Mills purchased by James River

1992 Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge is established

1992 Berlin commissions "Cornerstone Project" to explore revitalization options major tourism study facilitates evolution of Heritage Park concept

1994 Crown Vantage is spun-off from James River Corp.

1996 Replacement of Rt. 26 bridge in Errol includes trail underpass, spectator walkways and improvements to rapids for whitewater activity


Bethel, ME

by: Aaron Esker

Ted Constantine

Rob Davis

Jesse Rounds

Anna Israelson

Mid-1700’s Strolling bands of Indians from Canada would come down the river to hunt and fish since salmon and trout abounded in the river. The Indians became acquainted with the early settlers.

1768 The township of Sudbere Canada (its original spelling, later changed to "Sudbury Canada") was granted. It was a plot of land on both sides of the Androscoggin river where present-day Bethel is situated.

Mid-1770’s First permanent white settlers moved onto the nutrient-rich land of the floodplain (intervale land). The main settlement was slightly down-river of the present-day location of Bethel.

1774 First mills in Bethel were erected by Joseph Twitchell on Mill Brook (a tributary to the Androscoggin). The location of these saw and grist mills came to be the center of Bethel because of it’s access to water power. Used by all settlers i n the area. Surveyors extended the town limits so that the town included seventeen miles of the river whose banks were covered with white pine. Early settlers sold the white pine at the rate of $2.50 per thousand. Poplar was used for making paper.

1775-1800 Water powered saw mill erected to supply lumber to build the town. Previous buildings were erected with whole timbers.

1700’s (Late) Farming is the main industry; concentrated in 40 acre plots along the river. Logging and lumber production in this region were purely for personal consumption.

1781 Indian raid of Sudbere Canada frightens population. Petition Boston to send a garrison of soldiers.

1782 Samuel Barker runs the first ferry across the river.

1782-1785 First permanent settlers moved on to the interval (floodplain) land.

1785 Huge flood destroyed many home sites along the river, which forced many settlers up onto higher, less valuable, 100 acre plots of land.

1796 Bethel was incorporated as a town.

1798 Regional school-house placed in Bethel.

Mid-1800’s The presence of the railroad shoots Bethel into the heart of the tourism industry by making it more accessible to summer vacationers, who stay for the whole summer. The railroad connects visitors to nearby Whittier & Washington M ountains and regional lakes for recreation. This is what allows Bethel’s success to continue into the future.

1814 Joseph Twitchell conver�°ted the sawmill into a carding and clothing mill.

1815 First Post Office established in Bethel.

1816 Middle Intervale Church built; oldest standing church in the area (still standing today).

1830’s The "Gold Era" of agricultural prosperity. At this point in Bethel’s history the main focus was on subsistence farming. Later contact with external markets shifted the focus to trade, industry, and tourism.

1832-1836 Dr. Moses Mason’s Canal system. A transportation route from the upper Androscoggin. river valley to the coastal markets. Plans were made for the production of canal system to connect

1833 Bethel House, the first hotel, was built on the western edge of the commons in Bethel Hill. This began the era of tourism.

Mid-1830’s Growing population produces a need to supplement the agriculturally-based economy. Many turn to aspects of the logging industry, which provides a new source of wealth for many Bethelites, especially in the winter seasons. Logging was mostly done North and West of Bethel in smaller towns, from where the logs were floated past Bethel on the river and its tributaries on their way to coastal towns.

1836 Dr. Moses Mason establishes the Androscoggin Canal and Mill Corp., which proposed to connect Bethel to Portland by a direct river route via canals.

1836 Gould Academy established.

1839 A toll bridge was built across the river at Barker’s ferry. It was carried away the next winter.

1840’s (early) Potato famine in Ireland brought many Irish workers into the area, mostly to work on the railroad.

1843 The part of the Bethel settlement located on the Northern bank of the river seperates to form Hanover, because of difficulties in traversing the river.

1851 St. Lawrence Rail road comes to town. This creates the tourist industry with a short ride to Mount Washington.

1851 The St Lawrence Railroad connects Bethel to Portland and continues up to Montreal. This cancles all plans for canals, and greatly reduces reliance upon the river for transportation of goods and services. The major industries center around the r ailroad instead of the river. The presence of the railroad shoots Bethel into the heart of the tourism industry by making it more accessible to summer vacationers, who stay for the whole summer. The railroad connects visitors to nearby Whittier & Wa shington Mountains and regional lakes for recreation. This is what allows Bethel’s success to continue into the future.

1853 The first guidebook of Maine was published, strongly featuring Bethel as a center for tourism and recreation, and praising the area for its scenic beauty.

1860 Population of Bethel reaches 2523. Largest population at any time. Mills were established on Mill Brook and Carter Brook because the Androscoggin in this region has insufficient flow to power the wheels.

early 1860’s Even during the war, the area supported active tourism.

1860’s A steam mill was built near the mouth of the Sunday River for the manufacture of lumber. It later burned and was never rebuilt.

1863 A steam-powered mill was constructed just outside of town along the railroad. Used water from the river to drive the steam powered machines that made dowels and wooden spools. Originally boilers were fueled by wood.

1869 First covered bridge constructed out of wood. It connected Mayville and South Bethel, and replaced the existing river ferry system.

1860’s & 70’s Rich tourists start buying homes built in the hills around Bethel in the early 1800’s.

1870 Agriculture began a slow decline because of Westward migration and a focus on urban development.

1870’s People moved out of Bethel because increased urban development provided more employment opportunities in larger cities. Westward migration also drew people out of the area, in hopes of better agricultural lands. For these reasons, and be cause many people were working in local industries, agricultural production slowed.

1880 Steam-powered mill that produced staves made of Birch erected near the railroad crossing. It used water from the river.

1886 Chair mill constructed near Main St., building rebuilt in 1898, and mill-operated until 1996. Well-known quality and design; entirely furnished the Poland Hotel.

1888-1893 Androscoggin Steamboat Company operates two side-paddle wheeled boats (the Pioneer and North Star), providing freight and passenger service between Bethel and Rumford Falls. Passenger service was largely motivated by tourism; �&a elig; freight included lumber and finished goods. Blasting was only done once, down-stream, at Newry Corner.

