Keywords: Saco River
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.
As early as 1633, entrepreneurs along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine utilized the force of the river to power a sawmill, recognizing the potential of the area's natural power sources, but it was not until the 1890s that technology made widespread electricity a reality -- and even then, consumers had to be urged to use it.
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.
1894McArthur Public Library As more businesses and industries were using the local water ways advantageously, nearly 17 sawmills were erected in…
at Saco & Biddeford, 1848Dyer Library Archives / Saco Museum The cotton textile manufacturing industry became very significant in Biddeford once the…
1870McArthur Public Library By Paige S. Pandora University of Southern Maine Biddeford and Saco were up-and-coming areas when the Civil War struck.