Rockland, a city, and the shire town of Knox County,
is situated on Rockland Bay, on the western side of Penobscot Bay. Its harbor is enclosed by two headlands, Jameson's
Point on the north and the long projection of Thomaston, terminating in Owl's Head, on the south. The city, being
located on level land, is better seen from the neighboring headlands and the hills in the rear than from the approaches
of the harbor. The surface of the town is rough and broken, low near the shore, but in the western part of the
town rising in a chain of hills extending northward from Thomaston, and ending in the Camden mountains. The environs
abound in picturesque hill and marine scenery. The north-west is occupied by an extensive meadow. Limestone is
the prevailing rock. The soil is generally clay or loam. Among the forest trees the red oak is numerous. The streets
of the city proper are extensively shaded with elm and rock-maple. The only considerable sheet of water is Chickawaukie
pond, lying partly in Camden, which, by means of an aqueduct, supplies the city with excellent water.
Rockland has three or more ship-yards, one marine railway, five sail-lofts, two boat-builders, three grain mills,
two foundries, three carriage factories, six lumber mills, two machine shops, three cooperies, a tannery, twelve
lime manufacturers, four granite and marble works, two boot and shoe factories, four printing-offices, etc. Formerly
shipbuilding was the leading industry, but the lime business has now outgrown it. In 1854, Rockland ship-yards
sent out eleven ships, three barks, six brigs, and four sehooners,-their total tonnage being 17,365 tons. The "Red
Jacket," registering 2,500 tons, was built here in 1853, being one of the largest and finest vessels ever
sent out from our ports. She made the quickest passage across the Atlantic ever made by a sailing vessel, and the
quickest from Australia to Liverpool and back. In 1858 there were twelve lime quarries in operation, requiring
125 kilns of the old style to reduce the rock, turning out about 900,000 casks, upwards of 300 vessels being employed
in conveying them to market. The amount now produced is 1,200,000 casks annually, the lime industry employing about
1,000 men. Rockland is a port of entry in the Waldoboro district. The Knox and Lincoln railroad connects it with
Bath and the Maine Central railroad.
This town was first visited by John Lermond and his two brothers from Upper St. George (now Warren); who, in 1767,
built their camp and got out a cargo of oak staves and pine lumber. From him the place obtained its early name
of Lermond's Cove. Its Indian name was Catawamteak, signifying "great landing place." Lcrrnond did not
stay, and the town was not permanently settled until about 1769, when the following persons with families took
up their abode in the locality, viz.: Josiah Tolman, Jonathan Spear, David Watson, James Fales, John Lindsay, Constant
Rankin, Jonathan Smith and John Godding. These all erected log huts, and commenced clearing up and cultivating
their lots. John Ulmer, of Waldoboro', moved here in 1795, and began the manufacture of lime, in which business
he was the pioneer.
The growth of the place was slow, and in 1795 the dwelling of John Lindsay was the only house where the city now
stands. The territory was included in Thomaston, and after that town was incorporated, the settlement on Lermond's
Cove was known as Shore Village. On the establishment of a post-office here, about 1820, it took the name of East
Thomaston; and on the division of the parent town in 1848, Rockland was incorporated under this name. The name
was changed to Rockhind in 1850, and in 1853 it obtained a city charter.
Rockland has several tasteful and substantial public buildings. The post-office is a handsome and spacious structure
of St. George's granite, built a few years since at a cost, including grounds and furniture, of $142,000. The county
court-house, erected in 1874, cost $80,000. The Farwell building is another prominent, though not a public edifice,
erected in 1871. Among the eminent citizens of Rockland may be mentioned Robert and Charles Crockett, Timothy Williams,
and General Hiram G. Berry. The latter, after having made a high reputation as a skilful officer, fell while leading
his division on the bloody field of Chancellorsville. A colossal statue of him in marble by Simmons, on a handsome
pedestal, keeps guard over his resting place in the city of his birth and residence.
The Rockland Savings Bank at the close of 1879, held deposits and profits to the amount of $283,885.21. There are
three banks of discount and circulation. The Lime Rock National Bank has a capital of $105,000. The North National
Bank has a capital of $100,000. The Rockland National Bank has a capital of $150,000. The city has three newspapers
and a sheet devoted to the interests of hotels. Thee latter is entitled the "Hotel Register and Livery Journal,"
and is published ever Monday. The Rockland Free Press, published every Wednesday, is a valuable city weekly of
Republican politics. The Rockland Gazette, is independent in politics, and an entertaining and useful paper. The
Rockland Courier, also independent, fills an important place in the city and country. The Rockland Opinion, is
a very positively Democratic sheet, outspoken and vigorous on public questions, and a successful news-gatherer.
There is a public library containing 3,500 volumes.
The churches of the city consist of two Baptist, one each of the Free Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians,
Methodists, Roman Catholics and Universalists. The last was built in 1876, at a cost of $26,000. There are three
fine schoolhouses in the city proper, where the schools are graded. The number of public schoolhouses in the entire
city is eleven. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $3,419,355. In 1880 it was $2,951,019. The rate of taxation
in the latter year was three per cent. The population in 1870 was 7,074. In 1880 it was 7,599.