Late-1880’s Alpheus Bean, an important farmer, operated a large steam mill for manufacture of lumber and making dowels, boxes, and other useful articles.

1891-1904 Wild River logging company hired Bethelites to extensively log north of Bethel for pulp materials; sent past Bethel to paper factories down-river. Stimulated by the growth in paper companies, log drives increased in size and number. This c reated a new connection between Bethel and the outside world.

1901-1910 Brick-making factory operated on Otter Brook in East Bethel, provided chimney and building bricks for homes in the area. Got clay for hand-made bricks from Otter Brook.

1920’s Maine’s Chamber of Commerce promotes tourism in Bethel as the "Gateway to Maine."

1924 First snow-machine used in Bethel.. called the "Snow Boat."

1927 Androscoggin floods destroys the covered bridge. A new, steel bridge was then constructed, in part to accommodate pulp trucks.

1931 Oxford Paper Co. sends last pulp wood drive down-river past Bethel. Wood logged from locations North of Bethel.

1932-1938 International Paper Co. runs log drives past Bethel. Because of the large quantity and the small size of these pulp logs, Bethelites have to use skis all summer long to work and get across the logs.

1932-38 International Paper company runs log drives.

1936 Another major flood, which washed out the railroad tracks east of Bethel Station.

1940’s Winter tourism begins, as local areas become used for skiing.

1941 Pipeline developed from Montreal to Portland bisecting Bethel, transports oil inland from the coast.

1941 Population of Bethel: 2,034.

1950’s A fire on the river near Rumford Falls due to pollution from the paper mills. This forces all communities along the river to support clean-up efforts.

1959 Sunday River opens. Increased winter tourism.

1970’s Tourism is still busier in the summer months than during the winter. Bethel remains a central location for tourism and recreation in Western Maine.

1987 Largest and most destructive flood in the history of the Androscoggin. P.H. Chadbourne continues to lead lumber industry in Bethel.

Present Winter tourism is more important to the economy in the area. Bethel community loses business to Sunday River, because the resort provides everything the visitors need. Maine can't regulate pollution affecting the Androscoggin from New Hamp shire.


Rumford- and Mexico, ME

Carlisle Tuggey

Joshua Evans

Nicolas Volk

Sean Cranmer

Zhaleh Maguire

February 3, 1779- A town grant for Rumford is issued to Timothy Walker Jr. and associates to settle 36 families within 6 years.

1780 A grist mill dam, the first in Rumford, was built on Rumford corner by John Chandler.

1781 Project has failed, only a few families left in Rumford.

1792 Aaron Moore purchases the mill.

1796 David Moore takes over the mill as it is passed down through the family.

1800- David Abbott buys the mill and it becomes Abbott’s mill.

February 21, 1800 The town of Rumford is officially incorporated, with a population of 252 (mostly farmers).

1821 Putnam’s Ferry was placed on the river in order to transport people across the Androscoggin. The ferry remained for over 100 yrs.

1846 A vote was conducted as to whether money and labor should be spent to create and support a town farm in order to feed the town poor.

1850 By this date the population at Rumford is 1,375 persons (comprised mostly of farmers). 1859 The town farm was approved by vote.

September 8, 1870 Town meeting votes to give Lieutenant John Chandler $400 to build a saw mill on the Concord (Androscoggin) river near the Rumford Falls.

1882 Hugh J. Chisholm first visits the Rumford falls and comes up with his dream to exploit the river.

1883 Study by engineer J. Herbert Shedd of Providence, R.I. Reports the Rumford falls is 163’ in length, with an above falls drainage area of 2,320 sqr. Miles. A dam built at the falls would provide a minimum of 35,000 horse power.

October 4, 1888 The saw mill and grist mill are completed, water diverted from falls along wooden flumes to power mills.

1882-1890 By this date there were only a few hundred people left in Rumford due to a mass exodus caused by the gold rush in California.

1882-1890- Chisholm and associates George N. Fletcher of Detroit and Charles D. Brown of Boston set about buying all the land in Rumford and planning out the future town down to even the street names. Their plan looks very similar to present day Ru mford. Gained riparian rights to the falls by purchasing all lands on both sides.

1890 The Rumford falls Power company was founded by Chisholm and associates, after

acquiring about 1,400 acres of land, enough for riparian rights.

1890 Hundreds of logs are caught on the falls during a drastic period of low water.

August 25, 1890 Work is begun clearing land and making roads for construction of a dam over the falls.

1891 The middle dam head gates and canal were completed.

1892 The railroad reaches Rumford, a Chisholm enterprise.

1892 Hugh Chisholm and associates establish Rumford falls Light and Water Company the first hydroelectric plant on the "Great Falls".

1893 The Rumford Falls Paper company produced 60 tons of paper per day.

1898 International Paper Company is founded by Chisholm bringing 20 different paper mills together in one large company, including the Oxford Paper Company of Rumford.

1899 The Continental Paper Bag Company is started with a mill in Rumford.

1899 The Oxford Paper Company is founded by Hugh Chisholm and certified by the State of Maine and a mill is built in Rumford to produce high quality paper.

1900 Rumford is firmly established as one of America’s great pulp and paper centers. Complaints about the odor as a result of the plant arise.

1901 The Rumford Realty Company, starts building houses on the side of the river across from the mills for the growing population which was the beginning of Mexico.

1902 Oxford Paper Company is manufacturing 3 million postal cards a day.

1906 The International Paper Company was producing 190 tons of paper a day. The Oxford Paper company was producing 125 tons of finished paper a day with 900 workers.The Continental Paper Bag Company was producing 48 million bags a day. The sulphit e mill was producing 130 tons of pulp a day. The ground wood mill produced 100 tons of ground wood pulp a day.

1912 Hugh J. Chisholm dies at the age of 65 and his 26 year old son, also named Hugh J. Chisholm takes over the Oxford Paper Company.

