Location of Topsham, Maine
|Incorporated||January 31, 1764|
|• Total||35.59 sq mi (92.18 km2)|
|• Land||32.20 sq mi (83.40 km2)|
|• Water||3.39 sq mi (8.78 km2)|
|• Estimate (2012)||8,736|
|• Density||272.8/sq mi (105.3/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC)|
Topsham is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,784 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, 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.
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.
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. 
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. 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.
Demographics[change | change source]
As of the census 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]
- Androscoggin Pedestrian Swinging Bridge
- Bradley Pond Farm Preserve
- Cathance River Nature Preserve
- Pejepscot Paper Company Mill (1868)
- Topsham Fair
Notable people[change | change source]
- Douglas C. Bennett, President Emeritus of Earlham College
- William A. Ellis, former member of the Wisconsin Senate, was born in Topsham
- Frank Glazer, pianist, composer and professor of music
- Elijah Kellogg, minister, lecturer, author
- Holman S. Melcher, Civil War era officer and politician
- Benjamin Orr, US congressman
- Benjamin Randall, US congressman
- John Rensenbrink, co-founder of the Maine Green Independent Party and the Green Party of the United States
- Carter Smith, film director and fashion photographer
References[change | change source]
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/gazetteer2010.html. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2012/SUB-EST2012.html. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 327–328. http://books.google.com/books?id=OcoMAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA9&dq=coolidge%20mansfield%20history%20description%20new%20england%201859&pg=PA327#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Brief Description and History of Topsham, Maine
- Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Topsham, Boston: Russell, http://history.rays-place.com/me/topsham-me.htm
Further reading[change | change source]
- History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine Including Ancient Pejebscot. By George Augustus Wheeler and Henry Warren Wheeler. Published 1878. Full image at books.google.
- Pejepscot Historical Society
- Wright, Virginia M.. "The Transformation of Topsham". Down East: The Magazine of Maine (December 2009).