Historical Sketch of FAIRFIELD, Maine
From
Leading Business Men of
LEWISTON, AUGUSTA and VICINITY

BOSTON
MERCANTILE PUBLISHING COMPANY
1889




AMONG the most delightful features of a journey through the State of Maine, the observing tourist must estimate highly the pleasure which is not infrequently occasioned by coming across those charming towns and villages which nestle cosily among the hills, sloping gently to thebanks of the mighty rivers, and enlivened by the social amenities and industrial enterprises which render it a real microcosmus of our American life. A few miles above Waterville, on the Kennebec river, is one of the most beautiful and charming of those towns in Maine. We refer to the progressive town of Fairfield. This is the southern-most town of Somerset county, about twenty-six miles north of Augusta, and is remarkable both for its scenery and the enterprising genius of its people. It contains about forty-two square miles of territory, and at this part of the river is one of the most valuable water-powers on the Kennebec. When the town was first settled, in 1774, it received its name from the "fair appearance" of its situation, and it would never have seemed to have forfeited the distinction. Its growth was not rapid, and was marked by the various disturbances and obstacles which beset the towns of this vicinity, yet has been decidedly uniform, and since the manufacturing privileges of the water-power supply have been improved it has made marked progress. The first Congregational church was founded here in 1815. The town was incorporated in 1788, the years immediately following the Revolutionaiy war being unusually marked by prosperity and growth. The embarrassments of the Embargo in 1807 and 1808, and the war of 1812, as well. as the panic of 1832, were serious set-backs; but by the middle of the century the population had become 2,482. During the next decade it rose to 2,753.

The people of Fairfield entered into the great struggle against slavery with enthusiastic generosity and devotion. They spared neither men or money in their patriotic service, and the achievements of their sons, and the tender memorials of lost heroes have ever since been zealously guarded and honored. Since the war the advance of the town has been steady and marked. The population in 1870 had risen to 2,999, and in 1880 to 3,044. The valuation in the latter year was $1,288,582. The town officers for 1888 were as follows: Selectmen., F. E. MacFadden, C. J. Greene, N. Howe; Town Clerk, F. E. MacFadden; Treasurer, E. G. Pratt. Since 1880 the population and valuation have been both increased largely. The water-power at Fairfield is practically inexhaustible. There is a fall of thirty-four feet within a short distance at the falls, and over this for eleven hours a day there is a cdnstant run of 117,300 cubic feet of water per minute. This is equivalent to 7,540 horse or 800,000 spindles. This great power, moreover, can be increased by various improvements if the demand should be extended.

Though not one of the largest, Fairfield is certainly one of the most enterprising towns in this State of business genius. Its industrial spirit penetrates many varied lines, and is alike successful in all. Among the chief lines of business enterprise are those of lumber, furniture, frames, carriages, machinery, canned goods of all kinds (this being an industry in which great success has been achieved), boxes, grain and produce, shoes, and toots of all kinds. The mill industries at the various villages are. centers of population and commercial advancement. The out-put of two of these mills alone is over $350,000 a year. In the lumber business there are eight saw-mills. The chief centers or villages of the town, chiefly divided according to commercial enterprises, are as follows: North Fairfield, Fairfield Corner, Fairfield Village (the largest center, including Kendall's Mills), Somerset Mills, Blacknell's Mills and Winslow Mills. Fairfield has also a First National Bank, and Fairfield Savings Bank. "Fairfield Journal" is an enterprising local weekly, of an independent and lively spirit, and flirnisbing news and entertainment to many readers. Such is the great resource of water-power at Fairfield that her manufacturing industries admit of great expansion, and as they became more widely known, and the privileges of loóation offered to manufacturers are realized, there must be a great source of wealth and progress coming to Fairfield in this line, for there are few towns or cities that have been more abundantly enriched by the bounty of nature's gifts than she. At the present time there are six physicians, five lawyers and six clergymen located here. There are six churches,-one Baptist, three Methodist, one Free Baptist, and one Universalist. The religious life of the people is progressive and wholesome, the moral standard of a high stamp, and the interest in charity and benevolence wide-spread and earnest. Great attention is given to educational matters, and the public schools of the town are liberally and well conducted. The social life is quiet and retired, yet is marked by the refining and charming influences which the country towns of New England peculiarly possess. The beauty of the surrounding country and the unusually healthful situation are advantages not to be lightly regarded. Nor are the attractions to tourists and summer travelers unworthy of attention.

Situated on the great Kennebec, and the main line of the Maine Central Railroad, it is easily reached both from Portland and Bangor, and possesses both the advantages of suburban and country life. Its ancient beauty still attracts, and will, many delighted tourists every year. Sportsmen find good opportunities for sport with rod and gun through the surrounding country, and tired families can nowhere obtain better accommodations, with such recuperation and enjoyment at such small expense.

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