photo banner

HomeAbout | Activities | Programs | Collections |  Photo Archives | Links | Newsletters | Gift Shop | Contact Us
HISTORY OF WESTBROOK
written for the City's Centennial celebration
 
river
 
 
The Presumpscot River, looking toward area where power plant was later built
 
 

The greater part of Westbrook is situated between North Lat. 48 deg., and 40 min., and 43 deg., 45 min., and between West Long. 70 deg., 20 min., and 70 deg., 25 min.  From the point of intersection between South Portland, Scarboro and Westbrook to the point of intersection of Falmouth, Windham and Westbrook, the distance is about 7 ½ miles. The greatest width is 3 ¼ miles and the point showing the least width is 2 1/8 miles, and its area is about 21 square miles or 14,000 acres.

The elevation of the populous part of Westbrook, which is along the banks of the Presumpscot River, is low; averaging about 30 ft. above sea level. The highest point of land in Westbrook is known as Gowen’s Hill, on Duck Pond Street, not far from the Falmouth line. Its elevation is 300 ft.
               Elevation of the Principal Hills:
               Rocky Hill…………….240 ft.
               Deer Hill………………120 ft.
               Chapman Hill……….100 ft.
               Conant Hill…………..100 ft.

Westbrook is favored with rivers and streams. The Presumpscot is the principal river and source of the establishment of the great industries of Westbrook.  It flows through Westbrook for a distance of 2 ½ miles and is a boundary for about 3 miles. The Stroudwater River is a stream of many sources, and flows through the southerly part of Westbrook for a distance of over 4 miles.  Duck Pond brook is the outlet of the present Highland Lake and is a turbulent stream and formerly had a number of saw miles. [Both of these waterways formerly had many mills in operation along their banks, but as their flows gradually waned and the mills fell into disuse and decay.]

According to the tax assessor’s list of 1814, Saccarappa had 9 saw mills, 2 grist mills, 2 carding and fulling mills; Congin had 3 saw mills, 1 grist mill; Stroudwater River had 2 saw mills, 1 grist mill; Duck Pond and Duck Pond Brook had 5 saw mills and 1 grist mill.  There were 5 tanneries in Westbrook in 1815.

On September 2, 1816, the town voted for separation from “old” Massachusetts by a vote of 246 yeas to 29 nays.

 
 

Local Native American names and meanings:
 Ammoncongin: "Fish drying place" or "Indian corn planting ground"
Saccarabeag: "Where the water falls toward the rising sun"
Songo: "Where the trap sprung and failed to catch the game'
Sebago: "Great water"
Presumpscot: (originally Presomskeag): ‘eag’ generally meant “land”; ‘ompak’ meant “Stoney”; so name means "River of many shallow stoney bottoms"

 
 

References: History of Westbrook by Leroy H. Rand for the Centennial of Incorporation of Westbrook; notes from Ernest Rowe and Hon. Fabius Raye

 
All photographs and information is taken from the Westbrook Historical Society archives, unless otherwise noted.
Comments welcomed at info@westbrookhistoricalsociety.org
To view Photo of the Month Archives, click here
HomeAbout | Activities | Programs | Collections | Photo Archives | Links | Newsletters | Gift Shop | Contact Us
.

© 2006 Westbrook Historical Society, 17 Dunn Street, Westbrook, Maine 04092     •    (207) 854-5588
by magtreedesigns