In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Thomaston: The Town that Went to Sea

1940 to Present Day

Museum in the Streets, Thomaston, Maine 2003
Museum in the Streets, Thomaston, Maine 2003

Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

During the 1940s through the 1970s, the world bypassed Thomaston and the area, sparing the town from redevelopment projects occurring throughout the rest of New England at this time. Stately captains’ homes along the original County Road and side streets still remain, representing a strong architectural link to the town’s unique heritage. In 1974 a large portion of Main and Knox Streets, along with several historic buildings, were placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which will help provide continued protection. The town retains a handful of 18th century structures and about 400 original 19th century structures - including Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, French Second Empire and Queen Anne examples, most of which have had little exterior alterations and all of which remain one of the area’s largest attractions.

Timeline in Granite, Thomaston, Maine 2008
Timeline in Granite, Thomaston, Maine 2008

Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

To promote its unique history, Thomaston created the Museum in the Streets in 2004, featuring 25 plaques with photographs and legends, placed in strategic locations throughout the town, to offer a self-guided tour of a well-preserved historic nineteenth- century village. A time-line chiseled into a granite wall in the business section on Main Street highlights important events in the town’s history, and Thomaston sixth grade students are producing a booklet to provide additional information on the timeline events.

Thomaston’s residents today number about 4,000, consisting of a mixture of families and individuals, a few who trace lineage to early settlers in the late 18th century, some to Scotch Irish immigrants arriving in the 19th century, some to Finnish ancestors arriving in the early 20th century, and many who continue to arrive for work in the boatyards, lime industry or to simply retire, just as many did so many years ago. A number of residents are attracted to Thomaston’s architecture and history, decent values and simpler uncomplicated ways of life, considering this a solid place with deep roots in which to raise their families with old-fashioned values.

In 1950, Aubigne Lermond Packard wrote about her ancestral town of Thomaston in a book entitled “A Town that Went to Sea.” The moniker is most fitting for this tranquil coastal village - a village that might never have been were it not for its connection to the sea.

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