Topsham, Maine

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Topsham, Maine
Town
Pejepscot Mill (1868)
Location of Topsham, Maine
Coordinates: 43°52′18″N 69°51′32″W / 43.87167°N 69.85889°W / 43.87167; -69.85889Coordinates: 43°52′18″N 69°51′32″W / 43.87167°N 69.85889°W / 43.87167; -69.85889
Country United States
State Maine
County Sagadahoc
Incorporated January 31, 1764
Area[1]
 • Total 35.59 sq mi (92.18 km2)
 • Land 32.20 sq mi (83.40 km2)
 • Water 3.39 sq mi (8.78 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,784
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 8,736
 • Density 272.8/sq mi (105.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC)
Zip Code 04086
Area code(s) 207

Topsham is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,784 at the 2010 census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. Topsham is where the Topsham Fair happens every year.

History[change | change source]

The Pejepscot Abenaki Indians, a sub-tribe of the Anasagunticooks (now Androscoggins), used to own the land that is now Topsham. They called the this area "Sawacook." The Pejepscot Abenaki controlled the Androscoggin River. They lived and fished at Pejepscot Falls. But a plague, probably smallpox brought by Europeans, killed most of the tribe's population in 1615-1616.

On June 16, 1632, the Plymouth Council gave some land that had once belonged to the Abenaki to Thomas Purchase and George Way. The land was later given to Richard Wharton, and then in 1714 it was given to the Pejepscot Company.[4]

The first sawmill there was built in 1716 on the Cathance River.

In 1717 the area got its current name, Topsham. It is named after the town of Topsham in Devon, England. On January 31, 1764, Topsham was incorporated as a town by the Massachusetts General Court.[5]

Shipbuilding and lumber mills were important early businesses in Topsham. Pejepscot Falls provided the power to support industry. Lumber mills were very active between 1750 and 1770. Factories later produced things like lumber, watches, doors and pottery.[6]

Topsham and Brunswick were connected with the Underground Railroad during the years of slavery. There were safe houses and underground tunnels to hide escaped slaves in both towns. </ref>http://www.curtislibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/FACTS-AND-LEGENDS-THE-UNDERGROUND-RR.pdf</ref>

The Brunswick and Topsham Water District was incorporated in 1903. [7]

Geography[change | change source]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.59 square miles (92.18 km2), of which 32.20 square miles (83.40 km2) is land and 3.39 square miles (8.78 km2) is water.[1] The Androscoggin River, the Cathance River and the Muddy River drain Topsham. These rivers empty into Merrymeeting Bay, an inland delta. Merrymeeting Bay is located to the northeast of Topsham.

Interstate 295, U.S. Route 201, and state routes 24 and 196 all go through Topsham.

Topsham borders the towns of Bowdoin and Bowdoinham to the north, Brunswick to the south, and Durham and Lisbon to the northwest.

Demographics[change | change source]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,784 people, 3,720 households, and 2,453 families residing in the town. The population density was 272.8 inhabitants per square mile (105.3 /km2). There were 4,167 housing units at an average density of 129.4 per square mile (50.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.1% White, 0.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

Education[change | change source]

Public schools in the area are operated by Regional School Unit (RSU) 75. There are two elementary schools, Williams-Cone School and Woodside Elementary. The middle school is Mt. Ararat Middle School, and the high school is Mt. Ararat High School.

Sites of interest[change | change source]

Notable people[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]