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—  City  —
Main Street in 1913
Calais is located in Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Coordinates: 45°9′58″N 67°14′33″W / 45.16611°N 67.2425°W / 45.16611; -67.2425
Country United States
State Maine
County Washington
Settled 1779
Incorporated June 16, 1809
 - Mayor Vinton Cassidy
 - Total 40.0 sq mi (103.7 km2)
 - Land 34.0 sq mi (88.2 km2)
 - Water 6.0 sq mi (15.5 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 3,447
 Density 101.3/sq mi (39.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 04619
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-09585
GNIS feature ID 0563341

Calais is a city in Washington County, Maine, United States. The city has three United States border crossings or also known as a Port of entry (POE) with the busiest being on the St. Croix River bordering St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. Calais has historically been a city of commerce and is recognized as the primary shopping center of eastern Washington County and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. Currently retail, service, and construction businesses are the primary components of the Calais economy. The population was 3,447 at the 2000 census. The local pronunciation of Calais rhymes with palace. About this sound listen .

Calais, was named for the French city of the same spelling (but decidedly different pronunciation), because it is located across the Saint Croix River from Dover Hill in New Brunswick, Canada. (Dover, England lies just across the English Channel from Calais, France.) The first permanent European settlement here was in 1770, although in 1604, geographer Samuel de Champlain and Pierre Dugua, the Sieur de Mons, established a short-lived settlement 8 miles to the south of the downtown, on St. Croix Island in what is now the village of Red Beach.

A former shipping community, Calais has many historic sites, including historic districts and museum -- the Dr. Job Holmes Cottage -- just south of the downtown on U.S. Route 1. Calais shares the border with St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, which is just across the St. Croix River. Three international bridges connect these two communities. Situated as it is, Calais is one of the busiest border crossings with Canada. The relationship between Calais and St. Stephen is so close that they celebrate with a multiple-day International Festival each year. There's a parade across the Ferry Point International Bridge, and the mayors of both communities shake hands across the border.



The river and its area were first explored by Samuel de Champlain when he and his men spent a winter on St. Croix Island in 1604. The first permanent settler was Daniel Hill of Jonesboro, who arrived in 1779, and with others built the first sawmill in 1782. On June 27, 1789, the Massachusetts General Court sold the township to Waterman Thomas for 19¢ an acre (Approx $2.30 an acre in 2006 dollars). Early occupations included farming, hunting and ship building.

On June 16, 1809, Plantation Number 5 PS was incorporated as Calais after Calais, France, in honor of French assistance during the American Revolution. The river provided the mill town with water power for industry, which included sawmills, clapboard and shingle mills, 2 planing mills, a saw factory, 2 axe factories and 4 grain mills. There were foundries, machine shops, granite works, shoe factories and a tannery. Other businesses produced bricks, bedsteads, brooms, carriages and plaster.

Calais Avenue in c. 1905

Calais is the home of the first railroad built in the state of Maine, the Calais Railroad incorporated by the state legislature on February 17, 1832.[1] It was built to transport lumber from a mill on the Saint Croix River opposite Milltown, New Brunswick two miles (3 km) to the tidewater at Calais in 1835. In 1849, the name was changed to the Calais & Baring Railroad and the line was extended four more miles to Baring.[2] In 1870, it became part of the St. Croix & Penobscot Railroad.[3]

Calais was incorporated as a city on August 24, 1850. On July 18, 1864, Confederate agents crossed the border from New Brunswick, and robbed a bank in Calais.[4]

The Calais Free Library was designed by noted Boston architect Arthur H. Vinal and opened on July 4, 1893. The Romanesque Revival building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Calais has both a residential and downtown historic district.

Notable residents


Calais is located at 45°9′58″N 67°14′33″W / 45.16611°N 67.2425°W / 45.16611; -67.2425 (45.166045, -67.242434)[5].

