Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Cape Elizabeth is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the state's most affluent municipality (per household median income) based on Census 2000 data. The population was 9,068 at the 2000 census. A residential and resort area situated on the southern shore of Casco Bay just south of Portland, Maine, Cape Elizabeth is home to Crescent Beach State Park and Two Lights State Park. The town is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.

Cape Elizabeth is the location of the Beach to Beacon 10K road race that starts at Crescent Beach State Park (the "beach") and ends at Portland Head Light (the "beacon").



At the southern tip of the promontory, Richmond Island was visited about 1605 by Samuel de Champlain and was the site of a trading post in 1628. John Smith explored and mapped New England in 1615, and gave names to places mainly based on the names used by Native Americans. When Smith presented his map to King Charles I, he suggested that the king should feel free to change any of the "barbarous names" for English ones. The king made many such changes, but only four survive today, one of which is Cape Elizabeth, which Charles named in honor of his sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia.[1]

The first habitation by Europeans was on Richmond Island. Without title, Walter Bagnall (called "Great Walt") in 1628 established a trading post, dealing in rum and beaver skins. "His principal purpose appears to have been to drive a profitable trade with the Indians," writes historian George J. Varney, "without scruple about his methods." His cheating caught up with him in October of 1631, however, when he was killed by the Indians, who also burned down his trading post. [2]

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