1913 The Maine Coated Paper Company is established in Rumford in the southern end of the Oxford Paper mill.

1920 The Rumford population is 8,675. Oxford paper company produced 250 tons of paper a day.

1927 A large flood disrupts the town.

1930 Oxford paper company produced 350 tons of paper a day.

1936 The Oxford company buys the property and water rights to the Continental Paper and Bag company.

1936 The Androscoggin strikes back, flooding the town of Rumford and all its factories.

1941 The Maine Sanitary Water Board conducted a study on the sources and extent of pollution along the Androscoggin.

1941 It was determined that 90% of the pollution along the Androscoggin came as a result of the paper mills. After these results the mills lagooned the water coming out of the mills during low periods of the rivers flow. These measures practically eliminated all offensive odors according to towns people who did not further complain.

1942 The firm Metcalf and Eddy of Boston published the report of the Sanitary Water Board, it was found that "obnoxious odors emanated from the river during warm months".

1942 After many complaints the attorney general of the state of Maine initiated legal action against the paper mills in an attempt to curb the amount of industrial waste dumped into the river.

1950 The population of Rumford is approximately 12,710 and sewage is untreated.

1953 A new power station is built upstream from the Oxford Paper mill.

1953 The Hardwood Kraft Bleach plant is built in competition to the Oxford mill, dumping a large amount of pollution into the river.

1954 The Rumford Point Ferry, known up until the late 1800’s as Putnam’s Ferry, came to an end and a three span bridge allowed townsfolk to cross the river for free, unlike the $0.25 charge for the ferry.

1956 William H. Chisholm becomes president of the Oxford Paper company as his father Hugh Jr. Retires after 44 years of service.

1960-1967 Approximately 1,000 tons of paper is produced per day form the Oxford mill.

1967 The Oxford company merged in 1967 with the Ethyl Corporation, a multinational corporation from Virginia that produced gas, chemicals, and oil.

1976 The Boise Cascade corporation purchases the Rumford paper mill (Oxford Paper mill) from the Ethyl corporation.

1996 Boise Cascade, the Rumford mill and accompanying woodlands is sold to the Mead Corporation of Dayton Ohio, the present owner


Jay and Canton, ME

Jenn Glassman

Katie Norton

Mike Lennon

Christian Stallkamp

1773:First division of plots was made, done in Boston (84 plots in total)

1774:second division of lots occurred

1793:Tavern on Jay Hill constructed

1795: February 26- township of Jay est., Previously referred to as "Phips, Canada"

1800: People began to settle in Jay

1814: first postmaster in Jay-James Starr II (also served as local judge, lawyer, banker, and surveyor of lands)

1821: Act to divide Jay and canton into separate towns-(1/3) of Jay became Canton on February 5.

1839: First town meeting in Canton on March 28

1839: First sawmill built at Jay bridge built by Francis Lawrence and Thomas Winslow

1843: 'freshet' (floods) carried first sawmill away

1844: mill rebuilt by Noyes and Lawrence--which later burned and water rights were bought by Alvin Record who began the paper and pulp industry in Jay

1845: Union meeting house built in N. Jay (Universalists and Methodists)

1850: mills burn down

1857: Railroad reached Jay

1865: Free Baptist Church built

1871: Alvin Record purchased small building below mill hill to produce leatherboard (heavy type of cardboard used for books)

1872: lumber steal mill for sawing and grinding built by Hutchinson and Lane

1873: Long lumber stream mill built above Jay Village

1873: Church services held at Jay Bridge

1874: Long lumber stream mill above Jay Bridge burned

1877: Record purchased building and water rights of Rockomeka Company located near former Livermore Falls Municipal Building -- built dam across river, built a small building for a pulp mill, and expanded his manufacturing of leatherboard

1880: sawing and grinding steam mill built in 1872, purchased by R.H. Thompson

1881: Hugh Chisolm built a dam just above Record's dam, built small one machine mill to produce paper-mill known as Umbagog mill

1881: Record bought former Lawrence and Winslow sawmill, gristmill, and water rights at Jay, built new dams -- had a pulp mill and two paper machines at site of present IPCO Jay Power Plant.

1884: sawing and grinding steam mill built in 1872, purchased by R.H. Thompson burned

1884: North Jay granite Co. est. on Androscoggin (went into the making of several famous architectural structures.

1885: Chisholm now had two machines, a pulp mill in operation, and had made building larger.

1887: Chisholm kept up competition with Record by buying water rights and sawmill at Otis Falls.

1888: Mr. Chisholm contracted to build the Otis mill in southern part of Jay

1890: Schoolhouse built at Jay Bridge (schoolhouse had been on the Lawrence farm prior to the building of one at Jay Bridge)

1891: Jay paper company was organized by Mr. Record who put in 2 paper machines at the sight of pulp mill in Jay Bridge. Mr. Record was president of company

1893: New church at bridge built

1894: St. Rose Catholic Church built

1896: Chisholm gained/bought the bankrupted Falmouth mill at Jay, and the leatherboard mill from Record

1896: New dam made at Peterson's Rips

1896: Otis Falls Paper company took over Jay paper company

1897/98: new, large pulp mill built with 13 grinders --known as "Riley Mill"

1898: Otis Falls Paper co. became part of International Paper company

1904: started construction on new large pulp mill on Livermore mill

1905: construction of new steam plant, sulfite mill, and paper machine room at Otis Mill during a big expansion move.

1907: Jay Wood Turning co. (at Jay Bridge) replaced the burned long lumber stream mill

1907: corn factory built and operated by Tomlinson of Portland-- handled products from local agriculture- apples, squash, corn

1908: Livermore Mill construction finished and ground pulp pumped through large pipeline up to Otis Mill

1912: Branch Line of Rumford railways-ran from Canton on s. side of river connecting with at Livermore Falls and the stations at Canton, riley, and Jay Bridge

1912: Falmouth mill at Jay dismantled. Rebuilt new dam and Jay Power Plant was built to provide hydro-electric power for Riley and Otis Mills

1913: Larger cylinder for manufacturing of wrapping and headboard materials from the mill's waste pulp and paper. (until 1966 when it went "off-line")

1930s: stopped floating wood down to other mills by IPCO

1935: Granite Quarries closed

1936: large flood damaged riverside mills and factories

1940s: (early) public refused to tolerate the pollution: the river gave off hydrogen sulfide gases and discolored exposed metal and paint.

