Addison, Maine

Addison, Maine

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Addison, Maine
settlement_type = Town
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =



pushpin_label_position =left
pushpin_map_caption =Location within the state of Maine
pushpin_mapsize =

|mapsize =
map_caption =

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Maine
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Washington
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 251.8
area_land_km2 = 109.8
area_water_km2 = 142.1
area_total_sq_mi = 97.2
area_land_sq_mi = 42.4
area_water_sq_mi = 54.8

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 1209
population_density_km2 = 11.0
population_density_sq_mi = 28.5

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 24
elevation_ft = 79
latd = 44 |latm = 33 |lats = 22 |latNS = N
longd = 67 |longm = 42 |longs = 4 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 04606
area_code = 207
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 23-00380
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0582316
website =
footnotes =

Addison is a town in Washington County, Maine, United States. According to the US Census, the population of the town was 1,209 in the year 2000.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 97.2 square miles (251.8 km²) of which 42.4 square miles (109.8 km²) is land and 54.8 square miles (142.1 km²) of it (56.41%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 1,209 people, 489 households, and 341 families residing in the town. The population density was 28.5 people per square mile (11.0/km²). There were 723 housing units at an average density of 17.1/sq mi (6.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.10% White, 0.58% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.17% of the population.

There were 489 households, 31.1% of which had children under the age of 18 living in them. In addition, 59.5% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% housed someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.83.

The town's population was spread over many age groups: 23.5% of citizens were under the age of 18, 6.1% were aged from 18 to 24 years old, 26.8% were from 25 to 44, 29.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years.

For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $26,083, and the median income for a family was $30,000. Males had a median income of $22,432 versus $18,194 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,951. About 14.7% of families and 20.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.9% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.


The history of Addison is based upon the area's natural resources that once drove the local andregional economy. Its proximity to the coast meant that activities included fishing and boat building. Early residents engagedsuccessfully in a variety of businesses, and many current residents can trace their familiesback to the town’s early days and continue to work in maritime industries. Addison stillenjoys many of the benefits of a close-knit community; as a small town, its people look out for one another. Keeping with this trend, while encouraging newdevelopment, many residents of the town believe that it should seek to maintain a link to its heritage through theprotection of historically significant buildings, and that they should continue to collect andpreserve the town's historic records.


The population of Addison has experienced slight long-term growth, and the perhaps as a result the population isaging. The numbers of school age children have declined, evidenced by decreasing local schoolenrollments. As with the whole of Washington County, the town has seen a decrease inthe average household size. In addition, more retiree and single parent households can be found.Limited employment opportunities, as described in later sections, help explain thedecline in the numbers of young families residing in Addison.

Natural Resources

Addison currently offers protection to its natural resources with locally adoptedshore land zoning regulations, land use and subdivision regulations. These ordinanceprovisions will be updated to be consistent with the minimum requirements of state andfederal regulations as is mandated and to ensure that Addison retains its fishing villagecharacter. The importance of commercial fisheries to Addison cannot be overestimated.Protecting public shore and water access and maintaining a healthy balance of theindustry and natural beauty is crucial especially in light of the rate of coastaldevelopment. The existing marine districts will be reviewed to ensure that they protectthe rights of marine and commercial marine related activities while accommodating some residential development. The town will seek to ensure that traditional use of landsand access to water are protected as development pressures increase over theplanning period.


The top three sectors of employment for Addison are ‘Agriculture, forestry, andfisheries, mining’; ‘Education, health and social services’; and ‘Retail trade. The topsector is comprised nearly entirely of marine based work. The second sector mainlyconstitutes those employed by the public schools. Addison’s median household incomeincreased considerably (53.6%) since 1990 and marginally surpasses median income inthe county but is considerably lower than median income in the state. However, Addisonhad a considerable decrease (-41.1%) in total taxable sales for the period of 1997 to2002. In addition almost 15 percent of Addison families had incomes below the povertylevel in 2000, which included 244 individuals, a ratio comparable to Washington County.With the aging of our population, the size of our workforce continues to decrease.Living in a rural area limits employment opportunities and increases the costs ofcommuting to the service centers where many of the newly created jobs are located.Our local government should strive to encourage and maintain appropriate marinebased development that will better employ residents. Growth needs to be channeled toareas of town capable of handling development while incurring minimal cost to themunicipality. The town will continue to encourage responsible commercial developmentthrough land use regulations, regional coordination and marketing.


