Keywords: Saco Museum
The largest textile factory in the country reached seven stories up on the banks of the Saco River in 1825, ushering in more than a century of making cloth in Biddeford and Saco. Along with the industry came larger populations and commercial, retail, social, and cultural growth.
These stories -- that stretch from 1999 back to 1759 -- take you from an amusement park to the halls of Congress. There are inventors, artists, showmen, a railway agent, a man whose civic endeavors helped shape Portland, a man devoted to the pursuit of peace and one known for his military exploits, Maine's first novelist, a woman who recorded everyday life in detail, and an Indian who survived a British attack.
Young men and women in the 19th century often went away from home -- sometimes for a few months, sometimes for longer periods -- to attend academies, seminaries, or schools run by individuals. While there, they wrote letters home, reporting on boarding arrangements and coursework undertaken, and inquired about the family at home.
at Saco & Biddeford, 1848Dyer Library Archives / Saco Museum The cotton textile manufacturing industry became very significant in Biddeford once the…