York, Maine - Encyclopedia

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YORK, a township of York county, Maine, U.S.A., on the Atlantic coast about 45 m. S.W. of Portland, and 9 m. by rail N.E. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Pop. (1900) 2668. Area, 64 sq. m. York is at the terminus of the York Harbor and Beach division of the Boston & Maine railway. In York village is the county gaol (5653-54), preserved by the Old York Historical and Improvement Society as a museum of local antiquities. Two colonial taverns also remain. York Harbor, York Beach, York Cliffs and Long Beach are attractive summer villages. The first settlement was made about 1624. In April 1641 Sir Ferdinando Gorges, proprietor of the province of Maine, erected this into the Borough of Agamenticus, and on the 1st of March 1642 he chartered it as a city under the name of Gorgeana. In 1652, when Massachusetts extended her jurisdiction over Maine, the city of Gorgeana became the town of York. In 1692 most of the houses were burned by the Indians and the inhabitants killed or taken captive. York was the shire town of Yorkshire from 1716 to 1735, the shire town with Portland (then Falmouth) of the district of Maine from 1735 to 1760, and a county-seat of York county from 1760 to 1832. During the middle of the 18th century York had considerable trade with the West Indies and along the coast, and as late as the middle of the 19th century it had important fishing interests. Its development as a summer resort was begun about 1873, but until 1887, when the railway reached it, its chief means of access was by stage from Portsmouth.

See J. P. Baxter, Agamenticus, Bristol, Gorgeana, York (Portland, 1904); G. A. Emery, Ancient City of Gorgeana and Modern Town of York (Boston, 1873); and Pauline C. Bouve, "Old York, a Forgotten Seaport," in the New England Magazine (July 1902).

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