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Saco (pronounced /ˈsɑkoʊ/, SAH-koh) is a city in York Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 16,822 at the 2000 census. It is home to Ferry Beach State Park, Funtown Splashtown USAmarker, Thornton Academymarker, as well as General Dynamics Armament Systems (also known by its former name, Saco Defense), a subsidiary of the defense contractor General Dynamics. Saco has two growing business parks and another one under development. Saco sees much tourism during summer months, due to its amusement parks, Ferry Beach State Park, and proximity to Old Orchard Beach.

Saco has taken steps to make the city more environmentally friendly. In early 2007 a wind turbine was erected near the water treatment plant at the foot of Front street. Another wind turbine was erected on the top of York Hill in December 2007 to generate power for the new train station for Amtrak's "Downeaster." This is part of the project to restore Factory Island, including the renovation of several abandoned mills that have fallen into disrepair, and the erection of new townhouses and a marina.

Saco is part of the PortlandmarkerSouth PortlandmarkerBiddefordmarker, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area. Saco's twin-city is Biddefordmarker.


This was territory of the Sokoki tribe of Abenaki Indians, whose fortified village was located up the Saco Rivermarker at Pequawket (now Fryeburgmarker). The township was granted in 1630 by the Plymouth Company to Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonython, and extended along the sea, by inland. Settled in 1631 as part of Winter Harbor (as Biddeford Poolmarker was first known), it then included Biddefordmarker. It would be reorganized in 1653 by the Massachusetts General Court as Saco.

The settlement was attacked by Indians in 1675 during King Philip's War. Settlers moved to the mouth of the river, and the houses and mills they left behind were burned. Saco lay in contested territory between New Englandmarker and New France, which recruited the Indians as allies. In 1689 during King William's War, it was again attacked, with some residents taken captive. Hostilities intensified from 1702 until 1709, then ceased in 1713 with the Treaty of Portsmouth. The community was rebuilt and in 1718 incorporated as Biddeford. Peace would not last, however, and the town was again attacked in 1723 during Dummer's War, when it contained 14 garrisons. But in 1724, a Massachusettsmarker militia destroyed Norridgewockmarker, an Abenaki stronghold on the Kennebec River organizing raids on English settlements. The region became less dangerous, especially after the French defeat in 1745 at the Battle of Louisburgmarker. The French and Indian Wars finally ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
York Manufacturing Co. in 1916
In 1762, the northeastern bank of Biddeford separated as Pepperrellborough, named for Sir William Pepperrell, hero of the Battle of Louisburg and late proprietor of the town. But inhabitants found the name cumbersome, so in 1805 it was renamed Saco. It would be incorporated as a city in 1867. Saco became a center for lumbering, with log drives down the river from Little Falls Plantation (now Daytonmarker, Lymanmarker, Hollismarker and part of Limingtonmarker). At Saco Falls, the timber was cut by 17 sawmills. In 1827, the community produced of sawn lumber, some of which was used for shipbuilding.

Main Street in c.

On Factory Island, the Saco Iron Works began operation in 1811. The Saco Manufacturing Company established a cotton mill in 1826, and a canal was dug through rock to provide water power. The mill burned in 1830, but was replaced in 1831 by the York Manufacturing Company. With the arrival of the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth Railroad in 1842, Factory Island developed into a major textile manufacturing center, with extensive brick mills dominating the Saco and Biddeford waterfronts. Other businesses included foundries, belting and harnessmaking, and machine shops. But the New England textile industry faded in the 20th-century, and the York Manufacturing Company would close in 1958. The prosperous mill town era, however, left behind much fine architecture in the Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian styles. Many buildings are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Notable residents

Culture and Arts

Sites of interest

Other Events

  • Sidewalk Arts Festival
  • Mary's Walk (a walk for cancer)
  • Saco Bay Criterium (bike race)
  • Pumpkin Festival
  • Greek Heritage Festival


List of Schools

  • Fairfield School (K-2)
  • Young School (K-2)
  • C.K. Burns School (3-5)
  • Saco Middle School (6-8)
  • Thornton Academymarker(9-12)
  • Notre Dame de Lourdes School (K-8)
  • Saco Transition Program (6-12)

Higher Education

Saco is about from the University of New Englandmarker in Biddeford, Mainemarker, from the University of Southern Mainemarker in Gorham, Mainemarker and Portland, Mainemarker, and from York County Community Collegemarker in Wells, Mainemarker.


Saco is located at (43.510425, -70.444920) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.3 square miles (101.9 km²), of which, 38.5 square miles (99.7 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²) of it (2.21%) is water. Situated beside Saco Bay on the Gulf of Mainemarker, Saco is drained by the Saco Rivermarker.

Saco borders the city of Biddefordmarker, as well as the towns of Scarboroughmarker, Buxtonmarker, Daytonmarker and Old Orchard Beachmarker.


Saco contains a wide variety of landforms, including beaches, fields, forests, bogs, and urban areas.


As of the census of 2000, there were 16,822 people, 6,801 households, and 4,590 families residing in the city. The population density was 437.2 people per square mile (168.8/km²). There were 7,424 housing units at an average density of 193.0/sq mi (74.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.91% White, 0.32% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.58% of the population.

There were 6,801 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.

Pepperrell Park in 1906
In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,105, and the median income for a family was $52,724. Males had a median income of $35,446 versus $25,585 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,444. About 7.1% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.


The Saco marker provides transportation between Portland, Mainemarker and Boston, Massachusettsmarker via train.Saco is accessible from Interstate-95 (I-95), U.S. Route 1, and Interstate 195 . There are also taxis that serve the Tri-City Area (Saco, Biddefordmarker, Old Orchard Beachmarker).The Portland International Jetportmarker, located in Portland, Mainemarker, is about from Saco.The ShuttleBus and Zoom Bus provide local transportation.

See also


  1. [1]Saco, Maine website
  2. [2]Saco Website, Economic Development, retrieved September, 2008
  3. [3]Downeaster, retrieved August, 2008
  4. [4]Shuttle Bus Service, retrieved September, 2008
  5. [5]Zoom Bus Service, retrieved September, 2008

External links

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