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

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





Gardiner, in the southern part of Kennebec County, is situated on the western bank of the Kenneec River about 25 miles from the sea. The Kennebec separates it from Pittston on the east, and the Cobbossee Contee Stream, on the opposite side divides it partly from W. . Gardiner. Farmingdale forms the northern boundary, and Richmond the southern. The other principal stream is Rolling-dam Brook. The form of the town is nearly triangular, the side on the river being about 6 miles in length, and the width of the southern side about 4 miles. Ward 6, in the southern part comprises two-thirds of the territory. On the river in this ward is the village of South Gardiner, where there are the large lumber-mills of Bradstreet Brothers and Lawrence Brothers. The city proper is at the northern extremity of the territory, where the Cobbosee Contee Stream enters the Kennebec. On this stream within one mile of its mouth is a descent of 127 feet to high tide in the river, included in 8 falls or rapids. Six of these privileges are improved by well-built stone dams, and are occupied by five saw-mills, one employing 23 hands and two about 40 hands each; sash, blind and door factories, cabinet, water-wheel, and fancy wood-work factories; two corn and grain mills-each consuming about 40,000 bushels annually-two machine-shops-one with foundry, the latter employing about 28 hands-three mill-wright shops, woollen-factory, employing 40 hands, washing-machine factory, carriage-spring factory, axe-factory, Copsecook, Richard's, and Hollingsworth & Whitney's paper-mills, employing about 38, 75, and 100. The total annual product of these various factories is estimated to be $2,000,000.

The rural portion of the town is a thrifty agricultural regirn, while along the river, the inhabitants are largely engaged in the ice business, which yields an annual return almost equal to that of the manufactures. The Maine Central Railroad runs through the length of the twon along the river. The city proper is at the head of steam navigation on the river, and through it is connected by a line of boats with Boston.

Gardiner was formerly a part of Pittston, and the earlier part of its history will be found involved with that of the latter town. The separation took place at the incorporation of Pittston in 1804, when that part of the territory west of the Kennebee, now Gardiner, took the name of the Cobbossee Plantation. It was mostly owned by Dr. Sylvester Gardiner, of Boston, but later, for a long period the resident agent of the Plymouth Proprietors on the Kennebec. He erected a saw-mill on the Cobbossee Contee Stream in 1760, and thus began the settlement of the place. His grandson, Robert Hallowell Gardiner, came into possession of the property in 1803, when the territory was incorporated as a town under its present name in honor of its founder. The number of inhabitants at that time was 650. It received a city charter in 1850; soon after this what is now West Gardiner was set off and formed into a separate town.

Gardiner has one savings and three national banks. The Gardiner "Home Journal," a lively sheet, independent in politics, is published here weekly, by H. K. Morreil & Son. The other sheet is the popular "Kennebec Reporter," published by R. B. Caldwell & Co. It is local in its aims. Each of the leading religious denominations has a church here; the large stone church of the Episcopal society being the most interesting. There is a fine soldier's monument in the park nearly opposite the church. There is quite a good city library, and steps have been taken for the creation of a free public library. The city proper has a complete system of graded schools. There are in all fourteen public schoolhouses, valued at $38,000. The valuation in 1870 was $2,179,243. In 1880 it was $2,379,129. The population at that date was 4,497. By the census of 1880 it was 4,440.

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