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Gardiner, Maine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gardiner, Maine
Historic downtown area
Official seal of Gardiner, Maine
Moving Forward
Location in Kennebec County and the state of Maine.
Location in Kennebec County and the state of Maine.
Gardiner, Maine is located in the United States
Gardiner, Maine
Gardiner, Maine
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°13′45″N 69°46′25″W / 44.22917°N 69.77361°W / 44.22917; -69.77361
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 17, 1803
VillagesLibby Hill
South Gardiner
 • TypeMayor and council-manager
 • MayorPatricia H. Hart
 • City ManagerAnne Davis (interim)
 • Total16.57 sq mi (42.91 km2)
 • Land15.68 sq mi (40.61 km2)
 • Water0.89 sq mi (2.30 km2)
Elevation30 ft (9 m)
 • Total5,961
 • Density380.14/sq mi (146.77/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code207
FIPS code23-27085
GNIS feature ID0566690 [2]

Gardiner is a city in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 5,961 at the 2020 census.[3] Popular with tourists, Gardiner is noted for its culture and old architecture. Gardiner is a nationally accredited Main Street America community.[4] It is included in the Augusta, Maine micropolitan New England City and Town Area.

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Located at the head of navigation on the Kennebec River, Gardiner was founded as Gardinerstown Plantation in 1754 by Dr. Silvester Gardiner, a prominent Boston physician. Dr. Gardiner had made a fortune as a drug merchant, with one apothecary shop in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut, and became a principal proprietor of the Kennebec Purchase within the old Plymouth Patent. He proved a tireless promoter for his development, which once comprised over 100,000 acres (400 km2).[5]

Dr. Gardiner induced a gristmill builder, saw millwright, house carpenter and wheelwright to settle here,[5] as well as a man he enslaved named Isaac "Hazard" Stockbridge.[6] Houses, mills, a church and a blockhouse were built. Situated at the confluence of the Kennebec River and Cobbosseecontee Stream, which has falls that drop 130 feet, the location was recognized by him as ideal for water-powered mills. Gardinerstown, set off from Pittston in 1760, became center of the regional economy.[5]

The wilderness toils of Dr. Gardiner would end, however, with the Revolution. Loyal to the Crown, he fled Boston in 1776 when the British army evacuated. But his settlement lived on without him, and in 1803 was incorporated as the town of Gardiner. From the early 19th century until the Civil War, shipbuilding and trade were primary industries. It would become a city in 1849, at which time ten large riverfront wharves served shipping. Lumber, in vast quantities, passed through Gardiner. Tanneries and shoe factories prospered.[7]

The city became known for exporting ice. Each winter men cut large blocks from the Kennebec River, then covered the ice with sawdust in warehouses to keep it frozen into summer. It was loaded year-round on large vessels for shipment throughout the United States and world. Gardiner was noted for its pristine Kennebec ice, harvested at the furthest point upriver that deep-draft vessels could reach.[8]

In 1851, the city was connected by railroad. One of the first workable steam automobiles in America was built in Gardiner in 1858. Beginning in the 1860s, paper mills flourished, as did the commercial ice industry between the 1880s and 1920s.[9] By the 1960s, however, many mills declined and closed, sending Gardiner's economy plummeting. The former mill town is now largely a bedroom community for people who work in Augusta, the state's capital, as well as Bath Iron Works in Bath. Some residents commute as far as the Portland area. The city is endowed with a great deal of antique architecture, much of it beautifully restored. In 1980, the entire downtown historic district became one of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Kennebec County, Maine.


Town common of Gardiner

Gardiner is located south of Augusta on the west side of the Kennebec River at the confluence of the Cobbesseeconte Stream.[10] Randolph lies just across the river.[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.57 square miles (42.92 km2), of which 15.65 square miles (40.53 km2) is land and 0.92 square miles (2.38 km2) is water.[12]


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Gardiner has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[13]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2010 census

As of the census[15] of 2010, there were 5,800 people, 2,487 households, and 1,550 families living in the city. The population density was 370.6 inhabitants per square mile (143.1/km2). There were 2,778 housing units at an average density of 177.5 per square mile (68.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

There were 2,487 households, of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.7% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 40.9 years. 21.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% were from 25 to 44; 30.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 6,198 people, 2,510 households, and 1,603 families living in the city. The population density was 395.6 inhabitants per square mile (152.7/km2). There were 2,702 housing units at an average density of 172.5 per square mile (66.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.90% White, 0.39% African American, 0.66% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.81% of the population.

There were 2,510 households, out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.97.

R. P. Hazzard Co. Shoe Factory in 1915

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,103, and the median income for a family was $42,750. Males had a median income of $33,069 versus $25,399 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,033. About 11.4% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.2% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.


Old High School (1870–1969), designed by Francis H. Fassett

Gardiner is part of Maine School Administrative District #11 that serves the communities of Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner. The district operates five elementary schools, a middle school, and high school. The following schools are located in Gardiner:

  • Gardiner Area High School (9–12) 620 students
  • Gardiner Regional Middle School (6–8) 421 students
  • Laura E Richards School (Pre-K–2) 233 students
  • River View Community School (3–5) 174 students


Local government

Gardiner has a Mayor and council-manager system, with all governmental powers resting in a legislative body called a City Council. Voters elect a mayor, and seven council members, one for each of Gardiner's four districts and three at-large. The council appoints a city manager to handle the ordinary business of the city.

Political makeup

In the 2012 Presidential election, Barack Obama received 1,699 of the town's votes to Mitt Romney's 1,158.[17] Political affiliation is roughly split into thirds between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Voter registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November 2012[18]
Party Total Voters Percentage
Unenrolled 1,528 34.57%
Democratic 1,487 33.65%
Republican 1,164 26.34%
Green Independent 240 5.43%
Total 4,419 100%

Sites of interest

Notable people

The Park and Palmer Fountain in 1909. Melted down for the war effort, the bronze statue was later replaced.


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 10, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Gardiner, Maine
  3. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Gardiner city, Maine". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 10, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  4. ^ Hazard, Jennifer (2021). "Main streets revitalized". Green & Healthy Maine Magazine. Archived from the original on August 27, 2023. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c "The Gardiner Story (1949)". Archived from the original on March 26, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  6. ^ Stakeman, Randolph (October 1, 1987). "Slavery in Colonial Maine". Maine History. 27 (2): 73–74. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts: A.J. Coolidge. pp. 137–138. coolidge mansfield history description new england 1859.
  8. ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Gardiner, Boston: Russell[dead link]
  9. ^ "Historical Sketch of Gardiner, Maine (1889)". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  10. ^ Miller, Kevin (June 24, 2023). "Gardiner witnessing 'spectacular event' as hundreds of sturgeon spawn near downtown". Maine Public. Archived from the original on June 25, 2023. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  11. ^ Gardiner, ME, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1980 (1991 rev.)
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  13. ^ "Climate Summary for Gardiner, Maine". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "Gardiner, Maine, 2014 Primary Election results — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine". Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "REGISTERED & ENROLLED VOTERS - STATEWIDE" (PDF). November 6, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 11, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2013.

Further reading

  • Wright, Virginia M. "The Heart of Gardiner". Down East: The Magazine of Maine (June 2012).

External links

This page was last edited on 15 February 2024, at 01:28
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