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Augusta, Maine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flag of Augusta
Official seal of Augusta
Official logo of Augusta
A Capital Opportunity[1]
Augusta is located in Maine
Location in Maine
Augusta is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°18′38″N 69°46′46″W / 44.31056°N 69.77944°W / 44.31056; -69.77944
CountryUnited States
RegionNew England
Incorporated (town)February 20, 1797
Incorporated (city)August 20, 1849
VillageNorth Augusta
 • MayorMark O'Brien[2]
 • Total58.04 sq mi (150.31 km2)
 • Land55.15 sq mi (142.83 km2)
 • Water2.89 sq mi (7.48 km2)  5.00%
Elevation121 ft (37 m)
 • Total18,899
 • Density342.70/sq mi (132.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
04330, 04332-04333, 04336, 04338
Area code207
FIPS code23-02100
GNIS feature ID581636

Augusta (/əˈɡʌstə/ ə-GUSS-tə) is the capital of the U.S. state of Maine and the county seat of and most populous city in Kennebec County. Augusta is included in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area. [5] The city's population was 18,899 at the 2020 census,[6] making it the 12th most populous city in Maine, and 3rd least populous state capital in the United States after Montpelier, Vermont, and Pierre, South Dakota.

The area was explored in 1607 by English settlers from the Popham Colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River.[7] Before European settlement, Algonquian-speaking Indians lived in the area.[7] In 1625, representatives of Plymouth Colony chose the east shore of the Kennebec for a trading post, which was likely built in 1628 and became known as "Cushnoc".[7] The Kennebec Proprietors, successors to the Plymouth Company, built Fort Western near the site of the abandoned trading post in 1754 and began settlement efforts.[7][8] The new village was incorporated as Hallowell in 1771, and the upriver part of town separated in 1797 to form the town of Harrington. On June 9, 1797, Harrington changed its name to Augusta and, in 1827, it was designated capital of Maine.[7]

Augusta is the easternmost state capital in the United States.[9] Located on the Kennebec River at the head of tide, it is the principal city in the Augusta-Waterville micropolitan statistical area and home to the University of Maine at Augusta.[10] Because of the city's position on the Kennebec, downtown Augusta is vulnerable to floods in spring.[11] The Maine flood of 1987, known as the "Great Flood", affected the city.[11] Bond Brook runs from northwest to southeast through the city center, and has been called the "Home of wild Atlantic Salmon".[11]

The city has five different residential areas, including the "west side", a historic neighborhood north of the state capitol complex, and the "east side", which is situated on the opposite side of the Kennebec.[12] The city's northwest quadrant includes both a retail center and neighborhoods.[12]

Augusta State Airport serves the city, offering both commercial service and general aviation.[11] Although the airport is owned by the State of Maine, it is managed and operated by the city.[11] Interstate 95 passes by the western outskirts of Augusta, and both U.S. 202 and U.S. 201 run through the city.

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The area was first explored by the English of the short-lived Popham Colony in September 1607. Twenty-one years later, English settlers from the Plymouth Colony settled in the area in 1628 as part of a trading post on the Kennebec River. The settlement was known by its Native American name Cushnoc (or Coussinoc or Koussinoc), meaning "head of the tide". Fur trading was at first profitable, but because of Native uprisings and declining revenues, Plymouth Colony sold the Kennebec Patent[discuss] in 1661. Cushnoc would remain unoccupied for the next 75 years.[13]

The area around Cushnoc was inhabited by the Kennebec, a band of the larger Abenaki nation. During the 17th century, they were on friendly terms with the English settlers in the region.[14]

A hotbed of Abenaki hostility toward British settlements was located further up the Kennebec at Norridgewock. In 1722, the tribe and its allies attacked Fort Richmond (now Richmond) and destroyed Brunswick. In response, English forces sacked Norridgewock in 1724 during Dummer's War, when the English gained tentative control of the Kennebec.

