The Oldest City In Maine Predates The State By Almost 200 Years!
Considering New England was one of the first places in North America to be settled by Europeans, it should not be a big surprise that Maine has some old towns and cities. REALLY old towns and cities.
For example, Portland was first incorporated in 1786, Freeport was first incorporated in 1789, and going a little farther north, Bangor was first incorporated in 1834. Keep in mind, though, in most cases, Europeans had lived in those areas for decades before the towns and cities were actually incorporated.
So, what is the OLDEST city / town in the State of Maine?
The answer is Kittery!
When you think about it, it really does make sense that the oldest city in the state is the one you first encounter after crossing the Maine / New Hampshire border.
According to Wikipedia, Kittery was first settled by Europeans in 1623. It was first incorporated as a town in 1647. Since Maine did not become a state until 1820, the means the town predates the state by about 200 years!
The town is named for the estate of Alexander Shapleigh, one of the founders of the town. The settlement started as a fishing village that was meant to supply fish to England. When the town was first settled, it was much larger than it is now. At one time, it incorporated parts of Berwick, South Berwick, and Eliot.
At first, it was its own colony, but Kittery joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. Then, of course, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 made Maine a state.
As of 2020, the Town of Kittery had a population of 10,020. As it has been since the settlement was first established, Kittery is still heavily involved in maritime industries. First, it was fishing, then boat building, and in the early 1800s the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was opened. It is still one of the US Navy's most important shipyards today.