Calais viewed from St. Stephen across the St. Croix River

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.0 square miles (103.7 km²), of which, 34.0 square miles (88.2 km²) of it is land and 6.0 square miles (15.5 km²) of it (14.94%) is water. Calais is located at the head of tide on the St. Croix River. Recently, the City of Calais acquired Devil's Head. This remarkable site comprises 318 acres of land; one mile of frontage on the St Croix estuary; 6/10 of a mile of frontage on Coastal U.S. Route One; and having a variety of significant features, including: a 340' high granite headland towering over the estuary; low tide sand and boulder beach; upland forest and abundant wildlife. Trail construction was completed in 2003. In addition, Calais is the northern terminus of the East Coast Greenway which has its southern terminus in Key West, Florida.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1810 372
1820 418 12.4%
1830 1,686 303.3%
1840 2,934 74.0%
1850 4,749 61.9%
1860 5,621 18.4%
1870 5,944 5.7%
1880 6,173 3.9%
1890 7,290 18.1%
1900 7,655 5.0%
1910 6,116 −20.1%
1920 6,084 −0.5%
1930 5,470 −10.1%
1940 5,161 −5.6%
1950 4,589 −11.1%
1960 4,223 −8.0%
1970 4,044 −4.2%
1980 4,262 5.4%
1990 3,963 −7.0%
2000 3,447 −13.0%
Est. 2006 3,227 −6.4%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 3,447 people, 1,486 households, and 904 families residing in the city. The population density was 101.3 people per square mile (39.1/km²). There were 1,921 housing units at an average density of 56.4/sq mi (21.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.81% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.49% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,486 households out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,623, and the median income for a family was $39,118. Males had a median income of $37,684 versus $20,058 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,135. About 11.1% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 19.6% of those age 65 or over.


Calais is located along US 1.svg U.S. 1 and MA Route 9.svg Maine State Route 9.


The City of Calais operates under the council-manager form of government. The current city manager is Diane Barnes. Some past city managers include: William Bridgeo, Nancy Orr, and Mark Ryckman. The current city mayor is Vinton Cassidy.


Public Safety

Calais has a full time Police, Fire, and EMS department.


Public Schools

Calais has an elementary school, a middle school, a high school, and a technical school.

Higher Education

Calais is home to a community college and a school for extended learning and continuing education. The University of Maine at Machias and a Boat School in Eastport, ME is located nearby as well.


Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) currently has 15 acute care beds and 10 swing beds, in addition to a 24-hour physician staffed emergency department. It continues to serve Northeastern Washington County with an approximate population of 14,000 from Topsfield to the North, Wesley to the West and Eastport to the south. CRH is the largest employer in Calais, employing more than 200 people. The hospital is licensed by the State of Maine.

International Border Crossings

U.S. Port of Entry

The Ferry Point International Bridge and the Milltown International Bridge connect Calais to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. Construction began in 2008 on a third bridge and Port of entry (POE) to connect the two communities as well. Referred to as the International Avenue Bridge, this bridge and POE opened on November 16, 2009 and serves commercial, cargo, trucking, passenger vehicles, campers, RVs, and buses. However, both Ferry Point and Milltown crossings remain in use for passenger vehicles.[9]

The new inspection facility alleviates traffic congestion from downtown Calais and the neighboring towns in Canada. It is equipped with state-of-the-art security equipment that allows for efficient processing of both commercial and passenger vehicles. The new facility is occupied by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). This facility was built as part of GSA's high performance green building program and has received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for comprehensive use of sustainable design and technology. Recycled, reused, and local materials were used during the construction. The facility conserves energy by bringing natural light into every occupied space, and conserves water by using low-flow fixtures that consumes 40 percent less water than traditional plumbing. The Calais Port of entry, designed by Robert Siegel Architects, provides six lanes of non-commercial inspection and three lanes of commercial inspection.

