Kennebec County Historical Events
is a list of the most important events in Augusta history published
Romance of Augusta, the city's sesquicentennial souvenir
1604- Kennebec River discovered by
Pierre du Guast and Samuel de Champlain.
1607- Raleigh Gilbert sailed up the
Kennebec and landed at Koussinoc, Indian name for present-day
1625- First trade with Indians of
the Kennebec and the Plymouth Colony started by Edward Winslow
1629- William Bradford and others
received a grant of land on the Kennebec River. The Plymouth Colony
established a trading post on the site of what was later Fort Western.
1646- Jesuit mission founded by Father
1652- Trade at Kennebec Patent decline
and rights were leased to private traders.
1654- Civil government instituted
in the Kennebec Patent
1661- Because of the decline in revenue
and Indian uprisings, the Plymouth Colony sold the Kennebec Patent
to Antipas Boyes, Edward Tyng, Thomas Brattle, and John Wilson. Unsuccessful
in their attempt to revive trade at the Cushnoc post, the new Kennebec
Proprietors abandoned it, and the area remained dormant for nearly
1749- The heirs of the Kennebec Proprietors
established their claim to the grant at Cushnoc
1754- Fort Western erected on the
site of the old Cushnoc trading post, thus marking the beginning of
permanent settlement in the Augusta area. James Howard, commander
of Fort Western, is considered the first settler in Augusta.
1761- Survey of the Augusta-Hallowell
region made by John Winslow. The Kennebec River was explored by a
"ranging party" commanded by Capt.. James Howard.
1762- First grants to lots made to
induce settlement around Fort Western; 7 log huts occupied by 30 inhabitants
comprised the village.
1763- First minister, Jacob Bailey,
preached at Fort Western
1764- It is estimated that there were
100 inhabitants in the Fort Western settlement.
1769- Capt. James Howard purchased
900 acres, including Fort Western and erected a sawmill, the first
industry in the area.
1770- Capt. Howard built "Great
House" for his living quarters, the first frame structure in
1775- Benedict Arnold and his army
of 1100 men remained at Fort Western for nine days during their ill-fated
expedition against Quebec.
1778- Conveyance of real estate by
Tories prohibited by the town.
1779- At town meeting it was voted
to appropriate 200 pounds "to procure preaching."
1780- A severe winter and scarcity
of provisions caused great suffering. The General Court requisitions
10000 pounds of beef from Hallowell for the Continental Army.
1781- Currency difficulties led to
lumber being regarded as the standard of values; it was received in
payment of taxes.
1782- Construction on the first meetinghouse
1784- First appropriation for the
support of the poor made at town meeting
First public inn, "a house of entertainment," was built
by Isaac Clark.
1785- Daniel Cony was chosen by Hallowell
as its representative to the Falmouth convention to consider separation
of the District of Maine from Massachusetts
1786- First public whipping
post in town erected at The Fort
1787- The town was divided into eight
school districts, four on each side of the Kennebec, and "a committee
appointed in each district to provide schooling and see that the money
is prudently laid out."
James Carr selected as the town's delegate to "give assent to
and ratify the constitution for the Untied States" at the convention
held in Boston.
1790- Population: 1,194
Construction of first Courthouse began in Market Square.
1794- The town's first postmaster,
James Burton, commissioned
The Eastern Star, first newspaper printed in the area published
by H.S. Robinson
1796- On February 8 a charter for
the construction of the first bridge across the Kennebec River at
The Fort was issued.
First Free Mason lodge, Kennebec Lodge, No. 5, chartered
Old South Congregational Church built.
1797- Rivalry between The Fort and
The Hook reached a climax when two communities became separate towns
on February 18, the latter retained the name of Hallowell and the
former selected the name of Harrington. On June 9 Harrington changed
its name to Augusta.
1799- Kennebec County was established.
1800- Population 1216.
Stone and Sate Streets laid out.
1802- New courthouse completed and
Two hotels, the Mansion House and the Cushnoc House built
1803- A brick grammar school was erected
on the corner of Bridge and State Streets.
1805- The selectman authorized to
procure a town poorhouse.
