< Back

Wiscasset

  • 51 Bath Street Wiscasset, ME 04578

WISCASSET (Ind., meeting of three rivers), 60 m. (50 alt.; Wis- casset Town, 1,186 pop.), seat of Lincoln Co., is a ghost town with little more than half the population it had in 1850, when it was still a fairly important port on the west bank of the wide Sheepscot River. Its beautiful old homes, most of which were built by shipping mer- chants and sea captains, are now occupied in part by artists and writers who have been attracted by the distinctive charm of the place. Until 1802 the town, formerly much larger in area than it now is, was called Pownalborough in honor of Royal Governor Pownal. Settlement began here in the middle of the 17th century but the place was abandoned during King Philip's War and was not again occupied until 1730. US1crosses CARLTON BRIDGE built in 1927, which spans the Kennebec River. The bridge commands a sweeping view of the river, waterfront, and city. The Kennebec is one of the historic rivers of America. It was one of the earliest explored routes on the coast of North America; various adventurers had made fragmentary reports on it before 1600, and Ghamplain and Weymouth had explored it to some extent before 1606. It was named as one of the boundaries of various large land grants in the race between the French and the British for control of the continent. In the middle of August 1 607 George Popham and Raleigh Gilbert, commanding the expedition prompted by Sir Fernando Gorges and Sir John Popham, sailed up the river, passing the place now spanned by the bridge in their search for a site for the colony that was to send fur, sassafras, and other commodities back to England to make fortunes for the London investors. Two decades later it saw a steady stream of traffic to and from the trading settle- ment on the site of the present Augusta conducted by the "Under- takers" of Plymouth; the rich cargoes that came down its waters saved the Massachusetts settlement from extinction. Since that time the river has been the scene of continuous activity, of log-drives, ship launchings, commercial travel, power development, and, not least important, hunters' and fishermen's treks.