Madison (town), Maine

Madison (town), Maine

Madison is a town in Somerset County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,523 at the 2000 census.


The area was once territory of the Norridgewock Indians, a band of the Abenaki nation. Early visitors describe extensive fields cleared for cultivation. The tribe also fished the Kennebec River. French Jesuits established an early mission at the village, which was located at Old Point. But Father Sebastien Rale (or Rasle), appointed missionary in 1694, was suspected of abetting the tribe's raids on English settlements. Governor Joseph Dudley put a price on his head. British troops attacked the village in 1705 and again in 1722, but both times Father Rale escaped into the woods. But on August 23, 1724, soldiers attacked the village unexpectedly, killing 26 warriors and wounding 14, with 150 survivors fleeing to Canada. Among the dead was Father Rale. In 1775, Benedict Arnold and his troops would march through Norridgewock Plantation, as it was known, on their way to the ill-fated Battle of Quebec.

Settled by English colonists about 1773, the land would be surveyed in 1791. Incorporated on March 7, 1804, the town was named after United States president James Madisoncite book |last= Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums |editor=Doris A. Isaacson |title=Maine: A Guide 'Down East' |year=1970 |publisher=Courier-Gazette, Inc. |location=Rockland, Me | pages = 380 ] . Farming was an early industry, with hay and cattle the principal products. The native rock is slate, and a quarry was established to extract it. Because of the region's abundant forests, lumbering developed as an industry, with 4 sawmills operated by water power on the Kennebec. Here the Norridgewock Falls drop 90 feet over a mile, which attracted other manufacturers as well. In the 19th century, the small mill town had factories which produced carriages, window sash, window blinds, doors and coffins.

When the railroad was extended through Madison in 1875, larger mills were built. The first Madison Woolen Mill was constructed in 1881 near the bridge between Madison and Anson, with the firm's second mill built nearby in 1887. In 1890, the Manufacturing Investment Company built a sulfite mill, but it failed. It was taken over in 1899 by the Great Northern Paper Company, which rebuilt the plant to produce wood pulp and paper. Like many New England textile manufacturers, the town's woolen mills eventually went out of business, but the pulp and paper mill remains today as the Madison Paper Industries.

In 1901, Lakewood Summer Theatre opened in East Madison on the western side of Lake Wesserunsett. It is the official summer theatre of Maine, and the oldest continually operating summer theatre in America.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.6 square miles (141.4 km²), of which, 51.8 square miles (134.1 km²) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.4 km²) of it (5.22%) is water. Madison is drained by the Kennebec River.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 4,523 people, 1,890 households, and 1,270 families residing in the town. The population density was 87.4 people per square mile (33.7/km²). There were 2,308 housing units at an average density of 44.6/sq mi (17.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.12% White, 0.07% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.22% of the population.

There were 1,890 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $30,528, and the median income for a family was $36,750. Males had a median income of $30,179 versus $20,827 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,698. About 9.3% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


External links

* [ Town of Madison, Maine]
* [ Madison Historical & Genealogical Society]
* [ Lakewood Summer Theatre]
* [ Madison Public Library]
* [ History of Madison, Maine]
* [ Madison's Carnegie Library]
* [ Norridgewock Indian Village]

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