Maine Street (yes, with an “e”) in downtown Brunswick is a broad thoroughfare that showcases so much of what this college community has to offer — history, arts and culture, education, quaint shops, and the beauty of New England coastal living. Here you’ll still find the three “F’s” that have driven this region’s economy for decades — fishing, farming, forestry — along with some manufacturing and industrial, retail, professional and arts-related businesses.
Maine Street takes you right past the campus of Bowdoin College, Maine’s oldest college and home today to many cultural resources for the community. The College Museum of Art is on Maine; also on campus are the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum & Arctic Study Center and the Pickard Theatre, home to the Maine State Music Theatre, which celebrates its 60th season in summer 2018. The Bowdoin International Music Festival treats students, locals and visitors to more than 100 free events, including concerts, student performances, and lectures.
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the classic novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin while living in Brunswick. The house her family rented in the 1850s, where they sheltered a fugitive slave from South Carolina, is just east of Maine on Federal Street.
If it’s local history you’re after, take a guided tour of the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum on Maine Street, home for more than 50 years to the Civil War hero, Maine governor and Bowdoin president. Just off Maine on Park Row is the Pejepscot Historical Society, with several collections and programs dedicated to telling and preserving the rich history of the towns of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell.
The Brunswick Downtown Association hosts a wide range of civic, cultural and social events for all ages on and around Maine Street — including Meet the Candidates, the Community BBQ, the Rolling Slumber Bed Races, Outdoor Arts Festival, Music on the Mall, and the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Traveling north, Maine Street heads across the Androscoggin River just past the Fort Andross Mill Complex. This site was originally a trading post for fur trappers, then a garrison during King William’s war in the late 1680s, and later a cotton and textile mill. A refurbished gem today, the formerly vacant mill building is a vibrant mixed-use business center.
As Maine Street crosses the river into neighboring Topsham, it loses its “e” somewhere before you reach the Sea Dog Brewing Company. That’s a good place to stop after you’ve spent the day exploring all that Brunswick has to offer.
All photos courtesy of Downtown Brunswick Association
Lower Maine Street and Maine Street/Fort Andress photos taken by Benjamin Williamson