1806- First stage to Augusta, started
by Col. T.S. Estabrook, gave biweekly service between the town and
First brick stores in town erected on Water Street by Robinson and
1807- South Parish Congregational
1808- A disturbance called the "Malta
War" started over disputed land titles. The jail was burned and
an attempt was made to burn the courthouse. The August Light Infantry
was ordered out, and the Augusta Patrol was organized. The affair
resulted in a Betterment Act being passed to appease squatters.
A new stone jail was erected on the site of the old one.
First granite quarried in Augusta .
1809- Climax of the "Malta War"
came with the trail and acquittal of seven persons accused of the
murder of Paul Chadwick, a surveyor.
1810- Population, 1805; dwelling,
168; shops 39; offices,6; sawmills, 11; gristmills,3; pleasure carriages,
37; tons of shipping, 282 1/2.
1812- President Madison hanged in
effigy by Augusta Federalists.
The Kennebec Bank chartered.
1813- The privateer, Dart, built
for use against British Business
was so seriously crippled by the embargoes that all stores but one
were forced out of business.
1815- Cony Female Academy founded.
1816- Kennebec Bridge collapsed
The town was the rallying point for emigrants leaving for Ohio
1817- A reading room and social library
established by the young men of the town.
1818- Kennebec Bridge rebuilt.
1819- The town vote was 293 to 49
in favor of separation of Maine from Massachusetts.
The social library of 1817 incorporated as the Augusta Union Society.
This was the first act passed by the new State of Maine Legislature.
Bridge and Pleasant Streets laid out.
1821- First local Masonic society,
Bethlehem Lodge, No. 35, constituted.
1822- First organ in town placed in
use in the South Parish meetinghouse.
1825- The Kennebec Journal
was established by Luther Severance and Russell Easton
1826- East Parish incorporated.
1827- On February 24 the act making
Augusta the capitol of Maine signed.
1828- The U.S. Arsenal on east bank
of Kennebec erected.
1829- July 4 the cornerstone of Maine's
Stone county court house built.
Myrtle Street laid out.
1830- Population 3980
1831- Augusta House built
1832- On January 4 the Legislature
convened for the first time in the new statehouse.
1833- Freeman's Bank and Citizen's
Captain James Hall built a home that later became the Blaine House.
1834- Kennebec Dam Company incorporated
First Freewill Baptist Church formed
1835- Universalist church built on
Augusta Village Corporation organized for the purpose of maintaining
an efficient fire department.
Augusta High School established.
Mount Pleasant and Forest Grove cemeteries purchased by the town.
1836- Population, 6069
Granite Bank incorporated
Roman Catholics acquired a place of worship
First regular steamboat service between Kennebec ports and Boston
1837- Kennebec Dam, first on the river,
1838- Contracts made for 10 sawmills,
and a canal and basin were constructed for their accommodation.
1839- The town was the center of operations
during the "Aroostook War," and Major General Winfeild Scott
and his suite were located here at the time
A flood caused much damage to Kennebec Dam; mills were carried away,
and land was destroyed.
1840- Population, 5314
Dam across the Kennebec rebuilt by Alfred Redington
First local Episcopal church formed
Work completed on the Maine Insane Hospital after a number of years
of planning and construction
1842- St. Mark's Episcopal Church
and two new schoolhouses erected
1843- The Maine Farmer, inaugurated
by Ezekiel Holmes in Winthrop, was purchased by Russell Eaton and
1845- St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
erected on State Street
1843- Six sawmills were erected by
the Kennebec Locks and Canals Co., formerly the Kennebec Dam Co.,
also a large flour mill "with six runs of stones." A cotton
mill, the forerunner of the Edwards Manufacturing Co., built.
1847- Kennebec Locks and Canals Co,
becomes Augusta Water Power Co.
1848- Augusta Savings Bank organized
On May 22 the steamer Halifax blew up in the Kennebec dam
lock with loss of 7 lives.
1849- Augusta receives city charter
1850- Population 8225
1851- Kennebec and Portland Railroad
Co. completed its line to Augusta; the first train arrived December
1853- On September 2 a $75000 fire
destroyed 6 sawmills, a flour mill, a kyanzing plant, and a dwelling
house. Rebuilding started immediately,
Construction of the Somerset and Kennebec Railroad began on the east
side of the river at Augusta. The city furnished $75,000 to complete
The Augusta Gas Light Co. incorporated.