During the height of the French and Indian War, in 1754, the English colonists built a blockhouse named Fort Western at Cushnoc on the eastern bank of the Kennebec River. It was intended as a supply depot for Fort Halifax upriver, as well as a regional defense from French attack.[15] Later, during the American Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold and his 1,100 troops would use Fort Western as a staging area before continuing their journey up the Kennebec to the Battle of Quebec.

The Maine State House, built 1829–1832

Cushnoc was incorporated as part of Hallowell in 1771. Known as "the Fort", it was set off and incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court in February 1797 as Harrington. In August, however, the name was changed to Augusta after Pamela Augusta Dearborn, daughter of Henry Dearborn. In 1799, it was designated as the county seat for the newly created Kennebec County.[15]

Maine became a state in 1820 as a result of the Missouri Compromise. Augusta was designated as its capital in 1827, over the current capital of Portland, and rival communities Brunswick and Hallowell. The Maine State Legislature continued meeting in Portland, however, until the completion of the Maine State House in 1832, designed by Charles Bulfinch. Augusta was incorporated as a city in 1849.[16] After being named the state capital and the introduction of new industry, the city flourished. In 1840 and 1850, the city ranked among the 100 largest urban populations in the country. During the next decade, however, the city was quickly bypassed by rapidly growing metropolises in the Midwest.[17]

Excellent soil provided for agriculture, and water power from streams provided for the industry. In 1837, a dam was built across the Kennebec where the falls drop 15  feet at the head of a tide. By 1838, 10 sawmills were contracted. With the arrival of the Kennebec & Portland Railroad in 1851, Augusta became an even more productive mill town. In 1883, the property of A. & W. Sprague Company was purchased by the Edwards Manufacturing Company, which erected extensive brick mills for manufacturing cotton textiles. They imported cotton from the South for processing and export to Europe. In the late 19th century, a paper and pulp plant was constructed.[18]

Other Augusta firms produced lumber, sash, doors, window shutters, broom handles, stone cutters' tools, shoes, headstones, ice and furniture. The city developed as a publishing and shipping center. Today, government and post-secondary education are important businesses.[19]

Since the mid-eighteenth century, there has been a military presence in Augusta. Fort Western has not had troops garrisoned there since the 1790s, but in 1828, the U.S. Government built an arsenal to protect their interests from Britain. During the Civil War, Augusta was a rendezvous point for Union soldiers traveling to the front. Many of the soldiers camped on the green in front of the capitol building. In 1862, Camp E.D. Keyes was established in the northwestern portion of the city.

During World War I, Camp Keyes was used as a mobilization and training camp for soldiers. The camp eventually became a headquarters for the Maine National Guard. In 1929, the state legislature approved the placement of the Augusta State Airport next to the camp. As the airport grew, the use of the camp as a training facility was no longer possible. Today, it is still used for administrative and logistical purposes by the National Guard.

In the 19th century, Augusta got a regular steamboat service and the railroad. The city installed gas lights in 1859. A telephone service was available in 1880 and a local hospital in 1898. In the early 20th century, Augusta built two movie houses and a film production studio.

Downtown revitalization

For much of Augusta's history, the central business district was on and near Water Street on the west bank of the Kennebec River. The street, laid out in the late 1700s, was the location of the area's commercial and industrial life. Many fires damaged this concentrated area, including one in 1865 that destroyed nearly 100 buildings. In 1890, the first trolley line began operation down Water Street, connecting Augusta with Gardiner and Hallowell to the south.

In 1932, buses replaced the trolley line. With the completion of the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 95 in 1955, local commercial developments began to move away from Water Street and closer to the highway. Among the results was a storefront vacancy rate downtown of about 60 percent.[20]

Since the late 2000s, there has been a renewed and ongoing focus by city officials, the Augusta Downtown Alliance, and private developers to revitalize the downtown area.


