History of Augusta, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886



Augusta, the capital of the State and shire town of Kennebee County, is situated upon both sides of the Kennebec River, its north-western part being near the centre of the county of Kennebec. The towns of Sidney and Vassalboro form its northern boundary, Windsor, the eastern, Chelsea and Hallowell the southern and Manchester the western. The territory extends about 10 miles from east to west, and 6 from north to south. Its principal streams are Kennebec River, Bond Brook, and Woromontogus Stream. The pond of the same name in the eastern part of the town, is the largest of the ponds, containing 1 & 3/4 square miles. Others are Three-cornered Pond, Spectacle, Dam, Tolman, Greely, Little Togus, and several smaller. The surface of the town is uneven, but there are no high hills. The underlying rock is granite. The soil is productive, and the town has long been noted for the excellence of its agriculture, and the fine qual ity of its doniestic animals. There is but one village. The Maine Central (formerly Kennebec and Portland) railroad follows the river on the west side from Brunswick to the principal station, then crosses the river diagonally on a graceful iron bridge, and ascends on the east side. The two parts of the town are also connected by a free bridge 400 feet in length. It is of wood, but of large timbers well put together, and kept in the best repair.

The chief manufactures of Augusta are cotton cloths, lumber, sash, doors and blinds, broom-handles excelsior steam engines, railroad cars, stone cutters' tools, shoes, butter-salt, box-tubing, cemetery monuments, furniture, flour and meal, etc. Water is time principal motive power, but three or more factories use steam power. The water-power is furnished by Bond's Brook, which enters the Kennebec at this place, and from a fall of 15 feet in the Kennebec, which forms the head of the tide. The volume of water passing the fall, as measured in 1866 was 175,000 cubic feet per minute for the mean run through the summer.

The Freeman's National Bank, in this city, has a capital stock of $100,000. The capital of the Granite National Bank is $150,000. Augusta Savings Bank at the commencement of the fiscal year of 1880, held in deposits and profits, $2,877,529,41. The Kennebec Savings Bank held at the same time $334,644,73.

Several newspapers and weekly journals are published at Augusta. Of these, time "Maine Farmer," "Gospel Banner," and "Kennebec Journal" are the oldest, and each is excellent in its department. The last has also a daily edition throughout the year. The two first are neutral in politics, the latter republican. The "Home Farm " is a new eight page paper, devoted, as its name indicates, to the improvement and profit of the home and farm. It is an attractive sheet for a small price, and is published weekly by Boardman and Owen. The leading democratic paper is the "New Age." Others are the popular "People's Literary Companion," published weekly by E. C. Allen & Co., and devoted chieflyto stories; the "Illustrated Family Herald," which has some ver good points,-published monthly by True & Co.; the "Fireside Visitor," a pleasing paper for the winter evenings, another monthly, published by P. 0. Vickery; the "Illustrated Monthly," and "Illustrated Family Magazine,"-published monthly by Shaw & Co.,-both excellent in their way. The "Maine Farmer's Almanac" is now published here by Chas E. Nash.

The public buildings of Augusta are the State House, an imposing edifice of white granite, on a commanding site; the State Insane Asylum, the county court-house and the jail, both of granite,-the latter of an elegant architecture. Among the handsome private buildings are St. Catherine's Hall (the building of the Episcopal School), the Augusta House, Granite Block, Meionaon Hall, and several notable private dwelling-houses. The finest business edifices in the city are those constituting the publishing establishment of E. C. Allen & Co., illustrations of which are given. The main building is handsome and very substantially built. Its ground dimensions are 65 by 53 feet. The addition-completed a few months since-is of equal size and height. It is constructed of granite, brick and iron, the walls being two feet thick. Though over 100 tons of rapid machinery are in it, yet scarcely the slightest tremor can be perceived. Each story is supplied with a fire apparatus, and sufficient water can be instantly turned on to extinguish any fire that can originate in the building. A steam elevator runs from the bottom to the top capable of carrying a load of five tons from the first floor to the sixth story in thirty seconds. The buildings contain sixteen presses; seven of which are Hoe's largest and most rapid machines, being capable of printing over five tons of paper daily. In these buildings are also composing rooms, a bindery and a superior electrotype foundery. The machinery is run by three engines, one of which is a Corliss machine weighing some 50,000 pounds, and costing $10,000. The cost ot the buildings and machinery has been about $300,000. Nearly 500 persons are employed in connection with this establishment. The steam whistle upon the top of the extension, which calls the employês to their labor and releases them from it, is sounded on perfect time, wherefore the clocks for many miles around are quite generally regulated by it.

