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Historical Societies

Guilford and Sangerville

Book Cover

This new book has 128 pages and approximately 200 pictures of Guilford and Sangerville.

Books may be ordered through The Guilford Historical Society for $22.50, which includes shipping.

Make your check payable to Guilford Historical Society and mail it to:

PO Box 893
Guilford, ME 04443

 

All proceeds and royalties benefit your Guilford Historical Society.

History Is Now!

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In 1803 two men, Robert Low Jr and Robert Herring Jr, purchased a large tract of land from Bowdoin College in what is now the incorporated town of Guilford, Maine, part of the agreement being that they would establish homes on this land. In 1804 a number of trees were felled on lots along the Piscataquis river and corn was planted the next year. By 1806 their were seven men residing within the area. At this time the area was within the boundaries of Somerset County and in October of 1812, a warrant was issued by the county to organize the area into a plantation. This was done in November and immediately provisions were made for the education of the children, and education has remained a high priority for the entire existence of the town. In 1815, Thomas Macomber was given a grant of 300 acres and in return agreed to stay and preach for a minimum of ten years. He actually stayed 20.

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In 1816 the town petitioned the general court to be incorporated under the laws of the State of Massachusetts and to be named Fluvanna. The Massachusetts legislature passed the warrant in February of 1816 but disliked the name and changed it to Guilford. By 1819 there were 13 families living in the township. The next year, 1820, Maine was granted statehood under the “Missouri Compromise” and Guilford became part of Piscataquis County. According to the census at that time Guilford had 325 citizens.

In 1818 a meeting house was erected in Guilford Center which also served as a school and town hall until it burned in 1825. In 1824 a crib dam was built across the Piscataquis River and a saw mill established by Robert Herring Jr., along with two others. From this point on the town began to grow and gradually became highly industrialized due to the abundance of water power available to run mills and factories. In 1825, Addison Martin opened the first store in the village and by then the population had soared to 500 people. In 1827 he built the first frame house, and although it has been remodeled many times, it still stands to this day and was last used as an inn and bar.

Lows Bridge Logo

In 1834 the Guilford Free Meeting House was built on High Street by the Methodists and Universalists and was used by both until each established their separate churches within the village proper. It stood where the current First Penecostal Church is currently located.

In the ensuing years many businesses were established, factories and mills flourished, and the town became a model of industry until by the start of WWII almost anything a person could ever want was available within the town. The Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad reached town in 1871 providing both freight and passenger service to Bangor where it interconnected with the Maine Central. In 1881 a woolen mill was built on the north side of the river and a town hall, which also contained the village high school, was erected at the corner School and North Main Streets and saw many uses until it burned flat in 1928, a huge loss at the time.

With the advent of electricity the power of the rivers was no longer needed to run the mills and gradually everything was changed over to electric power, signaling the end of a very important chapter in America’s industrial revolution.

Lows Bridge

Lows Bridge:
Lows Bridge is an historic covered bridge located in Guilford, Maine. The bridge was originally built in 1830, rebuilt in 1843, 1857 and 1987.

It seems Mother Nature has it in for this bridge as it has twice been wiped out by spring flooding.

Sometimes incorrectly spelled "Lowes", Lows Bridge was named in honor of one of the area's first settlers, Robert Low. Once a major link between Guilford and Sangerville, today the bridge which has been referred to as a " ... bridge to our past", serves as part of the areas snowmobile trails in the winter, ATV trails in summer and as year-round ambassador for our area.

As one of only 9 covered bridges left in Maine, Low's Bridge is listed on The National Register of Historic Places, has had several local businesses named after it and has been inspiring passion in artists, daydreamers and visitors of every sort for over 150 years.