Historic Map - Kennebunk, ME - 1895

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View of Kennebunk, Maine, 1895, Published by Geo. E. Norris.

Maine’s first area to be designated as an Historic District was Summer Street in Kennebunk, Maine, known for its beautiful Sea Captain’s Mansions. A favorite destination for tourists who enjoy the architecture and coastline, Kennebunk was once part of the region called Wabanaki and home to the Abenaki tribe. The Eastern Algonquian name “Kennebunk” translates to “the long cut bank”, most likely referring to the bank at Kennebunk Beach.

The first recorded land grants in Kennebunk appear in the 1640’s, when the town site was still part of the town of Wells. A sawmill was built on the Mousam River in 1669 and the first sawmill built on the Kennebunk River was in 1681.

Shipbuilding was a primary enterprise in the early days of Kennebunk, beginning in 1775 when the first schooner was launched near the river’s mouth. Kennebunk Landing became the preferred site and several shipyards were established there over the next century. Larger ships needed deeper water and several shipyards moved to the Lower Village, where shipbuilding continued until the last large vessel, named “Kennebunk” was launched in 1918 from Charles Ward’s shipyard.

Kennebunk was already a favorite tourist destination in the late 1800's, when this map was published.


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