Old Town, Maine

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Old Town is a city in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,130 at the 2000 census. The city's developed area is chiefly located on a relatively large island, though its boundaries extend beyond that. The island is surrounded and defined by the Penobscot River to the east, and the Stillwater River to the west.



Abenaki Indians called it Pannawambskek, meaning "where the ledges spread out." The French established a mission here in the 1680s, although it would be settled by English settlers in 1774. The name Old Town derives from Indian Old Town, which was the English name for the largest Penobscot Indian village — Indian Island. Located in Old Town via bridge, the reservation is the current and historical home of the Penobscot Nation. [1]

In 1840, when the present city was set off from neighboring Orono (named for a Penobscot sachem), it was given the name Old Town because it contained the Penobscot village. Over time, the Penobscot village ceased to be called Old Town and the name migrated to the much newer American settlement across the river. [2]

Old Town may be best known for Old Town Canoe, a major manufacturer of canoes and kayaks, which has been based in Old Town for over 100 years. Its location along a series of drops in the Penobscot River near the head of tide just downstream in Bangor made it an ideal location in the 1800s for sawing lumber from the millions of board feet of spruce and pine logs floated annually down the Penobscot. [3]

Many of the residents work for the University of Maine in Orono and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, the two largest employers in the area. Old Town is also home to a former Georgia-Pacific paper mill that is being redeveloped.

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