Definitions

Harpswell, ME

Harpswell, Maine

Harpswell is a town in Cumberland County Maine which is geographically within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. The population was 5,239 at the 2000 census. Harpswell is composed of land contiguous with the rest of Cumberland County, called Harpswell Neck, as well as a several large and small islands: Great Island, Orr's Island, and Bailey Island. Harpswell is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The Native Americans who originally inhabited Harpswell were part of the Abenaki. The Abenaki name for Harpswell Neck, then called West Harpswell, was Merriconeag or "quick carrying place", a reference to the narrow peninsula's easy portage. The Abenaki name for Great Island was Erascohegan or Sebascodiggin, which became by the late 1800's Sebascodegan Island. About 1869 Major Nicholas Shapleigh of Eliot bought Merriconeag and Sebascodegan Island from the Abenaki, but because of Indian attacks attempts to settle the area were abandoned until after Dummer's War. The Treaty of 1725 brought a truce and by 1731 many settlers had returned.

In 1758 the town was incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court and named for Harpswell in Lincolnshire, England. Industries included farming and some shipbuilding, but fishing brought considerable profit. Because of its scenic beauty, Harpswell is today a favorite with artists and tourists. The Bailey Island Bridge is an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Notable residents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 83.9 square miles (217.4 km²), of which, 24.2 square miles (62.6 km²) of it is land and 59.8 square miles (154.8 km²) of it (71.20%) is water. The town is situated on Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine, part of the Atlantic Ocean. Harpswell has over 150 miles of coast, more than any other town in Maine.

The town is crossed by state routes 24 and 123. It borders the town of Brunswick to the north, and is separated by the New Meadows River from West Bath to the northeast, and Phippsburg to the east.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,239 people, 2,340 households, and 1,532 families residing in the town. The population density was 216.7 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 3,701 housing units at an average density of 153.1/sq mi (59.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.94% White, 0.25% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.32% of the population.

There were 2,340 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.69.

In the town the population was spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 31.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $40,611, and the median income for a family was $45,119. Males had a median income of $34,167 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,433. About 3.3% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.

Photographs

For a selection of photographs of Harpswell, see this online scrapbook

Education

Public schools in the area are operated by Maine School Administrative District 75.

Sites of interest

References

Further reading

External links

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