Casco Bay in 1910
|Incorporated||November 12, 1718|
|• Total||36.34 sq mi (94.12 km2)|
|• Land||29.38 sq mi (76.09 km2)|
|• Water||6.96 sq mi (18.03 km2)|
|Elevation||102 ft (31 m)|
|• Estimate (20123)||11,399|
|• Density||380.7/sq mi (147.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0582472|
This northern suburb of Portland borders Casco Bay and offers one of the largest anchorages in Maine. The town is home to three private golf clubs and the Portland Yacht Club.
Native Americans followed receding glaciers into Maine around 11,000 BCE. At the time of European contact in the sixteenth century, Algonquian speaking Abenaki lived in present-day Falmouth. English explorer Christopher Levett observed in 1623 that the local sagamore lived at Presumpscot Falls. Warfare with neighboring Native American nations and epidemics, especially between 1614 and 1620, drastically reduced the population of Abenakis in Southern Maine. Still, Indians maintained a presence in the Casco Bay area until King George's War in the 1740s. Demographic pressures eventually led most Native Americans to migrate toward the protection of French Canada or further up the coast.4
Ancient Falmouth encompassed the present day cities of Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Cape Elizabeth. The boundaries for today’s Falmouth did not come into form until Portland broke away in 1786, and finally Westbrook in 1814. Although it is unclear exactly why these towns separated from Falmouth, it was most likely out of a desire for smaller and more manageable town government.
Today’s town was known as New Casco, and was only a neighborhood within the larger collection of communities around Casco Bay known as Falmouth. The first European resident was Arthur Mackworth, who lived on the on the east bank of the Presumpscot River as early as 1630. When the Massachusetts Bay Colony took political control of Maine in 1658 from the heirs of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, they renamed the area Falmouth after an important Parliamentary victory in the English Civil War. Known as "Falmouth on Casco Bay" to distinguish it from Falmouth, MA, it was the 7th town in the recently formed Province of Maine, later being formally incorporated on November 12, 1718.5
One of the earliest and most historically significant structures in the town of Falmouth was a palisaded fort and trading post eponymously named New Casco, built in 1700 after the conclusion of King William's War. Fort New Casco's site today lies opposite Pine Grove Cemetery on Route 88. Fort New Casco lay at the boundary between Massachusetts and the Abenaki in 1700. Massachusetts built the fort at the behest of local Abenaki who desired a convenient place to trade and sharpen tools. A 1701 meeting between local Abenaki-Pigwackets and Massachusetts officials cemented an alliance between the two. A pair of stone cairns were then erected to symbolize the new partnership. The nearby Two Brothers Islands later received their name from this now long-forgotten monument.6
Unfortunately this peace would last less than three years, with the inauguration of Queen Anne's War in 1702. Governor Joseph Dudley held a conference at New Casco with representatives of the Abenaki tribes on June 20, 1703, trying to convince them not to ally with the French. His efforts were unsuccessful, as the fort was besieged only two months later by Abenaki chiefs Moxus, Wanungonet, Assacombuit and their French Allies. The vastly outnumbered English were relieved by the armed vessel "Province Galley", which dispersed the Abenaki and the some 500 French with its guns.5 Peace returned in 1713 with the Treaty of Portsmouth. When the resettlement of present-day Portland began in 1716, the Province of Massachusetts ordered that the fort at New Casco be demolished rather than maintain it. The vision that built Fort New Casco in 1700, that of a partnership between the English and Native Americans, was dead. 7
New Casco could not be safely settled by the English until the fall of Quebec in 1759 permanently removed the threat of French and Indian attack. Living so far away from Portland was dangerous: only one family lived in the town in 1725 and the scalping of Joseph Sweat in 1745 represented the risks one undertook to live in the area. The majority of the first permanent European inhabitants to the town came after 1760, planting farms, fishing, and harvesting masts. Mills on the Presumpscot River, Piscataqua River in West Falmouth, and Mussel Cove powered sawmills, processed agricultural products, and manufactured finished products by the 1800s. 8
In 1765, Cape Elizabeth (then including South Portland) was set off. In 1786, Portland broke away, followed in 1814 by Westbrook, although boundaries between it and Falmouth were readjusted throughout the 19th-century. By 1859, fishing and farming were principal trades. Other industries included three shipbuilders, three brickmakers, a sawmill, gristmill and tannery. In 1886, the town also produced boots, shoes, tinware and carriage stock. In 1943, Mackworth Island was donated to the state as a wildlife refuge; today it is site of the state school for the deaf and hard of hearing.9
By the 1950s, Falmouth began transforming from a rural agricultural community into primarily a residential suburb of Portland. The booming economy allowed people who had previously lived in the city to buy homes in neighboring towns like Falmouth where more open space and cheaper residential taxes were available. In the span of fifty years, the town's population has skyrocketed from under five thousand to over ten thousand residents today.10
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.34 square miles (94.12 km2), of which, 29.38 square miles (76.09 km2) of it is land and 6.96 square miles (18.03 km2) is water.1 Located beside Casco Bay, the Gulf of Maine and Atlantic Ocean, Falmouth is drained by the Presumpscot River.
