Limerick (pronounced "LIM-rick") is a town in York County, Maine, United States. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,240 at the 2000 census. Known for its historic and scenic charm, Limerick is a popular tourist destination.
This was territory of the Newichewannock Abenaki Indians, whose village was located on the Salmon Falls River. In 1668, Francis Small of Kittery, a trader, bought from Chief Captain Sunday (or Wesumbe) a large tract of land, for which he exchanged 2 blankets, 2 gallons of rum, 2 pounds of gunpowder, 4 pounds of musket balls and 20 strings of beads. Small thereupon sold half of his interest to Major Nicholas Shapleigh of Eliot, one of the wealthiest merchants in the Piscataqua region.
Settlement was delayed, however, by the ongoing French and Indian Wars, which finally ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. In 1773, the heirs of Francis Small and Nicholas Shapleigh promised a township to lawyer James Sullivan of Biddeford if he defended their larger claims. Sullivan accepted and in 1775 helped settle Limerick Plantation, named after Limerick in Ireland, his father's birthplace. It would be incorporated on March 6, 1787. The town of New Limerick in Aroostook County would be settled by people from Limerick, Maine.
The village grew along the old Sokokis Trail (now Route 5), which connected the Sokokis village at Pequawket (now Fryeburg) to the tribe's coastal encampment at what is today Saco. Endowed with good soil, Limerick became a thriving farming community. Chief crops included hay, apples, grapes and cranberries. Cattle and dairy products were important. In addition, the town had 4 blacksmith shops, 4 shoemakers, 2 hatmakers, 2 harness makers and 3 tanneries. Various brooks provided water power for industry, including 4 furniture factories and a clothing factory. There were also gristmills, shingle mills and lumber mills. In 1846, James Bradbury established the Limerick Manufacturing Company at Brown Brook. It was bought in 1857 by Joshua Holland. The firm produced the nationally famous Holland Blankets, which were supplied to troops during the Civil War. A village once called Hollandville developed around the mill.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,240 people, 850 households, and 607 families residing in the town. The population density was 82.5 people per square mile (31.9/km²). There were 1,279 housing units at an average density of 47.1/sq mi (18.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.21% White, 0.31% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.04% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.36% of the population.
There were 850 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the town the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $40,845, and the median income for a family was $44,917. Males had a median income of $32,829 versus $24,036 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,844. About 7.5% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.