1941: total number of grinders up to 16, and 20 wet machines

1942: report on river's pollution presented to Maine Sanitary Waste Board in February. "The pollution responsible for the objectionable conditions of the river derived from industrial wastes and municipal sewage discharges w/o treatment. Few streams in the US of comparable size showed evidence of such extreme pollution." Estimated industrial discharge into river was equivalent to that from a population of 2,411,500.

1940s(since 1940s): Both industrial and municipaliities have constructed

treatment plants which treat waste before it is discharged into the river.

1963: International Paper co. built in Riley

1965: IPC opened Androscoggin Mill

1971: Water treatment plant built discharged water in Seven Mile Stream

1973: Last sheet of groundwood -- went to "free sheet" paper production

1987: Another disasterous flood plagues Jay's Industries


Turner, Greene and Leeds, ME

David Pasco

Ethan Miller

Marco Donadio

Robert Larkin

Susannah Canfield

Underlining signifies event of significant environmental influence

1768 Pejebscot Proprietors granted tract of land including area now known as Greene to Moses Little. (Jan. 28) Area first known as Littleborough, then renamed

Greene after General Nathaniel Greene.

1768 Township of Turner (then called Sylvester-Canada) was granted, by the Province of Massachusetts Bay, to the heirs of Captain Joseph Sylvester and his company of soldiers that led a campaign against Indians in Canada in 1690. (June 20)

1768 First meeting of proprietors in Turner. A committe was established to divide the land into lots, determine the locations of roads, and draft a general plan for settlement. (July).

1770 Road construction began in Turner. First tier of lots laid out along the river north of the Auburn line (20 lots).

1770 Due to illegal cutting by vagabond loggers of the white pines which grew abundantly along the shore of the Androscoggin, Turner held a meeting to determine how control over the trees could be maintained. French (1887) indicates that the tres passers also "cut hay on the meadows" in the township.

1771 To encourage settlement in Turner, a bounty was offered by proprietors committee to each settler who would take a lot and clear five acres by November 1, 1772.

1773 First settlement of the land in Turner. The settlers chose the high lands ("Upper Street") for the first crops.

1775 Benjamin Ellingwood first resident to build home in Greene.

1775 Each proprietor was assigned a lot, settlement continued. The settlement was then called "Sylvester Town" (present day Turner).

1775 First mill built in Turner by Samuel Blake for sawing boards and for "grinding corn and grain"(French 39).

1777 First apple trees planted in Turner by Joseph Leavitt

1780 Turner contained twenty-five families and twelve unwed young men.

1782 First Sylvester Town meeting house built.

1785 First sawmill built in Greene at falls of Little Sabattus Stream (the present day lower end of the Dead River), by William Sprague.

1785 Large flood of the river in Turner. The first mill was destroyed

(and subsequently rebuilt).

1786 First public school organized in Greene.

1786 Sylvester Town name changed to Turner in honor of Charles

Turner, one of the original (disceased) influential proprietors.

1788 First road accepted to be built in Greene. (Sept. 18)

1788 First school in Turner. This was a private school taught by Arthur Bradman.

1790 First public school in Turner.

1790 John Jennings built the first saw mill in Leeds, mainly for him and his family, but it was also used by several neighbors.

1790 Census for Greene shows 639 people living within the town.

1792 Jacob Keen hung the first tavern sign in Turner.

1793 First church formed in Greene by Elders Potter (Aug. 10)

1793 Mail highway from Portland to Augusta, through Greene opened.

1794 Greene votes to build bridge across stream by Sprague’s Mills. (April 7)

1794 Second grist mill built, by William Sprague.

1796 First post office in Androscoggin County established in Greene (April 1)

1798 -First mill built on the Nezinscot River by Nathaniel Robertson (on the south bank).

1800 First oil-mill built in Turner. Flax seed, produced in abundance by the local farmers, was here converted into oil. This mill was also used for carding wool.

1800 First Turner dam built on the Androscoggin by Caleb Gilbert (for a grist-mill).

1801 Leeds incorporated as a town in Maine. First town meeting held, about money for schools and highways. (April 6)

1804 Second saw mill built in Leeds, by Thomas Mitchell, Elias and Peter Lane.

1804 First Turner post office.

1806 Large flood. Destroyed the first Turner dam.

1807 River Road built in Turner.

1807 Vote made in Leeds to petition general court to build canal between Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers. (March 9)

1809 Strip 160 rods wide along line annexed to Leeds from Monmouth.

1810 Beech-Hill section set off from Leeds and annexed to Wayne.

1814 First grist mill built in Leeds, by Andrew Cushman.

1814 Large flood in Turner. Destroyed the mills (which were later rebuilt).

1815 Bridge across the Nezinscot river was built.

1816 Second grist built in Leeds, by Eben Mason

1816 stage coach line established in Greene on post road between Portland and Augusta.

1817 A. Cushman built a saw mill in Leeds.

1822 First post office established in Leeds, at Lothrop’s Corner.

1828 The North Turner bridge was built over the Androscoggin. This bridge connected Turner with Leeds.

1831 The second (and current) town meeting house was built in Turner.

1834 East Turner bridge planned.

1835 The town of Turner decided to move the mills, previously located

upstream from the bridge, to the shore below the bridge. This reclaimed valuable land that had been flooded by the dam.

1835 -East Turner bridge was built and opened.

1835 1839 Large ice freshet. Destroyed both Turner bridges. Both bridges

were rebuilt in the summer. (January 26)

1845 Large flood in Turner.

1848 Charter obtained to build a railroad in Leeds. (August 10)

1849 completion of Androscoggin and Kennebec railroad running through Greene.

1850 orcharding begins to become major industry in Greene.

1850-1851 Androscoggon railroad built through Leeds to Livermore Falls.

1856 Wide spread fires across the area in Turner; many mills destroyed. The cause of the fires were unknown.

1857 Suitable property for a Greene town farm aquired. (March)

1860 -Population of Turner at its peak with 2,682 persons.

1863 Large flood. Destroyed East Turner bridge.

1868 1874 Town of Leeds votes that any corporation or individual investing more than 3000 dollars in manufacturing carried on by steam or water power would be exempt from taxes for ten years.

