Wiki Wednesday 10-3-07

Time to learn something!

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. Click on “Random article” in the left-hand sidebar box.
3. Post it!

I have been to every state in New England except for its largest one, so I’ve never visited Saco, Maine.


Granted in 1630 by the Plymouth Company to Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonython, the town extended 4 miles along the sea, and 8 inland. Settled in 1631 as part of “Winter Harbor” {as Biddeford Pool was first known), it included Biddeford. It would be reorganized in 1653 by the General Court of Massachusetts as “Saco,” like the Sokokis (or Saco) Indians who once hunted and fished along the Saco River. The community would be incorporated in 1718 as “Biddeford,” the fourth town in Maine. The northeastern bank separated in 1762 with the name “Pepperellborough,” in honor of Sir William Pepperrell, a late proprietor. It was renamed “Saco” in 1805, and incorporated as a city in 1867.

The settlement would be attacked by Indians in 1675 during King Philip’s War. Settlers moved to the mouth of the river, and the houses and mills they left behind were burned. In 1689, it was again attacked, with some residents taken captive. Hostilities intensified from 1702 until 1709, then again in 1723, when the town contained 14 garrisons. Nevertheless, the area became a center for lumbering, with logs floated down the river from “Little Falls Plantation” (now Dayton, Lyman, Hollis and part of Limington), to be cut by sawmills at Saco Falls. In 1827, the community produced 21,000,000 feet of sawn lumber.

On Factory Island, formerly called Indian Island, the Saco Iron Works began operation in 1811. A cotton mill was established in 1826, and a canal was dug through rock to provide water power. Factory Island developed in the 19th century into major textile manufacturing center, with expansive brick mills dominating the Saco and Biddeford waterfronts. That industry would fade in the 20th century, particularly with the closure of the York Manufacturing Company in 1958. The prosperous mill town era, however, left behind much fine architecture. Saco has a considerable collection of buildings in the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian styles.

Saco is home to Funtown Splashtown USA (an amusement park), and Aquaboggan Water Park, as well as General Dynamics Armament Systems (also known by its former name, Saco Defense), a subsidiary of the defense contractor General Dynamics; it builds primarily small arms weapons for the U.S. military, such as the M60 machine gun. Saco sees much tourism during summer months, due to its amusement parks, Ferry Beach State Park and proximity to Old Orchard Beach.

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