Alfred, Maine

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

imagesize =
image_caption = Village Square


mapsize =
map_caption =

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Maine
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = York
government_footnotes =
government_type = Board of Selectmen
leader_title = Selectman
leader_name = Glenn Dochtermann
John Sylvester
David Burns
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1794

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 72.3
area_land_km2 = 70.6
area_water_km2 = 1.7
area_total_sq_mi = 27.9
area_land_sq_mi = 27.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.7

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 2497
population_density_km2 = 35.4
population_density_sq_mi = 91.7

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 88
elevation_ft = 289
latd = 43 |latm = 28 |lats = 57 |latNS = N
longd = 70 |longm = 43 |longs = 7 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 04002
area_code = 207
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 23-00730
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0582319
website =
footnotes =

Alfred is a town in York County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 2,497. Alfred is the county seat of York County GR|6, and home to part of the Massabesic Experimental Forest. The Alfred Historic District includes 48 houses on the National Register of Historic Places.

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


Abenaki Native Americans called the area Massabesic, meaning "large pond," or "the place of much water." It was in the western portion of a large tract of land purchased from Indian chiefs Fluellin, Hombinowitt and Meeksombe (also known as Captain Sunday), between 1661 and 1664 by Major William Phillips, an owner of mills in Saco (which then included Biddeford). According to historian Jim Brunelle, editor of the "Maine Almanac," the price was "two large blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, 20 strings of beads and several other articles."

Simeon Coffin of Newbury, Massachusetts arrived in 1764 and lived for a time in a wigwam, although the first permanent settlement took place in 1770. Known as the north parish of Sanford, the community was set off and incorporated as a district on February 4, 1794. Sawmills and gristmills operated by water power at the streams. A log jail was built in 1803, with a brick jail in 1869. The courthouse was built in 1806, the year Alfred became the shiretown of York County. It was incorporated as a town in 1808, named in honor of King Alfred the Great. Land would be set off to Sanford in 1828, and annexed from Waterboro in 1847. The Rochester & Portland Railroad entered from Waterboro in 1864, connecting to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1871. More than 30 trains passed through Alfred daily between 1910 and 1920, but use would decline in the age of automobiles. Passenger service ceased in 1949, with the final train departing in 1961. A severe drought in Maine tindered the Great Fires of 1947, burning convert|4500|acre|km2 of woodland and 2 residences in the town.

A Shaker religious community once thrived in Alfred. In 1783, members of the Shaker Church settled on the hill near Massabesic (now Shaker) Pond. Others dubbed them the "Merry Dancers," because of their ecstatic worship. "They were," as historian George J. Varney writes, "at this time fanatical in religion and intemperate in their indulgences." Organized in 1793, Alfred Shaker Village practiced the religion's celebate communal living, with equality among the sexes and races. They built plain architecture and furniture, honest expressions of their faith. At the movement's height in the 1840s, Shakers operated 19 utopian communities scattered from Maine to Kentucky, and as far west as Indiana. But among all the "societies," Alfred Shaker Village in particular was noted for "spiritualistic healing of the sick." It was also where Elder Joseph Brackett wrote the famous 1848 Shaker dancing song, "Simple Gifts".

Only Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester survives under the control of the last few Shakers. Some former communities operate today as museums because, like Alfred Shaker Village, they closed when the congregation dwindled. In 1931, the Alfred property was sold to the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who allow the Friends of Alfred Shaker Village to operate a museum in one of the site's original Shaker buildings. Although the Shakers are gone, some of their apple orchards and blueberry fields are still yielding fruit, the sale of which helps support the York County Shelter.

Notable residents

* Joseph Brackett, Shaker elder & songwriter
* Joshua Herrick, congressman
* John Holmes, senator


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.9 square miles (72.3 km²), of which, 27.2 square miles (70.6 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²) of it (2.40%) is water. Alfred is drained by the Middle Branch of the Mousam River, Littlefield River, Hay Brook and Trafton Brook. Yeaton Hill has an elevation of 602 feet (183 m), and Brackett Hill an elevation of 480 feet (146 m). The highest point in town is on Fort Ridge, elevation 1,020 feet (311 m), at the Shapleigh line.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 2,497 people, 996 households, and 682 families residing in the town. The population density was 91.7 people per square mile (35.4/km²). There were 1,103 housing units at an average density of 40.5/sq mi (15.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.52% White, 0.24% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.48% Asian, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.12% of the population.

There were 996 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 105.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $40,583, and the median income for a family was $47,625. Males had a median income of $36,957 versus $25,026 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,337. About 4.2% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.8% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.


Alfred has three selectmen who manage town business. Selectmen are elected in an annual town meeting to three year terms.


Alfred's children attending public school go to Alfred Elementary School from kindergarten through sixth grade. Seventh and eighth grade students attend Massabesic Middle School in Waterboro. Ninth through twelfth graders attend Massabesic High School in Waterboro. Elementary aged students may also attend the private Unlimited Vision Montessori School.

ites of interest

* [ Alfred Shaker Museum]
* [ Alfred Village Museum]


External links

* [ Town of Alfred, Maine]
* [ Alfred at Maine.Gov]
* [ Alfred Elementary School]
* [ Massabesic Experimental Forest]
* [ City Data Profile]
* [ Epodunk Town Profile]
* [ York County Shelter]
* [ History of Alfred, Maine (1886)]
* [ History of Alfred Shaker Village]
* [ History of York County Courthouse]

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