The Town of Brunswick is located in Cumberland County, Maine. At various times in its history, Brunswick has been a military garrison, a manufacturing center, a college town, and a magnet for retirees, among others. Its picturesque setting, rich history, ample cultural offerings, and the resources associated with Bowdoin College make Brunswick a distinctive, attractive community. The town occupies approximately 47 square miles, with a latitude of 43.914N, longitude of 69.965W, and elevation of 79 feet.
Settled in 1628 by fisherman Thomas Purchase and others, the area was first called by its Indian name, Pejepscot, meaning "the long, rocky rapids." In 1639, Purchase placed his settlement under protection of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1676, the town was burned and abandoned, although a garrison called Fort Andros (later known as Fort George) was subsequently built on the ruins. The Treaty of Portsmouth of 1713 temporary brought peace between the Abenaki Indians and the English settlements.In 1714, a consortium from Boston and Portsmouth bought the land, then called the Pejepscot Purchase. The Massachusetts General Court constituted the township in 1717, naming it Brunswick in honor of the House of Brunswick and its scion, King George I. On July 13, 1722, warriors from Norridgewock burned the village, and Gov. Samuel Shute declared war on the Abenakis. In 1724, 208 English troops left Fort Richmond and sacked Norridgewock during Dummer's War.
Brunswick was again rebuilt in 1727, and in 1739 incorporated as a town. Around the time of the American Revolution, planners laid out the major streets and tree-shaded village green that still constitute the center of town. Brunswick became a prosperous seaport, where Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794. The distinguished alumni of this liberal arts college include, among others, writers Hawthorne and Longfellow, Arctic explorers Peary and MacMillan, President Franklin Pierce, Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain and Olympic Gold medal marathon winner Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Lumber, Cotton, Confections
The Androscoggin River, which falls in three successive stages over a distance of 41 feet, provides significant water power for industry. In the 19th century Brunswick became a major producer of lumber, with as many as 25 sawmills, some of them serving shipbuilding.
The town was also the site of the first cotton mill in Maine, the Brunswick Cotton Manufactory Company, built in 1809 to make yarn. In 1812, the mill was enlarged by the Maine Cotton & Woolery Factory Company; and by 1820, when Maine separated from Massachusetts and became a state in its own right, Brunswick was a center of both the timber and textile industries. In 1857, the Cabot Manufacturing Company was established to make cotton textiles here. The company bought the failed Warumbo Manufacturing Company and expanded the brick factory (today known as Fort Andross - with two S's) along the falls. Needing even more room, in 1890 the company persuaded the town to move Maine Street!
Other firms produced paper, soap, flour, marble and granite work, as well as carriages and harness, plows, furniture, shoes and confections.Architecture
A great deal of money poured into this area between 1775 and 1900, and much of it was spent on the many fine houses that line the town's main streets and handsome Park Row. Today a number of Brunswick's historic districts are recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, to preserve shipbuilders' and sea captains' mansions built in the Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles.
The book Uncle Tom's Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe while she was living in Brunswick; she received a key vision for the book while sitting in a pew in the First Parish Church. Other distinguished residents have included Governors Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Bowdoin College graduate (who received General Lee's sword of surrender at Appomattox), Robert P. Dunlap and Angus King; Congressmen Joshua Herrick and Benjamin Orr; poet Robert P.T. Coffin; columnist John Thomas Gould; publisher George Palmer Putnam; sportscaster Dale Arnold; football player Will Montgomery and musician-producer Graeme K. and Joan Benoit Samuelson a graduate of Bowdoin College.
Facts and Figures
According to the most recent (2000) census, the town's population was just under 22,000, with a nearly 50-50 split by gender. Thirty-seven percent of residents were under the age of 25, thirty-six percent were over 45, and twenty-seven percent were between 25 and 44 (the average age was 38).
Of those in the work force, 33.1% were employed in management or professional occupations, 14.5% in service professions, 26.9 in sales and office professions, 8% in farming, fishing or forestry, 9.7% in construction, extraction and maintenance occupations, 15% in production, transportation or material moving, 1.2% worked in agriculture, forestry, fishing or hunting, 15.1 worked in manufacturing and 12.75% were employed by the local,
state or Federal government.
Principal employers for Brunswick include L.L. Bean, Bath Iron Works, Bowdoin College, as well as companies that produce fiberglass construction material and electrical switches. A number of health services providers serving Maine's mid-coast area are located here.
More recent information collected reveals that forty-three percent of Brunswick residents have moved here within the past ten years, while fifty-seven percent have been here for longer periods or were born here. The crime rate is extremely low.
Useful numbers for Town of Brunswick services.