Affordable housing is often defined as not costing more than 30% of household income.The data reviewed suggest that the cost of housing in Addison is affordable for mostpeople in the community. However, the home price that could be afforded at thehousing market median household income of $28,475 was $77,837..Existing land use ordinances do not impose significant costs on the cost of buildinghomes and the majority of people live in owner-occupied single-family housing. Thedesire for vacation homes on coastal properties by non-residents has raised the value,and assessment, of many properties in Addison. Many young families find that theymust move inland to find affordable lots for new construction. There is a range of newhousing in town, with mobile or manufactured homes often utilized. The percentage ofhomes owned by those in the workforce is likely to decline further while the percentageof homes owned by retirees - both those from away and natives - will increase.


Addison has recreational opportunities that derive from the natural resources of thetown, the region, and some municipal recreational facilities. Some of the town's mostimportant recreational resources rely on shorefront access, which we should seek tomaintain and improve.


Transportation linkages in Addison consist of Addison Road in Columbia to Water Streetat the Columbia town-line which connects the village area to Route 1 in the town ofColumbia at the Four Corners. Water Street is the main thoroughfare through the villageof Addison. It continues south and, after crossing the Pleasant River, forks at East SideRoad which provides access to South Addison. The other fork provides a link withRoute 187 where a turn north goes to Columbia Falls and a turn south goes toJonesport at the Indian River boundary between the two towns. Connecting links toSouth Addison and Addison Point are provided off 187 down Basin Road. East Side andBasin Roads provide a perimeter corridor around the peninsula and West Side roadprovides access to the west side of the Pleasant River estuary and on into theneighboring town of Harrington.

Addison is reliant on its road network as the primary means of transportationmovement. Therefore, local roads should provide safe, reliable access to work, school,stores, and residences. Overall, roadways in Addison are in relatively good condition.Given limited funding and the significant expense, the town has done a noteworthy jobof maintaining its roads. Continued proper and affordable maintenance of the roadnetwork in Addison is in the interest of all residents though financial support for doing sowas not particularly supported in the public survey.Since MDOT has a jurisdiction over the roads supporting the highest volume of traffic inAddison, the town will continue to communicate and cooperate with the department.Addison has a paving schedule for roads that are currently unpaved and requires allnew roads to be constructed to specific municipal standards.

Public Facilities and Services

Through proper maintenance and investment, Addison’s public facilities and serviceshave remained in good condition overall. The town has prepared a CapitalImprovement Plan as further discussed in the fiscal capacity section. Previously, it hasprovided reserve accounts for many necessary items. Prudent management decisionsat the local level have prevented the town from being forced to make large capitalinvestments within one tax year. However, there are issues that do need to beaddressed including a fire house; renovated or new town hall; sand and salt shed; andwharf in South Addison.

Fiscal Capacity

Addison has been doing well in managing its finances over the last five years. The milrate has fallen somewhat mostly in response to decreases in municipal expenditures. Inthe past, the town has budgeted for capital improvements through grants and reserveaccounts. The town proposes a Capital Improvement Plan to finance manyimprovements that will allow for future growth.

Land Use

Addison has experienced limited development pressure during the 1990s and a limitedamount of growth is expected to continue. Support exists for some regulation ondevelopment activity but there is concern that it not be excessive or burdensome. Wehave drawn from many sources including the survey to plan for our future and develop aland use plan. This Plan is intended to protect our town's character, to support maritimecommercial activities and to ensure compatibility among residential, commercial andindustrial activities. It also seeks to ensure that residents can continue to supportthemselves with a mixture of activities necessitated by seasonal and diverse rurallivelihoods.