Calais LNG

Calais LNG is proposing to construct and operate a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) receiving terminal and storage facility on the outskirts of Calais, Maine. The 330-acre site is located approximately seven miles south of downtown Calais and features 2,800 feet of shoreline along the deepwater banks of the St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay. The Calais LNG facility will feature: 1) A pier with berthing for one LNG vessel, 2) Two 160,000-cubic-meter, full-containment LNG storage tanks, with potential expansion for a third tank, 3) LNG receiving facility, 4) Send-out plant & ancillary features, and 5) A 20-mile pipeline connecting the facility to the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The project is estimated to support approximately 250 construction jobs and between 40 and 60 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. Calais LNG has secured the financial support of Goldman Sachs as a key investor and put together a group of highly experienced industry and regional experts.

A major hurdle is the opposition of the Canadian federal government, which has said it will not permit LNG tankers to pass through Head Harbor Passage, which they would have to do to reach the Calais LNG terminal. [10] Another related, but separate, major obstacle is the US Coast Guard requirement (issued re the Downeast LNG project but equally applicable to all LNG transits in the waterway) to obtain Government of Canada's coordination and cooperation to ensure safe and secure LNG transits through the waterway.[11] In its database on proposed energy projects, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lists the Calais LNG project’s completion as “unlikely.” [12]


There are a few television stations (mostly from Saint John, New Brunswick and Bangor, Maine) that serve Calais via rebroadcast transmitters:

Call letters Analog Channel Digital Channel Network City and state/province Origin Station
CBAT-TV 4 62 (not yet in service) CBC Fredericton, NB CBAT-TV
CBAFT-1 5 5 Unknown Radio-Canada Saint John, NB CBAFT
CKLT-TV 9 66 (not yet in service) CTV Saint John, NB CKLT-TV
CIHF-2 12 12 Unknown Global Saint John, NB CIHF-TV
WMED 13 10.1, 10.2 MPBN/PBS Calais, ME WMEB
W21BH 21 None TBN Machias, ME W21BH
W57AQ 57 8 NBC Calais, ME WLBZ
W61AO 61 None CBS Calais, ME WABI-TV

Stations available on Cable:

Downeast Sites of Interest


  1. ^ Railroads and Canals of the United States of America, by Henry V. Poor (New York: John H. Schultz & Co, 1860), page 35. [1]
  2. ^ Railroads and Canals of the United States of America, by Henry V. Poor (New York: John H. Schultz & Co, 1860), pages 21-2. [2]
  3. ^ Report on the Agencies of Transportation in the United States 1880 by United States Census Bureau (Washington DC: 1883). [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ [5], accessed December, 2007.
  7. ^ Lewiston city, Maine - Population Finder - American FactFinder
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "U.S. gives go ahead to third bridge", St. Croix Courier, September 26, 2006.
  10. ^ Province makes its case: Energy: Government files motion with U.S. energy regulator outlining reasons why Calais LNG proposal should be rejected, Telegraph-Journal, 2010 February 1
  11. ^ US Coast Guard Waterway Suitability Report and Letter of Recommendation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  12. ^ Calais LNG, Calais Project, US Chamber of Commerce

Further reading

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CALAIS, a city and sub-port of entry of Washington county, Maine, U.S.A., on the Saint Croix river, 12 m. from its mouth, opposite Saint Stephens, New Brunswick, with which it is connected by bridges. Pop. (1890) 7290; (1900) 7655, of whom 1908 were foreign-born. It is served by the Washington County railway (102.5 m. to Washington Junction, where it connects with the Maine Central railway), and by steamboat lines to Boston, Portland and Saint Johns. In the city limits are the post-offices of Calais, Milltown and Red Beach. The city has a small public library. The valley here is wide and deep, the banks of the river bold and picturesque, and the tide rises and falls about 25 ft. The city has important interests in lumber, besides foundries, machine shops, granite works - there are several granite (notably red granite) quarries in the vicinity - a tannery, and manufactories of shoes and calcined plaster. Big Island, now in the city of Calais, was visited in the winter of 1604-1605 by Pierre du Guast, sieur de Monts. Calais was first settled in 1779, was incorporated as a town in 1809, and was chartered as a city in 1851.

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