Augusta is located at 44°18′38″N 69°46′46″W / 44.31056°N 69.77944°W / 44.31056; -69.77944,[21] making it the easternmost state capital in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 58.03 sq mi (150.30 km2), of which 55.13 sq mi (142.79 km2) is land and 2.90 sq mi (7.51 km2) is water.[22] Augusta is drained by Bond's Brook, Woromontogus Stream and the Kennebec River.


The city is crossed by Interstate 95, U.S. Route 201, State Route 11, U.S. Route 202, State Route 9, State Route 3, State Route 100, State Route 27, State Route 8, State Route 104, and State Route 105.


Augusta borders the towns of Manchester to its west, Sidney and Vassalboro to its north, Windsor to its east, Chelsea to its south, and the city of Hallowell to its southwest.


Augusta's climate is classified as a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb). Summers are typically warm, rainy, and humid, while winters are cold, windy, and snowy. Spring and fall are usually mild, but conditions are widely varied, depending on wind direction and jet stream positioning.

The hottest month is July, with an average high temperature of 80 °F (26.7 °C). The coldest month is January, with an average low of 10 °F (−12.2 °C). Most snowfall occurs from December through March. There is usually little or no snow in April and November, and snow is rare in May and October.[23]

Climate data for Augusta, Maine (Augusta State Airport), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1948–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 61
Mean maximum °F (°C) 49.7
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 28.8
Daily mean °F (°C) 20.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 12.1
Mean minimum °F (°C) −7.6
Record low °F (°C) −22
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.62
Average snowfall inches (cm) 19.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.1 9.5 11.0 11.9 13.1 12.7 12.2 10.7 10.2 12.3 11.3 12.3 137.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 8.7 6.9 6.1 1.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 2.8 6.9 33.6
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2010)[24][25]

See or edit raw graph data.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[26]

2010 census

As of the census[27] of 2010, there were 19,136 people, 8,802 households, and 4,490 families residing in the city. The population density was 347.1/sq mi (134.0/km2). There were 9,756 housing units at an average density of 177.0/sq mi (68.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.1% White, 1.1% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 8,802 households, of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.0% were non-families. 39.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.76.

The median age in the city was 43.2 years. 18.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 29.4% were from 45 to 64; and 18% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

2000 census

As of the census[28] of 2000, there were 18,560 people, 8,565 households, and 4,607 families residing in the city. The population density was 335.1 inhabitants per square mile (129.4/km2). There were 9,480 housing units at an average density of 171.2 per square mile (66.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.21% White, 0.50% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 1.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. 0.86% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,565 households, out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.2% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 20.5% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,921, and the median income for a family was $42,230. Males had a median income of $31,209 versus $22,548 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,145. About 11.4% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


Local government

Augusta is governed by a mayor and council-manager system. The City Council oversees all City government activities and establishes the legislative policies of the city, adopts and amends ordinances and local laws, appropriates municipal resources, and sets the tax rate. The City Manager serves as the chief executive officer and purchasing agent of the city. The mayor presides at all meetings of the council, and is recognized ceremonially as the official head of the city.

The city maintains a police department; it is remarkable for not having had an officer killed in the line of duty for over a century.[29]

Political makeup

Augusta has historically been Democratic. In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama received 5,192 of the votes to Mitt Romney's 3,339.[30]

In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden won 5,248 votes to Donald Trump's 4,155.[31]

The city has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H. W. Bush in the Republican landslide of 1988. Democrats are the majority political affiliation in all four voting wards. There are more voters who are not enrolled than there are registered Republicans in the city.

Voter registration
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November 2012[32]
Party Total Voters Percentage
Democratic 4,780 34.82%
Unenrolled 4,778 34.80%
Republican 3,656 26.63%
Green Independent 512 3.70%
Total 13,726 100%


There are five public schools, one private school, and one college (the University of Maine at Augusta).[10] There are two public libraries in Augusta, the city-operated Lithgow Public Library and the Maine State Library.

