Located in central Maine, approximately 55 miles north of Portland, is Maine’s capital city, Augusta. Augusta was chartered as a city in 1849. Augusta is just over 58 square miles, and borders the towns of Manchester, Sidney, Vassalboro, Windsor and Chelsea. The capital city is also the easternmost state capital in the United States. As of 2000, there were roughly 18,560 people and 8,565 households in Augusta. Although the city is the third-least populous state capital in the United States (after Montpelier, Vermont and Pierre, South Dakota), there are lots of exciting things to explore in throughout Augusta.
In 1890, the very first trolley line began operation in Augusta, connecting the city with Gardiner and Hallowell. Not long after, buses replaced the trolley line, and the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 95 were completed in 1955. Today, visitors frequently take advantage of the Concord Trailways bus station located in Augusta that frequents trips to Portland, Bangor, Boston, New York and beyond.
Augusta includes five public schools, a private school, one college (the University of Maine at Augusta), and two public libraries. The University of Maine at Augusta (commonly called UMA) is the third largest university in the University of Maine System. Augusta also features the headquarters for the Maine National Guard, which is located next to the Augusta airport.
The Kennebec River runs through the heart of Augusta, letting residents and visitors in Kennebec Valley watch boats sail down the river from the city’s many bridges. The river was vital to Augusta’s many mills during the 19th century. Today, Waterfront Park, which includes the Augusta Greenway Trail, is great for walking and biking alongside the scenic river. The Kennebec River Rail Trail is a 6.5-mile trail that leads from Augusta to Gardiner.
Summer temperatures in central Maine generally remain in the low to mid 70’s with a few occasional warm days in July. Augusta’s winters are snow-filled, with an average low temperature of 10 degrees F in January, which is the city’s coldest month.
Aside from enjoying the many opportunities to explore the outdoors, Augusta also provides visitors many delicious restaurant options. The Senator Inn’s is a well-known spa in the city that also includes their incredible Cloud 9 restaurant. Other Augusta staples include the Red Barn, famous for their seafood and chicken baskets, as well as Cushnoc Brewing Co., which serves brick oven pizza and craft beer.
Since the late 2000s, there has been a renewed and ongoing focus by city officials, the Augusta Downtown Alliance, and private developers to revitalize the downtown area of Augusta. It’s an exciting time to visit the capital city, as more and more new businesses enter Augusta.
5 Fast Facts About Augusta, Maine:
- The biggest employers in Augusta include the Central Maine Power Company (CMP), Maine General Medical Center, and the O’Connor GMC Buick car dealership.
- Augusta is notable for the National Historic Landmark named Fort Western, a former British colonial outpost on the Kennebec River that today is the oldest wooden fort in the United States.
- Most people don’t realize that before Augusta took the title, Portland served for a short time as the capital of Maine.
- In 1832, the city’s elaborate capital building was complete. The statehouse cost $145,000 to build which was extremely expensive at the time.
- When it was initially settled, Augusta was called by its Indian name, Cushnoc, meaning "head of tide."