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Old Orchard Beach, Maine
—  Town  —
Nickname(s): Garden By The Sea, after Thomas Rogers' town.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine is located in Maine
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Coordinates: 43°30′49″N 70°23′7″W / 43.51361°N 70.38528°W / 43.51361; -70.38528Coordinates: 43°30′49″N 70°23′7″W / 43.51361°N 70.38528°W / 43.51361; -70.38528
Country United States
State Maine
County York
Settled 1653
Incorporated February 20, 1883
Area
 - Total 7.5 sq mi (19.5 km2)
 - Land 7.4 sq mi (19.3 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 80 ft (31 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 8,856
 Density 1,188.8/sq mi (459.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 04064
Area code(s) Area code 207
FIPS code 23-55085
GNIS feature ID 0582647
Website www.oobmaine.com

Old Orchard Beach is a town and census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,856 at the 2000 census. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located on the inner side of Saco Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, the town is a popular summer beach destination, with an amusement park called Palace Playland (including a large seaside Ferris wheel). The downtown contains many tourist-oriented businesses, including clam shacks and t-shirt shops. A wooden pier on the beach contains many other tourist businesses, including a variety of souvenir shops. The seven mile (11 km) long beach stretching away from the downtown is lined with many beach residential properties, condominiums, motels and bed and breakfasts.

Contents

Early history

The Old Orchard Beach area began appearing in historical records around the time of 1653. The area was first officially settled in 1657 by Thomas Rogers, who dubbed it "The Garden By The Sea". The historic Free Will Baptist revival camp at Ocean Park, Maine was built in the 1880s by Bates College President Oren B. Cheney.

Tourist resort

Old Orchard Beach has been promoted as a tourist destination since 1631, when its first settler established a "Garden By the Sea." In 1829 the first Public House opened, and in 1837 tourists paid $1.50 each to stay at a local farm. Railroad service between Boston and Portland opened in 1842. Over the years Old Orchard developed into a major resort. Airplanes took off from the beach and auto races were held on the sand. Most of the large hotels were destroyed in the fire of 1907.[1]. The oldest hotel still standing on the beachfront in Old Orchard at this time, is The Ocean House Hotel & Motel, circa 1895, located at 71 West Grand Avenue. It retains its original parlors and character.

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Attractions

Aside from the usual bumper cars, arcades, and ice cream parlors, two permanent carousels were constructed with hand-carved horses and other animals. Noah's Ark, a kid-friendly, boat-shaped funhouse with hand-carved figures of Noah and his family, was designed to provide an exciting but not frightening experience for a 5-year-old. The entire structure would rock back and forth while guests meandered through dark passages. Colored lights would flash, loud klaxons would sound, and compressed air would shoot from the floor. On the Jack and Jill slide, two people would be placed on a large hemp mat in a wooden bucket, which would take them to the top of a 50-foot (15 m) tall tower and dump them onto a metal slide for a quick ride down. Funtown Splash Town USA is also near by in the town of Saco.

The Pier

Pier at Old Orchard Beach

Three versions of the Pier were constructed by man and modified by nature. The first, 1,770 feet (540 m) long, was built of steel in 1898. At its end was the Pier Casino, a ballroom with room for 5,000 dancers. Shortly after its completion a storm reduced its length by 150 feet (46 m). It was rebuilt, but ten years later, after another storm, the pier was shortened to 700 feet (210 m) and the Casino was moved. In the interwar period, the Casino hosted such acts as Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Xavier Cugat, and Frank Sinatra. After the war Old Orchard became somewhat downscale, becoming known as a destination for blue-collar partygoers. A fire in 1969 destroyed Noah's Ark, the two carousels, and the Jack and Jill slide. The Casino was demolished in 1970, and a storm destroyed what was left of the pier in 1978.[1] The current incarnation of the pier was built in 1980 and can be seen here

Geography

Old Orchard Beach is located at 43°30′49″N 70°23′7″W / 43.51361°N 70.38528°W / 43.51361; -70.38528 (43.513714, -70.385363).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.6 square miles (19.6 km²), of which, 7.4 square miles (19.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.32%) is water.

Twin cities

Old Orchard Beach is the twin city of the French seaside resort of Mimizan, as a reminder of Oiseau Canari, the pioneer aircraft crossing of the Atlantic by Assollant, Lefèvre and Lotti in 1929 to Oyambre (Cantabria, Spain).

Immigration and foreign affairs

Old Orchard Beach, during tourist season, is home to Lithuanian and many foreign exchange students from places as far as Russia looking for summer work. Many Canadians, especially from the province of Quebec, come down for summer vacations, and it is common to hear conversations in French.

Demographics

Ferris wheel seen from the beach in Old Orchard Beach

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 9,745 people, 4,294 households, and 2,254 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,188.8 people per square mile (459.0/km²). There were 6,222 housing units at an average density of 835.3/sq mi (322.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.54% White, 0.56% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.

There were 4,294 households out of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.5% were non-families. 38.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.05 and the average family size was 2.73.

"Takadip" Bath House in 1914, Old Orchard Beach, ME

In the town the population was spread out with 19.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,568, and the median income for a family was $47,952. Males had a median income of $36,089 versus $26,429 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,929. About 7.7% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.

Leavitt House, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, circa 1870

See also

References

  1. ^ Old Orchard Beach Maine History
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links


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