Farrington, Gilbert, Hussey, and Lincoln are the four public elementary schools that are located in the city.[33]

Cony serves students in grades 7–12 from Augusta and the surrounding towns; Cony comprises Cony Middle School and Cony High School.[34]

St. Michaels is a private Catholic school; it charges tuition to its students.[35]

The University of Maine at Augusta is third-largest university in the University of Maine System.[36]


Printed media



Augusta is part of the Portland, Maine television market, and receives most of that market's channels. WCBB channel 10, licensed to Augusta, is the local television outlet for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.[37]


Interstate 95 passes by the western outskirts of Augusta. U.S. 202 runs east–west through the city. U.S. 201 runs north–south through the city.

Augusta State Airport (AUG), in the western part of the city, has commercial flights.

Sites of interest

Notable people

A View of Old Fort Western.

See also


  1. ^ "City of Augusta, Maine". City of Augusta, Maine. Archived from the original on August 29, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Mark S. O'Brien". Augusta, ME. Archived from the original on September 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "Geographic Names Information System". Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  5. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 12, 2001.
  6. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Augusta city, Maine". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Welcome to Augusta , ME". City of Augusta, Maine. Archived from the original on July 11, 2023. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  8. ^ Snell, Charles (1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort Western" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved June 22, 2009. and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1971 (484 KB)
  9. ^ "Augusta". State Symbols USA. February 10, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  10. ^ a b "University of Maine at Augusta". Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Augusta". Maine: An Encyclopedia. March 14, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  12. ^ a b "Neighborhood Revitalization". City of Augusta, Maine. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  13. ^ Vickery, Don (July 17, 1997). "The Forgotten Inhabitants of Cushnoc". Augusta, Maine Genealogy Project. MEGenWeb Project. Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved September 25, 2007.
  14. ^ North, James W. (1870). "The History of Augusta, from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time: With Notices of the Plymouth Company, and Settlements on the Kennebec; Together with Biographical Sketches and Genealogical Register". p. 4 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ a b Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson (ed.). Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Maine: Courier-Gazette, Inc. pp. 148–152.
  16. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; Mansfield, John B. (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston: A.J. Coolidge. pp. 38–42. Retrieved November 21, 2015. coolidge mansfield history description new england 1859.
  17. ^ "Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 2, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  18. ^ "New Page 2". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  19. ^ Varney, George J. (1886). "Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Augusta". Boston: Russell. Archived from the original on March 29, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  20. ^ "Influx of arts, events in downtown Augusta signals new push for activity". July 15, 2018. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  22. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  23. ^ "May in the Northeast". 2003. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  24. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  25. ^ "Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020) Station: Augusta State AP, ME". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  26. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  28. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  29. ^ "American arms race heats up at local police level". The Daily Caller. May 7, 2012.
  30. ^ "Augusta, Maine, 2012 General Election results". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  31. ^ "2020 general election" (PDF). Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  32. ^ "REGISTERED & ENROLLED VOTERS - STATEWIDE" (PDF). State of Maine. November 6, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 11, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "City of Augusta, Maine School Department". City of Augusta, Maine. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  34. ^ "Cony". Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  35. ^ "St. Michael School". St. Michael School. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  36. ^ "UMA Quick Facts". University of Maine System. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  37. ^ "WCBB Channel 10". Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  38. ^ "Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine". Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  39. ^ "Maine State Museum". State of Maine. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007.
  40. ^ "William Bridgeo". Ballotpedia. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  41. ^ "Julia Clukey". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  42. ^ Clark, Ernie (December 20, 2013). "Augusta's Julia Clukey looks to the future after Olympic luge near-miss". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  43. ^ Levinson, Marc (2011). The Great A&P and the struggle for small business in America. Hill and Wang. ISBN 978-0-8090-9543-8.
  44. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". United States Army. Archived from the original on November 10, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.

External links

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