1854- Kennebec Journal was
sold to James G. Blaine and Joseph Baker
1855- February 22 the Republican party
held its first State convention
Flood swept away 100 feet of the Kennebec dam
1857-Through the resignation of Hannibal
Hamlin to become U.S. Senator, Sate President of the Senate, Joseph
H. Williams, was the first Augustan to become Governor.
In the same year Lot M. Morrill was the first local man elected Senate
First Railroad bridge over the Kennebec built.
1858- Kennebec County Jail erected.
1859- Gas street lamp introduced
1860- Population, 7609
Additions made to the statehouse
1861- This city was the mobilization
point of the Kennebec Valley troops en route to war areas.
Augusta Lumber Company organized.
1864- The State Bank of Augusta surrendered
its charter and organized the First National Bank of Augusta; the
Freeman's Bank became the Freeman's National Bank; the Granite Bank
became the Granite National Bank.
South Parish Church struck by lightning and destroyed
1865- The South Parish Congregational
Society erected a granite church.
September 17, fire swept Water Street causing a half-million dollars
1866- Prominent business building
completed were the Granite National Bank Building, Meonain Block,
North Block, and the Granite Block.
Home for Civil War veterans established at Togus.
1867- Kennebec Dam property sold to
A.&W. Sprague Company.
Kennebec Bridge freed from tolls.
1868- St. Catherine Hall, a church
school for girls, founded.
1869- James G. Blaine elected speaker
of the U.S. House of Representatives.
1870- Population 7803
Augusta Water Company established
Kennebec Savings Bank organized
1873- P.O. Vickery established publishing
1881- Cony Free High School completed
1882- Lithgow Library and Reading
Room opened on Water Street..
1883- Edwards Manufacturing Company
purchased the properties of A.&W. Sprague Co.
1884- James G. Blaine defeated for
the U.S. Presidency.
1884 - Publishers began using wood pulp acid paper in the United States
1885- A company established to supply
the city with water from the Kennebec.
1887- Augusta Board of Trade organized.
1888- Comfort published by
the Gannett and Morse concern. Becomes the largest circulating magazine
in the World.
St. Augustine's Church erected on Washington Street.
1890- Population 10527
A three story wing was added to the rear of the Statehouse.
New Augusta Post Office opened.
Augusta, Hallowell and Gardiner electric car service inaugurated.
One May 1a new iron bridge across the Kennebec completed.
1891- Augusta General Hospital chartered.
Kennebec Historical Society established as the Kennebec Natural History
and Antiquarian Society.
1894- Cornerstone of Masonic Temple
and Lithgow Library laid.
1895- Lithgow Library erected and
1896- On July 4 the City Hall dedicated.
1897- Centennial celebration of the
incorporation of Augusta held.
1900- Population 11683
St. Catherine's Hall completed its last school year and was acquired
by the Augusta General Hospital.
1901- Trolley service extended to
1902- Local trolley line became the
Augusta, Winthrop and Gardiner Street Railway.
1904- Most disastrous fire since 1865
started in Meonian Hall and swept the east side of Water Street.
1906- The City of Augusta
added to the Eastern Steamship Company's Kennebec line.
Augusta Yacht Club built.
1907- An attempt to move the State
capital to Portland was unsuccessful.
1910 - Population 13221
Statehouse completely remodeled.
Wing added to the post office.
1911- An act declaring Augusta to
be the permanent seat of government adopted by the Legislature.
1914- YMCA building erected.
A double-track railroad bridge constructed across the Kennebec.
1916- Present St. Augustine's Roman
Catholic Church erected.
1918- Edgar Jones Productions, Inc.,
opened a motion picture studio.
1920- Population 14114
The Blaine Mansion became the official residence of Maine governors.
Blaine Memorial, honoring James G. Blaine, dedicated.
Hartford Fire Station, a gift of the George Hartford family, completed.
1921- Assisted by his father, William
H. Gannett, Guy P. Gannett restored Fort Western and presented it
to the city
as a memorial to his mother, Sadie Hill Gannett.
1923- May flood waters caused extensive
1924- The city's first clinic for
crippled children held at Augusta General Hospital.
1925- The Fuller Memorial Fund and
homestead bequeathed to the city for development as a home for self-sustaining
1926- New 10,000 gallon reservoir
Kennebec Legion Park dedicated.
