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Location of town of Rumford in state of Maine
Rumford is a town in Oxford Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 6,474 at the 2000 census. Rumford is home to both an important paper industry and the Black Mountain of Mainemarker ski resort.

History

Congress Street in 1909
Originally called New Pennacook Plantation, the township was granted in 1779 to Timothy Walker, Jr. and associates of Concordmarker, New Hampshiremarker. Both Pennacook and Rumford are former names of Concord, from which many early settlers arrived. The first pioneers, however, were Jonathan Keyes and his son Francis in 1782 from Shrewsburymarker, Massachusettsmarker. Incorporated in 1800, Rumford bears the name of Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford. The town would later annex land from Perumarker and Franklin Plantation.

Located in the foothills of the White Mountainsmarker, Rumford is the site of Pennacook Falls, called by historian George J. Varney "the grandest cataract in New Englandmarker," where the Androscoggin River drops over solid granite. Bands of St. Francis Indians once hunted and fished here, where salmon spawn in the 13 acre pool below Upper Falls, a barrier that fish cannot pass. Indians also came here to trade furs brought from the lakes region. Sawmills and gristmills were built to harness water power from the falls, although Rumford would remain primarily agricultural during its first 100 years.

Pennacook Falls c.
1905
In 1882, industrialist Hugh J. Chisholm recognized the falls' potential for the manufacture of paper. The first paper mill began operation in 1893, drawing an infusion of people and money into the sleepy community of about 200 residents. Oxford Paper Company, owned by Chisholm, would dominate Rumford's riverfront and economy.

Much of the mill town was built in the spurt of prosperity at the turn-of-the-century, and Rumford retains significant Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Most notable is Strathglass Park, perhaps the finest company housing in the nation. Wishing to avoid the stacked slums endemic at Lowellmarker and Lawrencemarker, Massachusettsmarker, Hugh Chisholm commissioned Cass Gilbert in 1900 to plan a 30 acre site in his company town, instructing the prominent architect that "We will build of brick and stone and slate, and we will provide not merely for a house, but for comfort, elegance and social gratification."

Strathglass Park c.
1912
Named after the seat of Clan Chisholm at Strathglass Carries, Scotlandmarker, Gilbert in 1901 produced 5 designs for 51 duplexes, each with subtle differences. The same year, Chisholm founded The Rumford Realty Company to build the oval-shaped development, its entrance marked by an imposing granite gateway. With attractive lawns and broad, tree-lined streets, all maintenance was provided by the Oxford Paper Company. Even valet service was included. Tenants paid a rent of $9.00 per month, plus $1.00 per month to the Rumford Falls Power Company, also belonging to Chisholm. But in 1948, the incomplete development was no longer economically viable, and the houses were sold for between $3,400 and $3,900 per duplex. Recognized for unique architectural and social merit, in 1974 Strathglass Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Notable inhabitants



Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 69.9 square miles (180.9 km²), of which, 68.6 square miles (177.7 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km²) of it (1.79%) is water. Rumford is located where the Concord, Ellis, and Swift rivers drain into the Androscoggin river. Black Mountain, elevation 2,133 feet (650 m), and Rumford Whitecap, elevation 2,197 feet (670 m), are in the north.

Demographics

Paper mill in 2004


As of the census of 2000, there were 6,472 people, 2,876 households, and 1,754 families residing in the town. The population density was 94.3 people per square mile (36.4/km²). There were 3,280 housing units at an average density of 47.8/sq mi (18.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.67% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.60% of the population.

There were 2,876 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $27,639, and the median income for a family was $33,878. Males had a median income of $39,917 versus $20,632 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,701. About 12.4% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.

References

  1. TopoQuest - Black Mountain, USGS East Andover (ME) Topo Map


Further reading



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