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Kittery is a town in York Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 9,543 at the 2000 census. The town declares itself to be the "Gateway to Maine." Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyardmarker on Seavey's Islandmarker, Kittery includes Badger's Islandmarker, the seaside district of Kittery Pointmarker, and part of the Isles of Shoalsmarker. It is also a popular tourist destination known for its many outlet stores.

Kittery is part of the PortlandmarkerSouth PortlandmarkerBiddefordmarker, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Settled about 1623, Kittery was incorporated in 1647, and today bills itself as "the oldest incorporated town in Maine." It was named after the birthplace of a founder, Alexander Shapleigh, from his manor of Kittery Court at Kingswearmarker in Devonmarker, Englandmarker. Shapleigh arrived in 1635 aboard the ship Benediction, which he co-owned with another prominent settler, Captain Francis Champernowne, a cousin of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Together with the Pepperrell family, they established fisheries offshore at the Isles of Shoalsmarker, where fish were caught, salted and exported back to Europe. Other pioneers were hunters, trappers and workers of the region's abundant timber. The settlement at the mouth of the Piscataqua River was protected by Fort McClary.

Kittery originally extended from the Atlantic Oceanmarker inland up the Salmon Falls Rivermarker, including the present-day towns of Eliotmarker, South Berwickmarker, Berwickmarker and North Berwickmarker. Located opposite Portsmouthmarker, New Hampshiremarker, the town developed into a center for trade and shipbuilding. After the death of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Proprietor of Maine, the province in 1652 became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1663, John Josselyn would write: "Towns there are, are not many in this province. Kittery, situated not far from Passacataway (Portsmouth), is the most populous."

Navy Yard Bridge, c.
1908
During the Revolution, the first vessels of the U.S. Navy were constructed on Badger's Islandmarker, including the 1777 USS Ranger commanded by John Paul Jones. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyardmarker, the nation's first federal navy yard, was established in 1800 on Fernald's Island. It connects to the mainland by two bridges. The facility rebuilt the USS Constitutionmarker, and built the Civil War USS Kearsarge. Seavey's Islandmarker was annexed and became site of the now defunct Portsmouth Naval Prisonmarker.

Kittery has some fine early architecture, including the Sir William Pepperrell House, built in 1733, and the Lady Pepperrell House, built in 1760. The John Bray House, built in 1662, is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Maine. Located at the John Paul Jones State Historic Site on U.S. 1 is the Maine Sailors' and Soldiers' Memorial by Bashka Paeff. Further northeast up the road, the town has developed factory outlet shopping, very popular with tourists. Kittery Point is home to Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster Park, originally a harbor defense. In 1996, the movie Thinner, based on the 1984 Richard Bachman novel Thinner, was filmed in Kittery. The Saturday morning cartoon "Dino Squad" is based in Kittery/Kittery Point. Although there is no trace of primordial ooze in the area as it is only a fiction portrayed in the cartoon.

Image:Sir William Pepperrell House.jpg|Pepperrell House, c. 1905Image:Government Street, Kittery, ME.jpg|Government St., c. 1910Image:Navy Yard Station, Kittery, ME.jpg|Navy Yard Station, c. 1912Image:Dry Dock, Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.jpg|Shipyard dry dock, c. 1908

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.0 square miles (54.4 km²), of which, 17.8 square miles (46.2 km²) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.2 km²) of it (15.14%) is water. Situated beside the Gulf of Mainemarker and Atlantic Oceanmarker, Kittery is drained by Spruce Creek, Chauncey Creek and the Piscataqua River.

The town is crossed by Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, Maine State Route 101, Maine State Route 103, and Maine State Route 236.

Demographics

See also Kittery , Mainemarker and Kittery Point, Mainemarker for village demographics
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,543 people, 4,078 households, and 2,528 families residing in the town. The population density was 535.5 people per square mile (206.8/km²). There were 4,375 housing units at an average density of 245.5/sq mi (94.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.98% White, 1.78% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 4,078 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.86.

Fraternal Building c.
1920
In the town the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,200, and the median income for a family was $53,343. Males had a median income of $37,096 versus $29,850 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,153. About 5.7% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest



Notable residents

See also: :Category:People from Kittery, Maine


References

  1. The Champernownes were a prominent shipping family from Devon in England's West Country, having been a fixture on the West Country mercantile and social scene for generations. Kat Ashley, nee Champernowne, was a close friend and governess to Queen Elizabeth I. Her niece Catherine Champernowne was the mother of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. At the heart of the family dynastic influence lay Sir Arthur Champernowne, who served as Vice-Admiral of the West, while residing at Dartington Hall in Devon.
  2. Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his Province of Maine, James Phinney Baxter, The Prince Society, Boston, 1890


Further reading



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