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Thomaston: The Town that Went to Sea

Building Boom, early 19th century

Ship Samuel Watts, Rounding the Beacon, Thomaston, Maine 1970
Ship Samuel Watts, Rounding the Beacon, Thomaston, Maine 1970Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

With the arrival of General Knox at the beginning of the 19th century, the town was on an upward spiral of prosperity. It is from this century of Thomaston’s development that so many prize architectural examples remain. Industries of all types were on the rise – lime quarrying, brickmaking, shipbuilding, export and import shipping, carpentry and trading. Shipyards created employment for every trade related to shipbuilding, and Thomaston’s population rapidly expanded as a direct result.

North side of Main Street Business Section, Thomaston, 1895
North side of Main Street Business Section, Thomaston, 1895Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

By 1830, the census reported 4221 residents in Thomaston. To house the increased work force, additional housing was needed. There were approximately 423 dwellings by this time, many of which still stand today. With few exceptions, the buildings were constructed of wood. For the most part, only the town’s business district used brick construction. When not building ships, craftsmen became architects and house builders, evidenced by the many architectural details used in ship construction.