The Town of Camden Maine is a very cosmopolitan small town with fine dining, winter sports, superb sailing, and small locally owned stores that give the town its own unique flair.
The town boasts a new high school on Route 90, with a fabulous arts and theater program, with an auditorium that was built with funds donated by the writer Stephen King. A beautiful gymnasium, cafeteria, multi-media room, and grounds provide the children of the five surrounding towns a world class education. The Camden Opera House was restored to it full former glory several years ago, and offer plays and musicals performed by local and world class performers. The Camden and Rockport Libraries provide programming for all ages, and children love story time offered by volunteers. We also have several wonderful facilities available for long term senior care – staffed by loving, qualified people – the Windeward garden provides long term convalescent care, to the new Alzheimer Center that has opened p in Rockland, Maine. We also have several great Hospitals all within a 50 mile radius of Camden, Maine – Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Maine, Pen Bay Hospital in Rockport, Maine to Miles Memorial in Damariscotta, Maine. One thing that is missing in this are, is a large Shopping Mall, with the closet one being in South Portland. Several large grocery store provide international food goods, and local staples – Shaws’ in Roaklsnd and Hanneford in Camden and Rockland.
On Route 1 you will find locally owned motels, Bed and Breakfasts, and a variety of Inns. Some notable ones are the Lord Camden Inn and the River House in downtown Camden, a stones throw away from restaurants and shopping. The Cedar Crest Motel heading south on Route 1 out of Camden, has been voted as one of the best breakfast places for years – traditional, homey and clean. Heading South into Rockport on Route 1, you will find Sweet Sensations, a local bakery, with the owner Steve, the baker, having appeared on TV shows. You will also find Plants Unlimited and Hoboken Gardens – local nurseries with fabulous plants and trees. Keep heading South in Rockport, and you will find the headquarters of Down East Magazine, that started out as a small publication, and is now found all over the world. Across the street is the Spruce Ridge Inn, recently renovated with wonderful modern, clean rooms, and large grounds, with an incredible old Copper Beech tree. You will also find other motels – Strawberry Hill, Ledges by the Bay, Claddagh – all locally owned, and customer oriented.
SHORT HISTORY OF CAMDEN
The Camden area, originally inhabited by the Penobscot Abenaki Indians, was called Megunticook, meaning “great swells of the sea,” a reference to the hills of Camden. The area remained wilderness until 1771-1772 when, after the French and Indian War, it was settled by James Richards, who built a home at the mouth of the Megunticook River. Others soon followed, some making modest attempts to farm the mountainous terrain. In 1779, when Castine (to the North) was held by the British, Camden became a rendezvous point and encampment for the American troops. On February 17, 1791, the Massachusetts General Court incorporated Megunticook Plantation as Camden, named for the Earl of Camden, a member of the British Parliament and proponent of civil liberties. A battery was built atop Mount Battie overlooking Penobscot Bay, near the village and it can still be visited through the Camden Hills State Park. An interesting fact, during the War of 1812, it had both a 12 and 18-pound gun, but no gunner qualified to operate them. Nevertheless, the fort’s appearance of readiness appears to have kept the British at bay.
Upon the return of peace, Camden prospered. The rushing waters of the Megunticook River provided an excellent source of water power, and a mill grew alongside the River. By 1858 the town had carriage factories, sash and blind factories, woolen mills, and blacksmith shops. The 6 shipyards launched 10 to 12 vessels annually. By 1886, foundries, railroad cars, paper ill felts, anchors, plugs, treenails, powder kegs and barrels, tinware, mattresses, wedges, planking, excelsior, oakum, wool, shoes and leather products, flour and meal. Camden also manufactured lime, which was excavated at quarries and processed in kilns before being shipped to various ports around the United States.
The wealthy citizens of Camden built fine homes, that have been maintained and restored. The majestic hills beyond, and the picturesque harbor with boats and schooners made the town then, as now, a heavenly place to live in, and visit today. Camden has had the honor to host Hollywood – Carousel (1956), Peyton Place (1957), In the Bedroom (2001), Man Without a Face . The soap opera, Passions, uses Camden for shots depicting the fictional town Harmony.
According to the 2000 United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.8 square miles (66.8 km, of which, 18.3 square miles (47.4 km⊃) of it is land and 7.5 square miles (19.5 km⊃) of it (29.14%) is water. Drained by the Megunticook River, Camden is located beside Penobscot Bay and the Gulf of Maine, part of the Atlantic Ocean. Mount Megunticook has an elevation of 1385 feet (419 m). The town has a population of around 5,300. (2,390 households), with 1,414 families living in town. The town is approximately 98% white, with a median family income of $56,439built atop Mount Battie overlooking Penobscot Bay, near the village and it can still be visited through the Camden Hills State Park. An interesting fact, during the War of 1812, it had both a 12 and 18-pounder gun, but no gunner qualified to operate them. Nevertheless, the fort’s appearance of readiness appears to have kept the British at bay.