1874 The North Turner Cheese Factory founded. From the community, 2,648 pounds of milk were sent there each day. In the first year of operation, 8 tons of cheese was produced. By 1885, 35 tons of cheese being made each year.

1876 Cylcone hit Greene. Uprooted trees, destroyed buildings, wrecked the Turner Center bridge. Debris were removed from the river in August, but the bridge was not rebuilt. (July 14) Soon after destruction of bridge, Mabury’s ferry establis hed operating until 1894.

1879 Turner wool factory built. This plant processed 200-300 pounds of

wool per year.

1882 The Turner Center Dairying Association was created for the

"manufacture of butter, cheese, and evaporated apples."

1886 Turner was in a economic boom. The Lewiston Evening Journal

reported that "business is lively here; there are no idle men here."

1888 Manufacture of cheese was abandoned in Turner. The cheese factory was converted into the Turner Center Creamery and operated at a capacity of about 1,000 pounds of cream per day.

1891 A.S. Ricker’s apple farm (in Turner) yielded 1,300 barrels of apples.

1894 Iron bridge constructed on old abutments of East Turner bridge.

1896 Spring flooding of Androscoggin destroys East Turner bridge. (March)

1897 East Turner bridge rebuilt.

1903 Turner-Auburn train line established.

1908 Lewiston, Greene and Monmouth Telephone Company founded, giving Greene telephone service.

1921 Electricity from Lewiston Power Plant extended into Greene. (March 1)

1923 Gulf Island Dam construction begun (Auburn).

1936 Flooding of Androscoggin causes East Turner bridge to be destroyed. (March)

1937 East Turner bridge rebuilt on higher abutments to prevent flood damage.


Lewiston, ME

Abbigail Cohan

Claire Donohue

Emily Clark

Ken Kokoszka

This timeline focuses on events related to the Union Water Power Company and to development of the canal system that distributed water to the Mills in the city of Lewiston. Special thanks to UWPC, who generously provided access to their archives to student researchers.

1620 The first European explorers came up the Androscoggin to the point where Lewiston is currently situated. At that time, Lewiston was a large Native American village.

1628 Thomas Purchase set up a fur trading post where Lisbon is now located

1768 Jonathan Bagley and Moses Little, land developers from Massachusetts, are issued a land grant along the eastern side of the Androscoggin River

1770 Paul Hildreth, the first settler, built a cabin on the bank of the Androscoggin River

1790 the population of the settlement reached 532

1795 Lewiston is officaly incorporated as a town

1797 The General Court of Lewiston incorporated Michael Little, the son of Moses Little, and associates as the Ten Mile Falls Canal Company.

1800 Lewiston’s population reached 948

1819 A woolen mill was built by Michael Little.

1834 The Lewiston Falls Manufacturing Company was incorporated.

1836 The manufacturing of cotton warps and batting was started by Ephraim Wood in a structure built close to the falls.

1836 (February) Ambitions to develop along the river was seen in the vision of The Great Androscoggin Falls, Dam, Lock, and Canal Company. The Company was incorporated primarily by the Little entrepreneurial family.

1836 Solomon Dennison proposed to make a boat canal from Lewiston Falls directly to tidewater at Freeport. All attempts to canal, supplement, and otherwise adapt the Androscoggin for transportation failed because of the number, height ,and length o f the falls.

1837 A survey of land in Lewiston was preformed to plan the building of canals and dams. Thomas Purchase created a basic street plan for the city of Lewiston.

1840-50 The population in Lewiston grew from 1,810 to 4,854

1844 I.A. Beard, a civil engineer, was hired to create a series of canals

Joseph Harding, Ephraim Wood’s successor, added three looms to a previous building built close to the Lewiston Falls, thus becoming the first in Lewiston to produce cotton cloth.

1845 Lewiston Falls Cotton Mill Company was incorporated by Edward Little, John Frye, Alonzo Garcelon, James Lowell, Daniel Briggs, and others; began to construct a mill.

1845 The Great Androscoggin Falls, Dam-lock, and Canal Company was reorganized as Lewiston Water Power Company.

1845 Lewiston Water Power Company bought out Lewiston Falls Cotton Mill Company. They acquired legal control of the Androscoggin River and rights of development.

1845 Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad line was chartered by the Maine Legislature to run from Portland to Montreal.

1846 The Lewiston Falls Cotton Mill Company mill went into operation

1846-1850 Lewiston Water Power Company made additions to their real estate.

1847 The Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad linked Lewiston with the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad

1848 Lewiston Water Power Company owned most of the land, the mill sites along the river, and power rights. Benjamin Bates and Thomas Hill (along with others from the LWPC) began forming their own companies and leased power rights to these mills fro m LWPC.

1850 Bates Company charter of incorporation

1850 Hill Company charter of incorporation

1850-1865 The construction of the canal system (upper, lower, and three cross canals)

1850 The first section of the upper canal completed in May

!851-1853 The upper canal was extended past the Hill and Androscoggin Mills

1852 The first Bates Mill was erected, it primary products being woolen goods

!854 Bates Mill No. 2 is built

!854 Hill Mill was erected and produced cotton goods

!854 Arkwright Company chartered, but did not manufacture and goods, until reorganized as the Androscoggin Company

!854 Franklin Water Power Company was chartered by Benjamin Bates to develop power on the Little Androscoggin River

!854 Frankilin Company purchased all of the effects of the Lewiston Water Power Company

1855 The Porter Mill was built

1856: Franklin Company bought all of the effects of Lewiston Water-Power Company. Franklin Company now possessed the company and a greater portion of unoccupied land around the falls. Franklin Company also owned the mills and their sites.