Historic and Archaeological Resources

The Town of Addison was named by the first settlers along the Pleasant River, after Britishessayist and poet Joseph Addison who lived from 1672 to 1719. The town celebrated itsbicentennial in 1997 and reissued an updated history - Addison Then and Now - an engagingand thorough chronicle of the town.Originally published in 1982, the bicentennial edition is full of photos, descriptions of earlyenterprises, schools, churches, war veterans, public servants and vessels built in the formershipyards. The Comprehensive Plan reproduces here the relevant facts of Addison’s history butdirects readers to this wonderful history of place and people.Early migrants to the region were attracted by the abundance of marsh hay in places likeAddison. Plentiful codfish also brought settlers from Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod duringthe late 1700s and early 1800s. The population peaked in 1860 at 1,272 persons whenshipbuilding was the dominant feature of the local economy. Twenty-one vessels wereconstructed in Addison between 1860 and 1869. Quarrying of local granite began in the late1800s and lasted well into the middle of the twentieth century, gradually declining intononexistence in 1958 with the closing of the quarry on Harwood Island.The role of the seas has been an important one in Addison's history, providing several majoroccupations revolving around fishing, fish processing, shipbuilding and shipping. Seamen wereinvolved in the coastal trade and deep water voyages. The coastal trade, or coasting as it wascalled, was the main source of transportation for people and goods until rail service was initiated in the late 1800s. Many of the people who lived in Addison depended on coasting for their living. The timber industry and its mills along with granite quarrying and silver mining were theother major industries in Addison. In the late 1980s and early nineties the economy of Addison is as Louis Ploch has characterized it, "A variation on the theme of getting by ... through a skillful and, in some cases, an ingenious combination of clamming, lobstering, worming and wreathing."

Agriculture has never been a major factor in Addison's commercial life. While people farmed,they apparently did so as an adjunct to other businesses and occupations.

Key Dates in History

pre-1603 Red Paint People and other Native American settlements and activities1604 Champlain visited general region1770-1800 Migrants from Cape Cod to Addison for cod fishing, utilization of saltmarsh hay, and other small farming and forestry occupations1797 Town of Addison incorporated1800 Three thriving villages established in Addison: Addison Point, IndianRiver, and South Addison1860-1869 Peak of ship building era in Addison1860 Population peaks at 12621866 100 Addison residents migrate to Palestine aboard the "NellieChapman" to join a religious community1800-1900 90 wooden ships built in Addison during this period1891 last of the wooden schooners, "Annie M. Preble" built and launched inAddison1880-1950 Period of quarry operations for local "black diamond" granite1880-1950 Local seafood processing at its peak in Addison1938 Great Addison Point village fire - several businesses lost1960 Population declines to lowest level since 1800 - 744 persons

Early Settlement

The earliest white settlers in Addison were from Martha’s Vineyard. They were looking for richerfarmlands, cod and good meadow grass for their cattle.Some of the earliest permanent settlers, of whom we have any knowledge, were William Hix,Wilmont Wass, Moses Plummer, Seth Norton, Richard Samuel Coffin, Tilly White, Daniel Look andJohn Nash, with most arriving in 1767.Addison was settled about 1779 and was organized as a plantation, known as “Number Six West ofMachias”. It was then called Pleasant River and also “Englishman’s River”. It was incorporated as a town on February 14, 1797, and named in honor of the English writer, Joseph Addison.The Bangor Historical Magazine gives the entire number of inhabitants as 213, on April 27, 1778.It is said, “practically all the residents of Addison are descendents in one way or another of the Vineyard Settlers.”

The town itself spreads over a large area and includes many island, coves and headlands.In the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s there were manufacturing plants including clam, sardine,blueberry and lobster canneries. None of these are in existence at the present time.Today Addison is mainly a fishing port with lobsters, scallops, clams, periwinkles and mussels as the principal catches.

