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Wiscasset, Maine

HistoryEdit In 1605, Samuel de Champlain is said to have landed here and exchanged gifts with theIndians. Situated on the tidal Sheepscot River, Wiscasset was first settled in 1663. The community was abandoned during the French and Indian Wars, and the King Philip's Warin 1675 and then resettled around 1730. In 1760, it was incorporated as Pownalborough after Colonial Governor Thomas Pownall. In 1802, it resumed its original Abenaki name, Wiscasset, which means "coming out from the harbor but you don't see where."[5] During the Revolutionary War, the British warship Rainbow harbored itself in Wiscasset Harbor and held the town at bay until the town gave the warship essential supplies. In 1775, Captain Jack Bunker supposedly robbed the payroll of a British supply ship,Falmouth Packet, that was stowed in Wiscasset Harbor. He was chased for days and caught on Little Seal Island. His treasure reportedly has never been found. Because of the siege during the Revolutionary War, Fort Edgecomb was built in 1808 on the opposite bank of the Sheepscot to protect the town harbor. Wiscasset's prosperity left behind fine early architecture, particularly in the Federal style when the seaport was important in privateering. Two dwellings of the period, Castle Tucker and the Nickels-Sortwell House, are now museums operated by Historic New England. The seaport became a center for shipbuilding, fishing and lumber. Wiscasset quickly became the busiest seaport north of Boston until the embargo of 1807 halted much trade with England. Most of Wiscasset's business and trade was destroyed.[5] Maine was officially admitted as a state in 1820 with the passage of the Maine-Missouri Compromise. The town of Wiscasset was considered for the state capital, but lost the position because of its proximity to the ocean. During the Civil War, Wiscasset had many of its residents that joined the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Its regiment was commended for fighting bravely at the Battle of Gettysburg. Rail service to Wiscasset began with the Knox and Lincoln Railroad in 1871.[6] The Knox and Lincoln was merged into the Maine Central Railroad in 1901. Wiscasset was connected to the national rail network by the completion of the Carlton bridge over theKennebec River in 1927.[7] Nickels-Sortwell House, built 1807 Wiscasset was the seaport terminal and standard gauge interchange of the 2-foot gaugeWiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway. Construction began in Wiscasset in 1894. Train service began in 1895 as the Wiscasset and Quebec Railroad. By 1913, the railroad operated daily freight and passenger service 43.5 miles north to Albion with an 11-milefreight branch from Weeks Mills to North Vassalboro. Passengers and freight increasingly used highway transportation after World War I. Frank Winter bought the railroad about 1930 to move lumber from Branch Mills to his schoonersHesper and Luther Little. During the early 1930s the early morning train from Albion to Wiscasset and the afternoon train back to Albion carried the last 2-foot gauge railway post office (RPO) in the United States. A derailment of the morning train in Whitefield on June 15, 1933, terminated railroad operations before the schooners could be loaded with lumber for shipment to larger coastal cities.[8] Until recently, a major tourist attraction was the two ship hulks near the U.S. 1 bridge were Winter's four-masted cargo schooners Hesper and Luther Little. Bought at auction for $600 each by entrepreneur Frank W. Winter of Auburn, they were brought to Wiscasset in 1932, then abandoned after his premature demise. Over the next 66 years, the weathered vessels would become possibly the most photographed objects in Maine. In 1998, after a violent storm took out the final masts, the rotted remains were removed from the Sheepscot River by the town. Castle Tucker, built 1807 Main Street in 1900 Wiscasset Jail and Museum c. 1912 Old Custom House and Post Office Built 1870

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