1927- St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
1928- Macomber Playground presented
to the city by Mr. and Mrs. George E. Macomber.
R. P. Hazzard Shoe Co. located in the city.
1929- The World War I Memorial, designed
by Frances Loring, presented to the city by Mr. and Mrs. George E.
1930- Population 17198
Ganneston Park declared a State game preserve and bird sanctuary.
City voted $50000 for completion of Cony High School; it was dedicated
1932- Motorbuses replaced electric
Radio Station WRDO, first in Kennebec Valley, inaugurated.
1934- Typhoid fever epidemic threatened
1936- In March the most disastrous
flood in its history swept the city.
1937- Reuel Williams Athletic Field
at Cony High School dedicated.
The Augusta Players organized.
1938- In December the Kennebec Pulp
and Paper Co's. sulphite plant and storehouse suffered a $500,000
1939- Construction on a $400,000 modern
sulphite plant by Kennebec Pulp and Paper company started.
The first completed U.S. Airways Communication Station in Maine was
placed in service at the Augusta airport.
1940- Population, 19339
Annex to post office started.
1941- National Guard to Camp Blanding
for World War II service.
1942- Military Police Battalion Stationed
at Camp Keyes.
1943- Augusta Planning Board organized.
1944- Togus Domiciliary Veterans transferred.
1945- Augusta celebrates end of World
1946- House City's worst problem.
1947- New Bridge Bill passed
Augusta Parking District formed
City celebrates sesquicentennial.
The following are some other important
dates in Augusta recent history complied by the KHS staff.
1949- Memorial Bridge and Rotaries
1950- Population, 20900
Reuel Williams house destroyed.
1955- Maine Turnpike extended to Augusta,
off ramp built on Western Avenue.
Construction on new State Office building begins.
1956- Augusta Hardware Company moves
from Water Street to a new store on residential Western Avenue.
1958- Zoning defeated.
1960- Population, 21680
1961- Augusta Plaza, first shopping
mall in city completed on site of the Haynes Estate, inaugurating
major commercial development on Western Avenue.
First computers installed at City Hall.
1964- New Federal building built on
1965- University of Maine at Augusta
Construction of new Cony High School wing completed.
Construction on new Augusta General Hospital begins.
1966- Construction begins on Capitol
Shopping center, on site of the Gannett estate.
1968- New district court house built
Construction on new State Cultural Center begins. Fifty residences
demolished in the process.
1969- Third shopping center, Turnpike
First building on UMA campus complete.
1970- Population, 21950
1971- Major YMCA addition completed.
1972 - Hudson Pulp & Paper changed to Statler Tissue
1973 - Augusta Civic Center built in
north end. Commercial development in the immediate area ensues.
Augusta House bankrupt.
1974 - Augusta House demolished.
Taylor Shoe closes.
State Parking garage built.
1975 - Construction on Vocational-Technical
1978 - Downstreet '82, a downtown revitalization
1981 - Manufacturing ends at Edwards
Lipman Poultry closes.
Facing rising heating costs, Winthrop Street Universalist Church demolished.
1982?- Digital Equipments opens
in new Augusta Business Park.
Downstreet '82 ends with little success.
Capitol Theater demolished.
1983- Zoning passes
Water Street fire kills four people
1986- Construction begins on new City
Key Plaza, tallest building in Augusta, built on Water Street
Historic restoration of Fort Western began.
Mill Street fire kills four, including two children.
$ 10 Million renovation of Edwards Mill for offices, shops ect. proposed.
Proposal later dies due to a lack of funds.
1989- Edwards Manufacturing Co. plant
destroyed in a spectacular fire.
1991- Major new regional shopping
center proposed for Civic Center Drive.
1995 - Statler Tissue Closes
1997- City celebrates its bicentennial
Tree Free Fiber, successor of Statler Tissue, closes.
1998- Capitol Riverfront Improvement
Restoration State House and reconstruction of State Office building
1999- After 162 years the Edwards
Dam is removed to help restore fisheries.
2000- Tree Free plant reopens under
Envisonet opens Augusta office.
2006 - New Cony High School Opens; New YMCA Opens
2007 - Kennebec Historical Society moves into the Henry Weld Fuller, Jr House