Handsome shade trees of all sizes and ages adorn the streets, and groups and even groves of them are here and there seen clustering about some ancient mansion. The village of Augusta occupies the successive terraces on each side of the river, so that time business portions are little above time surface of time river, while others seem at an almost mountamous elevation. That part of the city proper lying on time western bank of time river is supplied with water by two aqueducts,-one of them fed wholly by boiling springs. The upper terraces along time river are regarded as very healthy localities. There are many persons living the city who are between eighty and ninety years of age, and some above the latter age.

Among the objects of interest in the town is a portion of old Fort Western, on the east side of the river, a short distance below the bridge. This was built in 1754 by the proprietors of the Plymouth purchase, to whom the ownership of the grant of territory to the Plymouth colony had finally come. This grant was made to the Plymouth colony, North Virginia (or New England) Company in 1629. They immediately umade use of it for the fur trade; and as early as 1629 had erected a trading house at Cusimnoc-now Augusta. A powerful subtribe of time Canibas Indians then resided in the vicinity. In the second Indian war all the improvements on the river were laid waste After the peace of 1713, a stone fort, said to be the strongest then in the country, was built under time direction of Dr. Noyes. The succeeding wars again devastated the place; and so little was left of the stone fort that Fort Western was constructed wholly of wood. Though in 1675 there were reckoned to be 100 inhabitants on the Kennebec-many of whom must have been at Cushnoc-the place was desolate so many years that James Howard who commanded Fort Western, is considered by local historians as the first settler. Others of the early settlers were James Page and Moses Greely, Ephrairn Cowan and Daniel Hilton, Williams, Hamlin, Sewall, Titcomb, Bridge, Fuller, Robinson, Flagg, Cony, Stone, Ingraham, Dillingham, Smith, North, Savage, Church, Rice, Gage, Chandler, Emery, and Dorr. The place was incorporated as a part of Hallowell in 1771, but was set off and incorporated under the name of Harrington in 1797, the change to the present name (Augusta) being made the same year. It became the shire town of the county in 1798, and the capital of the State in 1828. The capitol was finished in 1832, the Insane Asylum in 1840, and the Corner stone of time Arsenal was laid in June, 1828. The dam of the river at this point was completed in 1838, and time first cotton mill erected in 1840. In 1849, Augusta was incorporated as a city, Alfred Reddington being time first mayor. Subsequent mayors have been J. A. Pettengill, Samuel Cony, Joseph W. Patterson, Albert G. Dole, James W. North, Sylvanus Caldwell, Wm. T. Johnson, Daniel Wilhams, Samuel Titeoinb, J. J. Eveleth, Daniel A. Cony, and Chas. E. Nash, and Peleg O. Viekery.

Many emment persons have been natives or residents of Augusta. Hon. Reuel Williams, a native and resident, was twice chosen a member ot the national Senate. Luther Severance, founder of the "Kennebec Journal," served with marked ability as representative in Con gress. Hon. James W. Bradbury, a native of Parsonsfield, but a resdent of Augusta for about fifty years, has filled with ability prominent positions under the State government, served a term in the national Senate. Lot M. Morrill, formerly goverrmor of the State and national Senator, became a resident in early manhood. Hon. James G. Bline, became a resident when a young man, represented the district in Congress for several terms, and served as speaker of the House with distiriguished ability. He was one of the principal candidates for the presidency of the nation in 1876, and was in the same year elected to the Senate. Hon. R. D. Rice, formerly a judge of the Supreme Court of the State, is a resident of Augusta. Among present eminent citizens are Hon. Artemas Libbey, a judge of the same court, Hon. Janies W. North, historian and, for several terms, mayor of the city; Hon. William P. Whitehouse, judge of the Superior Court; Hon. Joseph H. Williams, once governor of Maine; Hon. John L. Stevens, formerly minister to Paraguay and later minister resident at Stockholm ; and Hon. Selden Connor, a brigadier-general in the war of the Rebellion, and governor of Maine for three terms. Edward Stanwood, Esq., managing editor of the "Boston Advertiser," was a native of this town. Augusta sent about 1,000 men into the army during the war of the Rebellion, of whom some 200 were lost. Their monument consists of a bronze figure of Liberty mounted upon a granite pedestal. Upon the faces of the latter are bronze dies representing the career of the volunteer soldier, and bronze emblems of State and Nation. The total height of the monument is about forty-eight feet.

The leading denominations all have church edifices, and sustain regular preaching. The granite church of the Congregationalists is a noble building and occupies ample and attractive grounds. The denomination sustained meetings long before there was a church edifice in town.

The educational facilities of the city are supplied by the Dirigo Business College, and a graded system of public schools. The school. houses belongmg to the city number 33, and are valued at $55,000.

The valuation of Augusta in 1870 was $4,881,135. In 1880 it was $5,168,964. The rate of taxation in 1880 was 21 mulls on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 7,808. In 1880 it had increased to 8,667.

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