Belgrade, Maine

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Belgrade is a town in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,978 at the 2000 census. Belgrade's population, however, approximately doubles during the summer months as part-year residents return to seasonal camps located on the shores of Great Pond, Long Pond and Messalonskee Lake. Belgrade includes the villages of North Belgrade, Belgrade Depot and Belgrade Lakes (or The Village).



The land was originally owned by the Plymouth Company, from which inhabitants obtained their titles. Called Washington Plantation, it was first settled in 1774 by Philip Snow from New Hampshire. On February 3, 1796, it was incorporated as Belgrade, named after Belgrade, Serbia. The surface of the town is uneven, much of it covered by water in the form of a connected chain of lakes. The largest lake is Great Pond, which dominates the town. Agriculture became the chief occupation of the inhabitants, with potatoes the principal crop.

Outlets of the ponds provided water power for mills. In 1859, there was a shovel factory and spool factory, as well as several sawmills and gristmills. By 1886, there were also factories that made rakes, shingles, excelsior, scythes and boxes. With the arrival of the railroad, Belgrade developed into a tourist resort of fishing, boating and lakeside cottages. The Belgrade Hotel, designed by noted Portland architect John Calvin Stevens, was built at Belgrade Lakes. The town was an annual summertime destination for the writers E.B. White and Ernest Thompson. The latter's sojourns at Great Pond inspired his 1979 play On Golden Pond, which was made into the Academy Award–winning 1981 movie, On Golden Pond.

Notable people

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