The town is crossed by Interstate 95 and 295, U. S. Route 1 and state routes 9, 26, 88 and 100. It borders the towns of Cumberland to the northeast, Westbrook and Portland to the southwest, and Windham to the northwest. There are two census-designated places occupying the eastern portion of the town: Falmouth CDP to the south, and Falmouth Foreside to the north.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the town was $66,855, and the median income for a family was $87,304. Males had a median income of $54,545 versus $35,258 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,716. About 1.8% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census2 of 2010, there were 11,185 people, 4,334 households, and 3,063 families residing in the town. The population density was 380.7 inhabitants per square mile (147.0 /km2). There were 4,751 housing units at an average density of 161.7 per square mile (62.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.4% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.
There were 4,334 households of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.3% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.05.
The median age in the town was 45.3 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.2% were from 25 to 44; 33.6% were from 45 to 64; and 16.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.
- Falmouth Historical Society & Museum
- Falmouth Memorial Library
- Falmouth Nature Preserve
- Gilsland Farm Audubon Center
- Mackworth Island Public Reserved Land
- Maine State Ballet Theatre
- Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
Until June 2011, the town had a K-12 school system that included four individual school buildings. Lunt School included grades K-2 followed by Plummer-Motz which contained grades 3-4. Falmouth Middle School incorporated grades 5-8 and Falmouth High School contained grades 9-12. A new building, Falmouth Elementary School, opened in the fall of 2011. It was dedicated on September 17,2011. The new elementary school contains grades K-5, replacing both Lunt School and Plummer-Motz. Falmouth Middle School now contains grades 6-8. The School Department is under the jurisdiction of the Falmouth School Board with participation of the Leadership Council and Superintendent of the Schools.
The Falmouth School Department is considered well above average by Maine state standards.citation needed Serving over 2,000 students, the Falmouth School Department offers a challenging and diverse education with emphasis on literacy, mathematics, science, social sciences, critical thinking, citizenship, and problem solving.citation needed Falmouth was named the "Top City to Live and Learn" by Forbes in 2011.
- Mary Cunningham Agee, business executive
- Joseph Cummings, President of Wesleyan University (1857-1875),President of Northwestern University (1881-1890)
- Gerald Davis, state legislator
- Rob Derhak, musician
- Frank Fixaris, sportscaster
- G. Hannelius, actress. Went to the schools.
- Roger Levesque, retired soccer player for the Seattle Sounders FC
- John Menario, Portland City Manager and candidate for governor of Maine
- John R. McKernan, Jr., US congressman, 71st governor of Mainecitation needed
- Gary Merrill, actor
- Joan Whitney Payson, philanthropist, noted art collector
- David D. Pearce, US ambassador to Algeria
- Olympia Snowe, US senatorcitation needed
- Scott Wilson, appellate judge
- Bob Marley (comedian) (comedian)
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Bruce J. Borque, Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), 16; Christopher Levett, A Voyage into New England: Begun in 1623, and Ended in 1624 (London: 1628); David L. Ghere, "The 'Disappearance of the Abenaki in Western Maine: Political Organization and Ethnocentric Assumptions," American Indian Quarterly 17, no. 2 (Spring 1993): 193-207.
- Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 123–124. Joseph Conforti, "Creating Portland: History and Place in Northern New England;" Lebanon, New Hampshire 2005, 9-12.
- Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Falmouth, Boston: Russell
- W.M. Willis, Journals of the Rev. Thomas Smith and the Rev. Samuel Deane(Portland: 1849),59-60; Charlotte Donald Wallace, E Pluribus Unum: a Story of Falmouth, Maine (Falmouth, ME: Falmouth Historical Society, 1976), 19.
- Soares, Liz. All for Maine: The Story of Governor Percival P. Baxter. Windswept House Publishers (1996). ISBN 1-883650-17-8
- Spignesi, Stephen J. (2003). The Essential Stephen King. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. p. 214.
- Town of Falmouth official website
- Falmouth Memorial Library
- Falmouth School Department
- Maine.gov -- Falmouth, Maine
- Modern rendering of 1753 Falmouth map from the Maine Memory Network
- Maine Genealogy: Falmouth, Cumberland County, Maine
- Block and Garrison Houses at Ancient Falmouth