Poland, Maine

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Poland is a town in Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,866 at the 2000 census. Home to Range Ponds State Park, Poland is a historic resort area. It is included in both the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan statistical area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area.

Contents

History

It was granted by the Massachusetts General Court in 1765 to officers and soldiers who served with Sir William Phipps in the 1690 Battle of Quebec. It replaced a 1736 grant made to them called Bakerstown (now Salisbury, New Hampshire) which was ruled invalid in 1741 at the separation of New Hampshire from Massachusetts. The new plantation was also called Bakerstown (after Captain Thomas Baker), and included present-day Poland, Minot, Mechanic Falls and the greater part of Auburn. [1]

Settled in 1767 by Nathaniel Bailey and Daniel Lane, Bakerstown Plantation would be incorporated as Poland on February 17, 1795. It was named after Indian Chief Poland, who was killed with two of his warriors on May 14, 1756 during the last Indian raid against New Marblehead Plantation (now Windham). [2]

At the beginning, Poland was an agricultural town, with 600 acres (2.4 km2) of the best land farmed by the Shakers who settled at Poland Hill above the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester. Called the North Family of Shakers, the village was founded by members who removed from Gorham in 1819. It lasted until 1887. [3]

Industry was attracted to Poland's water power sites. In 1859, when the population was 2,660, it had 4 sawmills, a gristmill, a tannery and a carriage factory. The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad passed through the northeastern corner of the town, spurring development and bringing tourists drawn to its scenic ponds and gentle hills. By 1893, when Mechanic Falls was set off as a separate town, Poland had evolved into a Gilded Age resort. [4]

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