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York, Maine
—  Town  —
York Village

York, Maine is located in Maine
York, Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Coordinates: 43°9′48″N 70°38′55″W / 43.16333°N 70.64861°W / 43.16333; -70.64861
Country United States
State Maine
County York
Incorporated 1652
 - Total 57.7 sq mi (149.4 km2)
 - Land 54.9 sq mi (142.2 km2)
 - Water 2.8 sq mi (7.2 km2)
Elevation 190 ft (58 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 12,854
 Density 234.1/sq mi (90.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 03909
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-87985
GNIS feature ID 0582832

York is a town in York County, Maine, United States at the southwest corner of the state. The population in the 2000 census was 12,854. Situated beside the Atlantic Ocean on the Gulf of Maine, York is a well-known summer resort. It is home to three 18-hole golf clubs, three sandy beaches, and Mount Agamenticus. It includes the villages of York Village, York Harbor, York Beach and Cape Neddick.

York is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The Old Gaol (Jail) in 1901

The area was first called Agamenticus, meaning "beyond-the-hill-little-cove," the Abenaki name for the York River. In 1638, settlers changed the name to Bristol after Bristol, England, from which they had immigrated. Envisioning a great city arising from the wilderness, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Proprietor of Maine under the Plymouth patent, named the capital of his province Gorgeana. In 1642, by charter of King Charles I, Gorgeana became the first incorporated city in America. John P. McKenna was one of the towns earlier watchmen; he would look out from high trees for indian attacks.

Following Gorges' death, however, the Massachusetts Bay Company claimed his dominion. In 1652, York, Massachusetts was incorporated from a portion of Gorgeana, making it the second oldest town in Maine after Kittery, incorporated two days earlier. It was named for York, England, site of the defeat of Oliver Cromwell. But control of the region was contested between New England and New France, which incited Native Americans to attack English settlements throughout the French and Indian Wars.

The first Congregational church of York was organized in 1672, by Revd. Shubael Dummer,[1] the son of Richard Dummer and uncle to William Dummer, who became Acting Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

During King William's War, York was destroyed in the Candlemas Massacre of 1692. During the raid by the Abenakis, Dummer was shot at his own front door. About 50 others were slain and near 100 carried away captive, among them Dummer's wife, Lydia and their son, where "through snows and hardships among those dragons of the desert she also quickly died"; nothing further was heard of the boy.[2]

The final local Indian attack occurred at the Cape Neddick area during Dummer's War in 1723. Hostilities diminished with the French defeat at the 1745 Battle of Louisburg, and ceased altogether with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Several famous American authors have be known to spend their summer months in York, including Mark Twain.

Trading Center

As provincial capital and site of the King's Gaol (Jail), York prospered. Numerous wharves and warehouses serviced trade with the West Indies. Agricultural products and lumber were shipped in exchange for sugar, molasses and other commodities. One notable merchant was John Hancock, whose establishment is now a museum. Following the Revolution, however, President Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807 crippled trade. York, bereft of status as capitol, would not again be prosperous until after the Civil War, when its sea breezes and colonial charm, including old homes like the John Sedgley Homestead, attracted tourists.

Present Day

Like Bar Harbor and Newport, Rhode Island, York became a fashionable summer resort, and retains many distinctive examples of Gilded Age architecture, particularly in the Shingle Style. A cluster of historic buildings in the center of York Village are maintained as museums by the Old York Historical Society.

Notable residents

The Yorks

Cape Neddick Lighthouse (Nubble Light) in c. 1920
  • York Village — including the historic structures and upscale shops
  • York Harbor — with a number of elegant inns, historic homes and large estates
  • York Beach — with popular attractions such as arcades, souvenir shops and stores
  • Cape Neddick — mainly residences

During summer months, tourists (chiefly families) throng Short Sands Beach, which is in the district of York Beach itself, as well as Long Sands Beach, the town's longest with more than a mile of sand stretching between York Beach and York Harbor. Dozens of five star hotels and other accommodations operate in the York Beach area, although most close after summer.

Many spots throughout The Yorks have picturesque views of the famous Cape Neddick Light at Nubble Rock, which has figured in both artists' work and souvenirs of the Maine coast. Visible in clear weather is the 133 foot (40 meter) tall Boon Island Light on Boon Island, located 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) off York. Old-fashioned restaurants, like the Goldenrod, maintain the historic character of the York Beach area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 57.7 square miles (149.4 km²), of which, 54.9 square miles (142.2 km²) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 4.82% water. The York watershed drains into the York River. The highest point in town is Mount Agamenticus, with an elevation of 692 feet (211 meters) above sea level. An automobile road travels to the summit, where miles of hiking, biking and horse-riding trails are available.


York has the highest home values in Maine, followed by Cape Elizabeth, a suburb of Portland. York County has the highest real estate values in the state.[citation needed]


York has a council-manager form of government.

Voter registration

32.61% Republican, 23.44% Democrat, 0.9% Green, 43.05% unenrolled.[3][2]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[4]
Party Percentage
  Republican 32.61%
  Democratic 23.44%
  Unaffiliated 43.05%
  Minor Parties 0.90%
Total 13,129 163 13,292 100%


York School Department receives the largest portion (69%) of the town's budget. The town of York supports 2,000 students in four schools. Village Elementary School serves grades K-2. Coastal Ridge Elementary School provides education for grades 3-4. York Middle School serves students in grades 5-8, and York High School serves students in grades 9-12. Adult education is also available to York residents.

York students have consistently achieved better than the state average in English and Mathematics. gave York High School a 10 (out of 10) rating in 2007.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 2,900
1800 2,776 −4.3%
1810 3,046 9.7%
1820 3,224 5.8%
1830 3,485 8.1%
1840 3,111 −10.7%
1850 2,980 −4.2%
1860 2,825 −5.2%
1870 2,654 −6.1%
1880 2,463 −7.2%
1890 2,444 −0.8%
1900 2,668 9.2%
1910 2,802 5.0%
1920 2,727 −2.7%
1930 2,532 −7.2%
1940 3,283 29.7%
1950 3,256 −0.8%
1960 4,663 43.2%
1970 5,690 22.0%
1980 8,465 48.8%
1990 9,818 16.0%
2000 12,854 30.9%
Est. 2008 14,064 9.4%
The Square, Short Sands Beach at York Beach, c. 1915
See Cape Neddick, Maine and York Harbor, Maine for demographic information compiled for the respective villages .

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 12,854 people, 5,235 households, and 3,690 families residing in the town. The population density was 234.1 people per square mile (90.4/km²). There were 8,053 housing units at an average density of 146.7/sq mi (56.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.36% White, 0.25% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.72% of the population.

There were 5,235 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.1% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.88.

Passaconaway Inn c. 1910

In the town the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 30.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $64,000, and the median income for a family was $73,400. Males had a median income of $49,415 versus $31,743 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,895. About 1.3% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under the age of 18 and 6.7% of those 65 and older.

Sites of interest

Courtroom in the Old Gaol (Jail) in c. 1910


  1. ^ Geo. J. Varney (1886). "History of York, Maine". Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dummer, Michael (June 2005). "5: Richard and Early Days in New England". The Family of Dummer (7th ed.). p. 26. 
  3. ^ reported in June 2002 by the State of Maine
  4. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  5. ^ [1], accessed March, 2010.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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