1857: Transfer of capital from Lewiston Water Power Company to Franklin Water Power Company. This reorganization gave the Frankiln Company an inital capital of $1,000,000

1859 The first Androscoggin Mill was built

1860-1870 Population increased by 80%, from 7,424 to 13,600, mostly do to the influx of French-Canadians

1860 Lewiston Bleachery was chartered

1860 The Androscoggin Company formed from a reorganization of the Arkwright company.

1861 Androscoggin Company began operating its first mill that was built in 1859

1861 Lewiston incorporated as a city on March 15

1861 Franklin Company formally gave the city of Lewiston land between Bates, Park, Pine, and Spruce streets to be used as a public park September 18

1861 The Androscoggin Railroad line was extended to pass through Lewiston

1863 Bates Mill No. 3 built

1864 Hill Manufacturing Company’s second mill was built

1864 Benjamin Bates, and others, bought cotton at 12 cents per pound at the beginning of the Civil War, which was worth $1 per pound by 1865

1865 The Continental Mill formed as the Benjamin Bates group purchased the older Porter Mill, expanding their assets.

1865 The Bates Company paid $5258 in municipal taxes, 25% of the city's tax bill. And together the Franklin, Bates and Hill Companies accounted for over half of Lewiston's tax receipts.

1867 The second part of the Androscoggin Mill was built

1872 the third part of the Androscoggin Mill was completed

1877 The City of Lewiston bought a pumping station at the head of the canal, and power rights from the Franklin Company. The Franklin Company, in return, purchased the Richardson Lake Dam property, and thereby gained control of the headwaters. This control insured that the city of Lewiston and the Franklin company had regular flow of water.

1878 The creation of the Union Water Power Company was organized by proprietors of the Franklin company on September 18 with a capital stock of $400,000

1881 Bates Mill No. 4

1900's Textile Mills were faced with financial trouble

1920's Samuel and Martin Insull purchased small public utilities throughout New England

1925 Martin Insull bought controlling interest of Central Maine Power (CMP) from Walter S. Wyman

Insull created the New England Public Services Company, NEPSCO, and named Wyman president.

1927 NEPSCO bought the Edwards Mill in Augusta, Maine

1928 NEPSCO bought the Androscoggin Mill

1929 NEPSCO bought the Hill Mill in May

1929 NEPSCO bought theBates Manufacturing Company in July; gained controlling interest in Union Water Power Company

1929 Lewiston textile mills had lowered in value by $500,000

1930 649 rayon looms wer installed in the Androscoggin Mill; become one of the largest rayon producers in the world

1932 Insull’s empire was destroyed

1932 Maine Mill’s continued operation under the direction of Edward G. Buxton

1937 Wyman resumed power over the Maine mills

1938 Robert Braun managed the Maine Mills

1945 NEPSCO dissolved its holdings in accordance with the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935

1956 the Androscoggin Mill closed

1957 The York Mill, in Saco, closed

1971 The Hill Mill closed

1971 Edwards Mill, in Augusta, closed

1979 Report on the hydroelectric development of Red Shop Weir is performed indicating the conditions of the weir


Durham, ME

Carlin Aloe

Frederick Brown

Greg Shyloski

Nicole Rom

Peter Beeson

Story Reed

1761, Nov. 14 David Dunning purchased square miles of land for 33 pounds six to be laid out as a town to be named Royalsborough.

1763 First log cabin was built.

1765 Town officially named Royalsborough (Durham).

1766 First saw mill constructed.

1766 Jonathan Bagley and Moses Little were appointed a committee to lay out a road and build a log house for the settlement; the proprietors often made such improvements to persuade settlers to purchase lots.

1767 96 lots were surveyed, and 62 of them were reserved to promote settlement.

1768 the proprietors appointed Jonathan Bagley, Moses Little and Belcher Noyes as a committee to attract settlers.

1770 First ten deeds were granted.

1770 O. Israel Bagley opened the first general store, just south of where the Bagley Inn stands today. These general stores were community-gathering spots, where gossip, political argument and exchanges of work were shared.

1774 First town meeting of the Royalsborough residents for public business.

1775-1783 During the Revolutionary War the settlement provided 19 soldiers, and managed to raise money to provide bounties and care for soldiers' families. At least 34 of the founding settlers were veterans of the war.

1785 The plantation was divided into two school districts.

1789 The General Court on Feb. 17, voted to establish a town named Durham. It often happened that names would thus be arbitrarily chosen. The Town of Durham was incorporated; population was estimated at 700 based on a petition listing 70 families.

1790 Town voted to have six school districts, each with its one-room school. The townspeople preferred schools to which children could walk, which could be maintained by people working off taxes, and which could be served by one poorly paid teacher .

1790 Hire the services of a Congregational minister; the Rev. Jacob Herrick stayed until 1828.

1798 The General Court in passed the Betterment Act, requiring the owners to sell to the squatters at a low price or to repay them for their improvements -clearing land, building homes, making log roads. About forty settlers then purchased their deeds a dollar or so an acre.

1799 First ferry used to cross the Androscoggin River (Dain’s Ferry).

1801 First school house. Later used to manufacture yokes, plows, and axe-handles.

1810 Second ferry in use.

1811 Flood partially carries away the toll bridge.

1812 During the War of 1812, the town organized two companies to guard against British threats to the coast. Durham provided 161 soldiers for the War of the Rebellion (as the Civil War was known in the north), of whom 21 died in service. The town co ntributed as much for bounties and soldiers' welfare as for all its other expenses — not an easy thing for a poor town of its size.

1814 Flood swept away or damaged 21 sawmills.

1817 Bridge built to replace ferries.

1818 Two bridges were built, one at Lisbon Falls and one near the Bend. Both were swept away by freshets.

1820 Oak bark was used in tanneries to turn cow hides into leather, and that leather was made into harness and shoes. Shoemaking was a substantial cottage industry; men and women worked on patterns and lasts provided out of Lynn factories from Massa chusetts. At the height of the shoe industry, more than 300 men and women were employed in small shops of usually 5 or 6 workers. Farms provided milk and vegetables to families in other towns.

1837-1842 Durham Steam Co. grind grain and card wool. Also produced Plaster of Paris, processed lumber and cotton and worked with iron and steel.

1846 Bridge carried away in flood and ferry service is instituted again.

1850 Population of Durham, 1,886.

1855 Part of town was called "Shoetown," nearly every house had a shop.

1870 Population of Durham, 1,350.

1886 Durham Agricultural Society was formed.

1890 There were thirteen school districts. Attempts to establish larger, two-room schools were again and again voted down as too expensive at town meetings.

