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New Gloucester is a town in Cumberland Countymarker, Mainemarker, in the United Statesmarker. It is home to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Villagemarker, the last active Shaker Village in the U.S. The town's population was 4,803 at the 2000 census.

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


New Gloucester was established under a grant from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1736, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony granted a six-square-mile tract of land in the Maine Territory to sixty inhabitants of the Gloucestermarker fishing village on Cape Annmarker. The first settlers followed the road newly bushed out from North Yarmouthmarker and built cabins on Harris Hill between 1739 and 1742. The settlement was abandoned from 1744-1751 due to the heightened Indian attacks during King George's War.

Settlers returned and in 1753 commenced work on a two story, fifty-foot square blockhouse with a palisade stockade on a side. This was home to twelve families for six years. The men worked at clearing the surrounding of common land under the protection of two swivel guns manned by a garrison of six soldiers. One attack was made upon the fort, resulting in one scalping and two men captured. As the Indians gradually withdrew to Canadamarker, the settlers moved out into their own newly built homes. The blockhouse continued to serve for worship and town affairs until the first meetinghouse was built in 1773. In 1788, the blockhouse was sold at auction for seven bushels of corn and moved to a farm in the intervale, where it was rebuilt as a hog house.

New Gloucester became a half shire town with Portlandmarker, and the courts met here from 1791 until the organization of Oxford Countymarker in 1805, when they returned to Portland. With good soil for agriculture, the town developed as a prosperous farming community. In 1858, when the population was 1,848, other industries included 6 sawmills, 2 gristmills and 2 tanneries.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village was founded in 1783 by the United Society of True Believers at what was then called Thompson's Pond Plantation. It was formally organized on April 19, 1794. Today, the village is the last of formerly nineteen religious societies, stretching from Maine to Floridamarker, to be operated by the Shakers themselves. It comprises 18 buildings on of land.

Notable residents


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 47.8 square miles (123.7 km²), of which, 47.1 square miles (122.0 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (1.42%) is water. New Gloucester is drained by the Royal River.

The town is crossed by Interstate 95, U. S. Route 202 and state routes 4, 26 and 231.It borders the towns of Raymondmarker to the west, Polandmarker to the northwest, Auburnmarker to the northeast, Durhammarker to the east, Pownalmarker and North Yarmouthmarker to the southeast, and Graymarker to the southwest.


Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community Meetinghouse in 1962

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,803 people, 1,761 households, and 1,313 families residing in the town. The population density was 102.0 people per square mile (39.4/km²). There were 1,889 housing units at an average density of 40.1/sq mi (15.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.17% White, 0.23% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.12% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.56% of the population.

There were 1,761 households out of which 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.2% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.08.
Town Hall in c.

In the town the population was spread out with 28.8% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 35.0% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 102.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,599, and the median income for a family was $57,727. Males had a median income of $35,699 versus $26,358 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,527. About 4.0% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest



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