Downtown in 2003
|Incorporated||January 24, 1816|
|• Total||43.28 sq mi (112.09 km2)|
|• Land||43.12 sq mi (111.68 km2)|
|• Water||0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)|
|Elevation||1,030 ft (314 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||988|
|• Density||23.1/sq mi (8.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0582541|
Kingfield is a town in Franklin County, Maine, United States. The population was 997 at the 2010 census. Kingfield is the principal gateway to Sugarloaf, a major ski resort, and is headquarters to Maine Huts and Trails.
The history of Kingfield is one of falling bridges, opening and closing roads, numerous floods and fires, and citizens and generosity, leadership, and foresight. The first white men recorded to have visited the present location of Kingfield were John W. Dutton and Nathaniel Kimball in 1805. The following year, Dutton and Kimball, after spending time the previous year hunting in the area, returned to the area with their families and formed a settlement at the foot of Vose Mountain.
In 1807, William King (later to be Maine’s first Governor), in partnership with three others, purchased townships 1, 2, and 3 of Bingham’s West Kennebec Purchase. Today, those townships are known as Concord, Lexington, and Kingfield. The Stanley family settled in Kingfield at this time. Salomon Stanley came as William King’s personal envoy in 1807. He and his descendents were business, political, social, and religious leaders of the Town. As farmers and businessmen, they also served as town clerks, school teachers, school superintendent, and selectmen. The twin sons, Francis Edgar (F.E.) and Freelan Oscar (F.O.) became famous as manufacturers of the Stanley Dry Plate, bought in 1903 by Eastman Kodak, and the Stanley Steamer automobile, manufactured from 1902-1924. Their sister, Chansonetta, became a photographer renowned for her portraits of local rural life of the turn of the century. (See the Stanley Museum website at stanleymuseum.org for more information). Ten years after the first settlement of the area (1816), Kingfield was incorporated as the 210th town in the Maine District of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By this time, much of the land was being cleared along the rivers, in the Tufts Pond area, and at the foot of Voss Mountain. The principal crops at the time were potatoes, corn, and wheat. Most of the farms also had small orchards growing apples and pears. The first industry was a sawmill located on the bank of the Carrabassett River to supply the building needs of the new community.
As the population grew so did the extent of services available to the town. By the nineteenth century there were several stores in town, at least one shoemaker, a resident physician, several sawmills, a clover mill, carding mill, tannery, flour mill, and a rake factory. Some of the major issues concerning the voters of the Town during the first half-century were the separation of Maine from Massachusetts (strongly in favor), the removal of Kingfield from Somerset County (opposed), dealing with the town paupers, planning Kingfield Depot and accepting new streets, roads, and bridges. The bridge across the mill pond to what is now Maple Street was a source of constant debate. Another concern was the running at-large (in the highway and on the common) of horses, cattle, and hogs. Farmington & Carrabasset Railroad Company proposed a two-foot railway in 1883 but lost out to the Franklin & Kingfield Depot. Megantic Railroad for funding in an August 11 vote at Winter Hall in Kingfield.[clarification needed] The line was to start at either Farmington or South Strong and go over a route that included New Vineyard and New Portland and Kingfield. It was never built. There’s an interesting history of the Franklin County two-foot railroads here. The Town’s population reached its peak of 1,024 in 1930.
The decline of industrial activities in Kingfield followed that of the nation during the Depression. The narrow gauge railroad discontinued operations in the summer of 1932, started up again in April 1933, and finally ceased operation in the summer of 1936. The competition from highway vehicles and the decline in freight led to its discontinuance. A fire of January 29, 1933, destroyed B.M. Lander’s sawmill on the bank of the mill pond, W.S. Safford’s small shop, and the Spinning Boss Mill of Charles E. Chamberlain (the mill begun by J.B. Mayo in 1880.) None of these were rebuilt. The “Upper Mill”, built by Cliff Huse in 1912, became part of Wins Spool and Bobbin and was used in conjunction with their downtown mill until the latter part of the 1950s. In the early fifties, several of the local sports enthusiasts became interested in skiing. Through the enthusiasms, planning, and leadership of local residents – mainly Amos Winter, Jr, with “Stub” Taylor, Fred Morrison, Mickey Durrell, and Austin and Odlin Thompson – the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Development got its beginning. Sugarloaf has since grown to be a large, commercial corporation and now forms a major part of Kingfield’s economic base. The recreational industry has provided the impetus to reverse the declining population and economy of Kingfield. The construction of Nestle’s Poland Spring bottling plant in 2007-2008 ushers in a new era for Kingfield. This is expected to lead to growth in other areas. Nestled in the woods off Route 27, the plant cannot be seen from the highway.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.28 square miles (112.09 km2), of which, 43.12 square miles (111.68 km2) of it is land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2) is water. Situated in the Carrabassett River valley, Kingfield is drained by the Carrabassett River.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Kingfield has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 997 people, 447 households, and 268 families residing in the town. The population density was 23.1 inhabitants per square mile (8.9/km2). There were 695 housing units at an average density of 16.1 per square mile (6.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.5% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.4% of the population.
There were 447 households of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.0% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.78.
The median age in the town was 46.3 years. 20.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 34.3% were from 45 to 64; and 18.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,103 people, 454 households, and 304 families residing in the town. The population density was 25.4 people per square mile (9.8/km²). There were 659 housing units at an average density of 15.2 per square mile (5.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.37% White, 0.09% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.18% of the population. 24.8% were of English, 18.0% American, 12.1% Irish, 8.0% French, 6.5% German, 5.3% French Canadian and 5.0% Finnish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 454 households out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $29,250, and the median income for a family was $37,614. Males had a median income of $27,059 versus $20,547 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,954. About 5.1% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.
Sites of interest
Kingfield is part of Regional School Unit Number 58 and Maine School Administrative District Number 58.
Schools in the district include Kingfield Elementary School for students from Kindergarten to grade 8.
- Eugene Clark, Wisconsin State Senator
- William King, first governor of Maine
- Francis E. Stanley, inventor, businessman
- Freelan O. Stanley, inventor, businessman
- Chansonetta Stanley Emmons, photographer
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Climate Summary for Kingfield, Maine
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Schools". Town of Kingfield Maine. Retrieved 2012-11-06.