Bridgton, Maine


Bridgton, Maine

Bridgton is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,883 at the 2000 census. A resort area in the Lakes Region, Bridgton is home to Bridgton Academy, a private preparatory school, and the Four on the Fourth Road Race.

Bridgton is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The undeveloped land was first called Pondicherry. It was granted in 1768 by the Massachusetts General Court to Moody Bridges and a group of proprietors. Settlement began in 1770 at what is now North Bridgton, where a tavern was built. The community was organized in 1779 as Bridgetown Plantation, named after Moody Bridges, and then incorporated on February 7, 1794 as Bridgton.

Stevens Brook is only a mile and a half long, but it provided water power for 12 mill sites. It developed as an industrial center, with sawmills, gristmills, woolen textile mills, a tannery, shoe factory and brick manufacturer. Later, a corn and vegetable packing plant was built, in addition to a foundry, machine shop, shovel handle factory, sash and blind factory, and a coffin shop. By the mid-1800s, the town contained about 3,000 inhabitants. In 1883, the 2-foot gauge Bridgton and Saco River Railroad opened, and tourists discovered the area. Although the railway closed in 1941, Bridgton remains a popular resort area, with many children's summer camps located along the shores of the beautiful lakes and Shawnee Peak, a ski resort in the winter. Bridgton is the setting for "The Mist", a novella by Stephen King.

Neighborhoods

Bridgton has multiple areas that can be classifed as neighborhoods. They are:
*Bridgton is the main, central area of town. It begins on Route 302, near Meadow Road, and continues up through towards Main Street, and past the Civil War Monument at the top of Main Hill. This is the central, downtown of Bridgton, featuring shops, offices and a movie theater. Also located in this area is Stevens Brook Elementary School, Bridgton Memorial School, the Bridgton Community Center, and Pondicherry Park. It is bordered to the west by South High Street
*South Bridgton, is as the name describes, to the south of Bridgton. It is located mainly off of Route 107, near Sebago. The most central portion of the area is near Adams Pond, and features the South Bridgton Congregational Church.
*Woods Pond is a sub-area of South Bridgton. It is based around Denmark Road, near Woods Pond Beach. There are multiple summer camps in this area, and it is primarily residential.
*West Bridgton is bordered to the south by Denmark, and the west by Fryeburg. The main area of development here is on Route 302, from the West Bridgton Fire Station near Cedar Drive, across the Moose Pond causeway to Shawnee Peak. There are a few sports shops and real estate offices in West Bridgton. In addition, West Bridgton is home to Camp Winona, which has been in operation for a century.
*North Bridgton, is located just south of both Waterford and Harrison. The main focal point here is Bridgton Academy. It is also the only section of Bridgton with its own post-office. The area has magnificent views of Long Lake.

Notable residents

* John Ripley Freeman, civil & hydraulic engineer
* George D. Libby, soldier
* Nathaniel Littlefield, congressman
* Willard Mains, baseball player
* Stephen King, American author
* Lois Lowry, American author
* David Bush, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher
* Rufus Porter, founder of Scientific American magazine

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 67.7 square miles (175.2 km²), of which, 57.3 square miles (148.4 km²) of it is land and 10.4 square miles (26.8 km²) of it (15.31%) is water. To the east of Bridgton, is Long Lakes, which eventually flows into Sebago Lake, and the Atlantic Ocean. Long Lake is partly fed by Stevens Brook. The basis of Stevens Brook is Highland Lake, which is located just west of the downtown.

In West Bridgton, a portion of Pleasant Mountain, including the Shawnee Peak Ski Area, rises. At the base of Pleasant Mtn. is Moose Pond, a man-made lake which makes up portions of Bridgton, Denmark, and Sweeden. Moose Pond eventually drains into the Saco River.

Demographics

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 4,883 people, 1,924 households, and 1,296 families residing in the town. The population density was 85.2 people per square mile (32.9/km²). There were 3,063 housing units at an average density of 53.5/sq mi (20.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.47% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 1,924 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,722, and the median income for a family was $42,392. Males had a median income of $29,614 versus $21,548 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,352. About 9.3% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.6% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

ites of interest

* Benjamin Cleaves House
* Narramissic (Peabody-Fitch Farm) & Bridgton Historical Society Museum
* Spratt-Mead Museum
* Stone House
* Walker Memorial Hall
* Wales and Hamblen Store
* Rufus Porter Museum

References

External links

* [http://www.bridgtonmaine.org/ Town of Bridgton, Maine]
* [http://www.bridgtonacademy.org/ Bridgton Academy]
* [http://www.bridgton.lib.me.us/ Bridgton Public Library]
* [http://www.bridgtonhistory.org/ Bridgton Historical Society]
* [http://www.mainelakeschamber.com/index.htm Greater Bridgton-Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.fouronthefourth.com 4 on the 4th website]
* [http://history.rays-place.com/me/cumberland-4a.htm History of Bridgton, Maine]


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