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Fryeburg is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 210 at the 2010 census. Fryeburg is home to Fryeburg Academy, a private preparatory school, and the International Musical Arts Institute. The town is also site of the Fryeburg Fair, which each October attracts approximately 1 million visitors.

Contents

History

Ye Olde Inn in c. 1910

The area was once a major Abenaki Indian village known as Pequawket, meaning "crooked place," a reference to the large bend in the Saco River. It was inhabited by the Sokokis tribe, whose territory along the stream extended from what is now Saco on the coast, to Conway, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. In 1706, Chief Nescambious would be the only Indian knighted by the French.[1] The tribe was not hostile to English settlements, even hiring British carpenters to build at Pequawket a 14-foot (4.3 m) high palisade fort as protection against their traditional enemy, the Mohawks. In 1713, Sokokis sachems signed the Treaty of Portsmouth to ensure peace with English colonists. Nevertheless, Pequawket was attacked during Dummer's War on May 8, 1725 by John Lovewell and his militia. Lovewell was killed, as were Chief Paugus and others. The tribe subsequently abandoned their village and moved to Canada.

The township was granted on March 3, 1762 by the Massachusetts General Court to Colonel Joseph Frye of Andover, Massachusetts. Colonists called it Pigwacket, a corruption of its former Indian name. The first permanent settlement was in 1763 by Nathaniel Smith and his family from Concord, New Hampshire, although it is said that John Stevens, Nathaniel Merrill and a slave named Limbo spent the winter of 1762 here. Many pioneers were veterans of the French and Indian Wars. When a portion of the grant was discovered to lie in New Hampshire, replacement land was granted as Fryeburg Addition in what is now part of Stow. On the eve of American independence, the Province of Massachusetts Bay granted township privileges to Fryeburg. These were recognized and validated by the Continental Massachusetts government on January 11, 1777, when Fryeburg was incorporated.

It began as a strategic frontier outpost, and the earliest town in the White Mountain region. Excellent soil helped Fryeburg develop into a prosperous agricultural center, with the first gristmill established in 1766. Other mills and factories produced lumber, leather, harness, tinware, cheese and canned vegetables. After the Civil War, the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad passed through the town, bringing tourists escaping the heat and pollution of cities. Inns, hotels and boarding houses were built. Fryeburg is today a year-round resort area. It is also an academic town. Fryeburg Academy, a private preparatory school, was founded in 1792. Before his career as a statesman, Daniel Webster taught for a year at the school, one of the oldest of its type in the nation. In 1997, the International Musical Arts Institute was founded at Fryeburg.

Notable residents

Intervale c. 1920

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 65.9 square miles (170.6 km²), of which, 58.3 square miles (151.1 km²) of it is land and 7.5 square miles (19.5 km²) of it (11.42%) is water. Located beside the New Hampshire border, Fryeburg is drained by the Saco River.

Demographics

Alumni House c. 1912

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 3,083 people, 1,245 households, and 841 families residing in the town. The population density was 52.8 people per square mile (20.4/km²). There were 1,648 housing units at an average density of 28.2/sq mi (10.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.15% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.17% of the population.

There were 1,245 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.90.

Fryeburg Academy in 1913

In the town the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,333, and the median income for a family was $40,128. Males had a median income of $26,469 versus $20,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,658. About 9.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation and commerce

U.S. Route 302 in Fryeburg is the second largest point of entry for highway traffic into the state of Maine, next to Interstate 95 in Kittery.<

The town hosts a small airport, called Eastern Slopes Regional Airport. It is the home of Dearborn Precision Tubular Products, a major manufacturer of precision tubular products. The town is the state's second-largest producer of potatoes after Aroostook County.

Sites of interest

References

  1. ^ Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson. ed. Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc.. pp. 402.  
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  

External links

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