Long before Europeans arrived in Maine, the area was the territory of the Abenaki, who relied on growing beans, corn and squash for food, supplemented by hunting, fishing and wild foods. A small group of pioneers from southern Massachusetts arrived in the Skowhegan area in 1771, on what would become Old Canada Road. They settled on an island in the Kennebec river, part of a land grant made from the English king to William Bradford in 1629. Soon a potter’s shed was constructed and clay from the Kennebec River was used to make glazed earthenware. The Greek Revival cottage that would become Skowhegan History House was built in 1839, on a site on the eastern bank of the river that was an important to the Abnaki people. Today, the Abenaki’s “watching place for fish” is the delightful historic town of Skowhegan. Incorporated in 1823, it was originally named Milburn. Because residents preferred the old Native American name, it was renamed in 1836. The town grew by annexing several other timeless communities, to become the county seat in 1871. Buildings in the impeccably preserved town date from all eras.
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