Mayhew Library

The Mayhew Library called the “Addison Public Library” when it first opened on January 30, 1892,the library was renamed in 1897 to honor both Calista Wass Mayhew, the daughter of David andHadassah Wass, and her husband, Francis L Mayhew, who had generously aided and supported itsgrowth during its early years.The first library building was on the North Side of Water Street, in a building that also served as ashoe shop and telegraph office. The telegraph operator Minnie Wass, was the first librarian, whileher brother, Frank N. Wass, ran a harness and shoe shop in the same building. In 1915 CalistaWass Mayhew purchased the building and the lot on which it stood, and gave it to the libraryassociation.In May 1938, the devastating fire at Addison Point destroyed the old Mayhew Library. Herbert andRoss Ward, who lost their house in the fire, donated their vacant lot to the library association. Thepresent library building was erected on this site, opening to the public on December 20, 1939.Addison has two buildings that are listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings (the IndianRiver Baptist Church and the Union Evangelical Church on the Ridge Road).The Maine Historic Preservation Commission lists 28 prehistoric archaeological sites along theAddison coastline, 11 of which are considered significant.The Pleasant River Historical Society helps build public awareness of the importance of historic sitesand buildings. There is currently no direct municipal involvement in protecting historic resources inAddison.


After the Civil War a construction boom on the eastern seaboard stimulated a rise in granite quarries.There were several quarries in Addison. The “Pleasant River Block Granite Company” was locatedon the east side of Pleasant River; the “Black Diamond Granite Quarry” (Lang’s Quarry) was onYoho Bay; a paving stone quarry was located on the west side of the river; and Moose-A-Bec Quarryon Hardwood Island.Stone in the rough shape and monuments made here were shipped to all parts of the United Statesand were used in the construction of many famous buildings.The quarries dwindled as the demand for granite declines, ceasing around 1920. However, in recentyears there has been a quarry started in the Basin area known as the Fletcher Granite Co.


The first schools in town were held in private homes. Gradually the town established separateschool districts: in 1855 there were 14 districts, with additional pupils on Nash Island. There wereone-room one-teacher schools. Later the S.S. Nash School at the Point became the sole school forAddison students.In the fall of 1966 Addison consolidated with five other towns into SAD 37, with Narraguagus HighSchool in Harrington serving the whole district. In 1975 the D.W. Merritt Elementary School wasconstructed for all students, K-8.


Since everything had to be shipped by water, shipbuilding was very important for the growth of thetown.There were four shipyards making the center of the little town a busy spot. The four yards locatedon crooked Pleasant River were Look Brother’s Yard, Knowles Shipyards, Nash Shipyard and theWilliam Nash Shipyard.At least 83 vessels were built in Addison from 1800-to 1900. The peak decade was 1860-1870 when21 vessels were constructed. The Annie M. Preble was the last vessel built in Addison during thepeak years. It would be more than 100 years before another vessel would be built on the banks ofthe Pleasant River; “RawFaith” in 2003In 1866, in Leander Knowles’ shipyard the vessel “Nellie Chapin” was built. This was the ship onwhich the Palestine Emigration Colony made their ill-fated voyage to Jaffa that year. Many membersof the Colony were from Addison, Indian River and Jonesport. They had sold their land andpossessions with the plan to settle in Jaffa. When their settlement failed many families returnedhome to Maine practically destitute. A few families went further west and set up new homes inMichigan.

Historic Buildings

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission maintains an inventory of important sites includingbuildings or sites on the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP). They record two such listingsfor the town both of which are shown on Map 2, Addison Public Facilities and Cemeteries:

* Indian River Baptist Church, Route 187
* UNION evangelical Church, Addison Ridge Road

MHPC notes that a comprehensive survey of Addison’s above-ground historic resources isneeded to identify other properties which may be eligible for nomination to the National Registerof Historic Places. The following buildings, shown on Map 2: Addison Public Facilities andCemeteries, are of historic importance to the town’s residents and might be worth consideration forlisting on the National Register of Historic Places for Addison:

* The Church on the Hill - “Baptist Church Society”
* Indian River Grange Hall

There are many older homes in Addison and if property owners choose to nominate their propertiesto the National Historic Register they are encouraged to do so.


Cemeteries are a cultural resource providing insight into the history of the community. There are approximately forty cemeteries and family graveyards in Addison including a few additionalcemeteries in the bordering towns of Jonesport and Harrington that have been catalogued andpublished complete in 1998 by members of the Pleasant River Historical Society.

