Charleston, Maine

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Charleston is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. It is part of the Bangor, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,397 at the 2000 census. Home to the Higgins Classical Institute, Charleston includes the village of West Charleston.



It was first settled as early as 1795 by Charles Vaughan. The land was granted on July 14, 1802 by the Massachusetts General Court to John Lowell. Known as T2 R5 NWP, or Township 2, Range 4, North of the Waldo Patent, it was incorporated on February 16, 1811 as New Charlestown, to distinguish it from Charlestown when Massachusetts included the province of Maine. But in 1820, Maine achieved statehood, so any confusion between the two ceased. Consequently, in 1827 the name was shortened to Charleston.

Sawmills were established to operate by water power at the streams. But Charleston was primarily an agricultural town. Its large farms were noted for raising horses and cattle. In 1837, the Higgins Classical Institute was founded. By 1870, the community had a population of 1,191. Between 1901-1930, the Bangor Railway & Electric Company operated trolleys on an electric railway between Bangor and Charleston.

In late 1950, construction began on the Charleston Air Force Station, part of the Aerospace Defense Command. Known as Bull Hill for its location in the town, the station was completed in early 1951, and fully-manned and operational in 1952. After the base closed, it was transformed into the Charleston Correctional Facility, which opened in 1980.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.2 square miles (104.2 km²), of which, 40.2 square miles (104.1 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.05%) is water. Charleston is drained by Rollins Brook and South Gate Brook.

The town is located near the intersection of Charleston Road and South Stagecoach Road-Atkinson Road, between Route 15 (Bangor Road) and Route 221, halfway between Schoodic Lake and Sebasticook Lake.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,397 people, 431 households, and 334 families residing in the town. The population density was 34.7 people per square mile (13.4/km²). There were 470 housing units at an average density of 11.7/sq mi (4.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.28% White, 0.72% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.21% Asian, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.21% of the population.

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