1895 Wooden toll bridge between Lisbon Falls and Durham was replaced by an iron bridge.

1900 Population of Durham, 1,230.

1910 Population of Durham, 1,625.

1920 Durham was arranged into 4 separate settlement. There was Southwest Bend (where the school was), West Durham, East Durham and South Durham.

1920 Population of Durham, 1,114.

1920 At Durham's height as a commercial center, stores around the South Bend also included a milliners, a bakery, a hotel, a tavern, an apothecary, etc. People stopped in at their general store almost daily to pick up mail. With unanticipated cons equences, the RFD (Rural Free Delivery) mail service eliminated this commerce. Without people coming into town to pick up their mail, the small stores of Durham no longer could compete with shops in Freeport, Brunswick and Auburn.

1936 Flood carried away the iron bridge spanning the river between Lisbon Falls and Durham.

1940 Population of Durham, 784, perhaps due to the Great Depression. Many were still involved in agriculture; others were independently employed at home-based small businesses orchards, smithy, lumber sales, music-teaching, etc.

1947-1949 There were forest fires in the town.

1950 Durham Fire Department was founded.

1950 Population of Durham 1,050. The automobile made it possible to work in the busy cities and yet return home each day.

1960 A four-room consolidated school was established — the core of what is now Durham Elementary and Middle School.

1970 Population of Durham 1280.

1980 Population of Durham 2074.

1990 Population of Durham 2475.


Carlin Aloe

Frederick Brown

Greg Shyloski

Nicole Rom

Peter Beeson

Story Reed

1605 Spring the earliest voyage of discovery up the Androscoggin River by Captain George Weymouth.

1628 Thomas Purchase, settles at "Little River", then known as "Ten Miles Falls" as a fisherman. This area will become to be known as Lisbon Falls.

1683 Richard Wharton, bought the land from Thomas Purchase and expanded on a deed Purchase had made with six Indian Chiefs: Warumbee (Worumbo) Darumkme, Wihikermet, Wedon, Domhegon, Nechonogusset. However, he never settled in the area.

1787 First real settlers arrive in the area now know as Lisbon, such as the White Family, The Whitney’s. However, the Russel’s build the first house and Joseph the second.

1790-1800. Six saw mills are established along the bank of the Androscoggin in the area now know as Lisbon. These Mills process logs and then "team" them to Topsham for shipbuilding.

1799 On June 22, the area now known as Lisbon was incorporated under the name of Thompsonborough, named in honor of the Thompson family who were extremely large landowners in the area.

1800 The area sees its first labor trouble in the lumber mills from French Settlers who revolt against wealthy mill owners.

1802 Name of Thompsonborough or Thompsonville was changed to Lisbon on March 4.

1804 Abner Coombs built a sawmill on the Sabattus River.

1810 Population of Lisbon, 450. Wooden woolen mill was erected on the Sabattus River at Lisbon.

1812 The War of 1812. With the embargo, an economic depression follows the war and many of the lumber mills are abandoned or dispersed to other locations.

1814 The Androscoggin experiences a huge flood in the spring and 21 saw mills are swept away by the very power which attracted them there.

1818 The village now know as Lisbon Falls was originally established as Little River Village on December 14, 1818 and the name was changed to Lisbon Falls on February 20, 1865. A post office was established there in December; first bridge (a wooden toll bridge) was built linking Lisbon Falls with Durham across the Androscoggin River.

1827 Lisbon Falls, then called Little River had grown to be quite a "little Hamlet". This can be attested to by the fact that in this year 13 men and women in the village were licensed to sell liquor.

1840 Population of Lisbon, 1,100. A new town hall was constructed in Durham to replace Old North Meeting House.

1850 Population of Lisbon, 1,495.

1851 The Androscoggin Railroad, later operated by the Maine Central Railroad, commences operations through Lisbon.

1861 Edward Plummer and John G. Tebbets purchased territory along Androscoggin River known as Barker Estate (Estate was valuable because it comprised all the water power of the ten mile falls).

1861 John G. Tebbets and Edwrd Plummer, foreseeing the complextion of the Androscoggin Railroad and the excellent water of the area, charter with Oliver Moses to create a textile mill. The Railroad and the mill played an important part in the growth of the towns economy.

1864 Oliver Moses unites with these two men to exploit that waterpower; served as president of the company until his death in 1882.

1864 Creation of the famous/ infamous, Worumbo Mill. The Worumbo Mill gained fame or its manufacture of Sterling cloths of pure wool fine enough for the finest women’s gowns. Their cloth won several international prizes for their product.

1864 Worumbo Mill was incorporated in Lisbon Falls; Farnsworth Mill was constructed in Lisbon Center at the same site as the first sawmill made in 1804.

1865 Name of Little River Village was changed to Lisbon Falls on February 20. First German settlers arrive in Lisbon Falls. Also in this year, postal facilities, transportation, lodging, and fire protection become firmly established.

1865 Frank Guttman became superintendent of the mill and supervised it until 1918.

1867 N.W.Farwell bought what grew to be known as Farwell Mill.

1870 Population of Lisbon, 2,014.

1872 Farwell’s Cotton Mills were incorporated just above the Farnsworth Mill on the Sabattus.

1873 A work force of 170 was employed at the Worumbo Mill in Lisbon Falls. began to produce woolens, 120,00 yrds/yr, by using the power supplied by a cribwork dam on the Androscoggin.

1876 Worumbo Mill receives gold medal at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia for its fine wool cloth.

1884 A post office was established at Lisbon Center.

1889 Lisbon Falls Fibre Company was incorporated and used sulfite paper making process. Lisbon Paint Company was destroyed by fire.

1890 340 men and 110 women were employed at the Worumbo Mill in Lisbon Falls.

1893 Worumbo Mill receives its 2nd gold medal at the Centennial Exposition at Chicago.

1890’s Some important social movements and institution of the 1890’s include; the creation of Frost Park and Shiloh evangelist colony.

1895 Wooden toll bridge between Lisbon Falls and Durham was replaced by an iron bridge.

1898 The Lewiston, Brunswick and Bath Street Railway, later to be known as the Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville Street Railway, and as the Androscoggin and Kennebec Street Railway, commences operations through Lisbon and Lisbon Falls between Lewist on and Bath.