* Addison Point and West Side
** Church Hill Cemetery
** Nash Cemetery at Addison Point on West Branch Stream
** Dyer Cemetery on the llama farm property
** Cemetery on Nat Lord property, (in Harrington)
** Ramsdell's Cove Cemetery, (in Harrington)
* Wescogus
** Wescogus Cemetery on Tracy corner
** Norton Cemetery, on the road to Wescogus
** Merritt Cemetery, behind the gravel pit on Route 187
** Marshall/Sawyer Cemetery in John Foss field
* Indian River. Basin and along the south part of Route 187
** Indian River Cemetery, (in Jonesport)
** Leighton Cemetery at Hall's Hill
** Zebediah Alley family, on Crowley's Island
** Crowley's Island Cemetery
** William Gray family Cemetery on Basin Road
** Hiram Tabbutt family Cemetery
** Carver Cemetery on the Lang's Quarry Road
** Basin Cemetery
** Cemetery near Margaret Stevens (none found)
** Batson Cemetery, near Ronnie Look
** Newberry Cemetery near, Austin Lamson
** Kelley Cemetery near the shore
** Chandler Cemetery on Bickford Point
** Joyville Cemetery
** Doyle Island
* East Side
** Norton Family Cemetery, behind Carlton Norton's
** Look Family Cemetery, north of Walter Batson's
** Look Cemetery
** Eastside Cemetery
** Graves at Three Brooks (none found)
** Look Graves behind Preble house
** Foster, Hinkley, Irons & Norton graves, near Stoddard House
** Look and Redimarker, behind Shirley Redimarker's
** Farnsworth graves in Walter Batson's pasture
* South Addison and Cape Split
** South Addison Cemetery
** Cape Split Cemetery
** Ladd-Look Family Cemetery
** Wass Cemetery near Miranda Thompson house
** Harry and Vesta Wass Cemetery
** Tabbutt Cemetery, across from Lea Reiber field
** Christopher Wass Cemetery

Islands Within the Town of Addison

* Batson Ledges - Private
* Bar Island - Private island
* Benjys Island - Private island
* Big Nash Island - Private island
* Bryants Island - Private
* Burnt Island - Private Great Auk Land Trust easement
* Carrying Place Island - Private island
* Chandlers Island - Private island
* Crowleys Island - Private PRWF island (Pleasant River Wildlife Foundation)
* Daniels Island - Private Maine Islands Trails Association island
* Doyle Island - Private island
* Drisko Island - Private Great Auk Land Trust easement
* Duck Ledges - Private
* Dyers Island - Private island
* Eagle Island - Private Great Auk Land Trust easement
* Flat Island - Private island
* Gibbs Island - Private island
* Goose Island - Private island
* Gooseberry Nubble
* Wolverton - Private
* Green Island - Private Maine Islands Trails Association easement
* Hardward Island - Private island
* Hemlock Island - Private island
* Innergoose Island - Public island (Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife)
* Innersand Island - Federal Gov’t 1 USFWS ownership (United States Fisheries & Wildlife Service)
* Jerdens Island - Private island
* John Whites Island - Private island
* Laddle Island - Private island
* Little Drisko Island - Public State of Maine - Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
* Lower Birch Island - Private island
* Mash Harbor Island - Private island
* Marsh Island - Private island
* Mink Island - Private island
* Nash Island
* Nightcap Island - Private Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife easement
* Norton's Island - Private trust
* Norton Island Ledges
* Fisherman's Ledge
* One Bush Island - Private island
* Outer Goose Island - Private island
* Outersand Island - Private island
* East Plummer Island
* West Plummer Island
* Pots Rock - Private
* Ram Island - Private island
* Raspberry Island - Private island
* Round Goose Island - Private island
* Sawyer's Island - Private island
* Seaduck Ledges - Private
* Shabbit Island - Private island
* Sheep Island - Private island
* Sheldrake Island - Private island
* Steven's Island - State of Maine - Maine Islands Trails Association
* Tibbetts Sheep Island - Private island
* Tom's Island - Private island
* Upperbirch Island - Private Nature Conservatory Preserve
* Witchwood Island - Private island


External links

last = Varney
first = George J.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Addison
place = Boston
publisher = Russell
year = 1886
volume =
edition =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =

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