1900 Population of Lisbon, 3,603. Serious industrial river pollution recognized produced primarily from paper wills.

1901 The Great Fire of 1901. On April 6, 1901 the business section of Lisbon Falls was reduced to smoldering ashes. Only two stores remained standing in the entire village. The great flames destroyed thirty-one buildings. More than 50 families were left homeless. Total cost $200,000.

1912 Name of the Lisbon Falls High Fibre Company was changed to Pejepscot Paper Company.

1920 Population of Lisbon, 4,019.

1920 Worumbo Mill, addition was made to the original red brick building on either side of Canal Street.

1936 Iron Bridge between Durham and Lisbon Falls (route 9) across the Androscoggin River was carried away by floodwaters and replaced with a steel bridge built by the American Bridge Company. This was the second largest flood recorded.

1937 Trolley service between Bath and Lisbon Falls ended.

1940 Population of Lisbon, 4,123.

1941 Trolley service between Lisbon Falls and Lewiston ended. And fumes overwhelmed the public and there was call for clean up.

1942 Worumbo Mill honored with the Army and Navy Efficiency Award.

1948 Sodium nitrate was dumped into the river in Lewiston as an attempt to control the odor.

1950 Population of Lisbon, 4,318.

1956, July 29 Oliver Moses III notices that the textile industry was in a severe decline and his sons did not want to inherit the mill so Oliver Moses sold the mill to J.P. Stevens Company.

1960 The last log drives took place on the Androscoggin River.

1964 J.P. Stevens announced that the mill was closing (due to increase in productivity and decline in prices)

1964, September 23 Worumbo Mill closed (two months after Farnsworth Mill made a similar announcement.

1967 Herbert A. Miller, the president and owner of Max Miller Industries bought Farnsworth Mill in Lisbon Center.

1987 Huge flood on April 27.

1987, July 23 Disastrous fire puts an end to Worumbo Mill.

1989 Oil spill coming from two old railroad oil tankers located at Farwell Mill.


Brunswick, ME

Eric Potter

Heidi Vogel

Ian McMillon

Matthew Frizzell

Samuel Whitin

Timothy Campbell

There were two main sites that were used on the river. They were the Fort Andross Site (Cabot Mill) and the Bowdoin Mill site. This brief history breaks them up into two separate categories with the Fort Andross site coming first be cause it dates farther back.

Fort Andross Site

1688 Fort Andross is established and used as a trading post and meeting place.

1715 New fort, Fort George was built on site to be used as a trading post and protection against Indians.

1753-First dam built at this site. Dam built with wood which meant it was highly unstable.

1758 Fort George torn down at the end of the French and Indian wars.

1784 First bridge built. Like the early dams, the bridges were poorly crafted and tended to be destroyed easily.

1809 The first textile mill of the area, the Brunswick Cotton Manufacturing Company, was built and incorporated.

1812 The Maine Cotton and Woolen Company bought the Brunswick Cotton Manufacturing Co., and built a few new buildings. employed about 100 people in the production of cotton cloth, and woolen broadcloth.

1825 All the mills were destroyed by an enormous fire that originated in one of the mills. By the end of the fire 33 buildings had been destroyed.

- d by the Cabot Company. They built two large tenement house, and employed 500 employees.

1859 The Cabot Company installs a gas works that supplies gas for not only the lighting of the factory but also for the rest of the town.

1860 The Cabot Company constructs a new storehouse for cotton measuring 40í by 80í.

1865 The Cabot Company expands again. This time they build major additions to the east and west sides of the mill.

1875 The tenements are expanded and the number of people employed by the Cabot company is now 550.

1886 There was a flood so bad that water was flowing thorough the streets, and with it came typhoid and dysentery.

1887 A new building used for dye and carding works and bleachery is built. Employment now stands at a peak 795 people.

1890 Cabot Company gets the town of Brunswick to move Main street so they can build a new building for their mill.

1892 Construction of the new mill completed.

1894 Nine miles of sewage piping is completed. Which solved many problems. Prior to this there was no form of sewage containment or removal and Brunswick was like something out of the middle ages. This created an environment prone to epidemics. Wate r pumped from the river was one of the problems.

1896 The Cabot Company constructs three new waterwheels for their own power and the electric streetcars.

1899 A new dam is built.

1936 FLOOD!!

1942 Verney Manufacturing Corporation purchases the mill and produces rayon and other synthetics. It employed about 1,100 workers which was approximately 1/8th of the population.

1955 Varney closes.

1956 Lewis Industrial Co. becomes new owner and uses it for warehousing, light manufacturing, and recreation.

1986-Waterfront Maine becomes newest owner, and it is open for many mixed uses.


Bowdoin Mill site

1868 The Topsham Paper Company constructed a brick mill to produce paper from rag sheets. One machine in use for the production of paper.

1874 Company purchased by another owner and renamed Bowdoin Manufacturing Co.. The mill starts to use wood pulp and production is expanded to four machines.

1896 Another mill, the Pejopscot Paper Company, is built upstream.

1910 A pulp mill is constructed on the Cabot Co. property on the Topsham side of the dam.

1928 The Lisbon Falls division is closed.

1934 The Bowdoin Mill stops producing paper.

1936 The great flood destroys the pulp mill and severely damages the paper mill and offices.

1946 Mills purchased by the Hearst Publishing company who restart production.

1985 After a name change and many years of production all operations cease at the Bowdoin Mill.

Misc. sites

1780 The Pennell yard, founded by Captain William Pennell is built. Hundreds of ships were produced here.

1795 Two grain mills were in operation producing all the grain for the town and the surrounding area.

1800 The Skofield Brothers, employing as many as 100 workers, begin production of vessels, which they put out at an average of one per year.

1847 Completion of the railroad which ends the era of water transportation to the area.

1854 Grain mills cease production because it has now become cheaper to buy inexpensive grain from the west.

1870s Agriculture and maritime industry decline and play a much less important role in the community.

1880s No farmers in among the Brunswick selectmen.

Questions or Comments? Contact Jane Costlow, Environmental Studies Chair and Professor of Russian
102 Hathorn Hall, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, 04240
(207) 786-6289 · http://www.bates.edu/acad/depts/environ/projects
Last updated: 8/27/02, lwm