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About Our Town

HISTORY

Scarborough was incorporated in the middle 1600’s. The Scarborough Historical Society obtained a copy from the archives in Boston of the “Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Vol. IV – Part 1 1650 – 1660.” A number of our early settlers “engaged themselves to this authority of the Massachusetts, at the date hereof, July 13, 1658. Whereas the tounes of Black Point, Blew Point, Spurwincke, and Casco Bay (Spurwincke and Casco Bay became the town of “Falmouth” in this order) have acknowledged themselves subject to the government of the Massachusetts, as by the subscriptions under theire hands doth appeare, wee, the commissioners of the Generall Court of the Massachusetts, doe actually graunt as followeth.” The order continued to established both the towns of Scarborough and Falmouth (now Cape Elizabeth) and was signed and sealed by the commissioners of the “Generall Court” on “July the 14, 1658.” This is the excerpt from the order on the Incorporation of the Town of Scarborough:

“That those places that were formerly called Blacke Pojnt, Blew Point, Stratton’s Islands, thereto adjacent, shall henceforth be called by ye name of Scarborough, the bounds of which toune on the westerne side begineth where the toune of Saco endeth, & so doth runne along on the westerne side of the River of Spurwinke, eight miles back into the country.”

The settlement of Scarborough was one of the earliest made on the New England coast. John Jocelyn, writer, botanist and English nobleman, came to Scarborough in 1663 to visit his brother Henry Jocelyn, who had settled on Prout’s Neck. His visit lasted eight years. His writings offer the best history of that time. He wrote that the province of Maine had plenty of magistrates, husbandmen and planters, but very few skilled craftsmen.

In the early 1600’s, John Stratton had his trading post upon the island off Scarborough’s shore, which still bears his name. This island also saw many of the other first settlers. In the 1630’s, the first settlement of Black Point was the 1500-acre Cammock’s land grant; by 1650 there were 50 homes. This grant is now known as Prout’s Neck.

The country between the Saco and the Spurwink rivers was originally called Black Point. Just when the narrow tongue of land now known as Pine Point was first called Blue Point and/or Pine Point is uncertain, but it is said that the spruce trees covering the eastern shore of the Nonesuch River appeared black to ships, and the hardwood on the western shores of the Nonesuch and Dunstan Rivers appeared blue. In 1636, Richard Foxwell built his homestead a little south of where Mill Creek (Foxwell’s Brook) saunters into Dunstan River. Henry Watts built nearby the same year. This began the second settlement.

The third principal settlement of the old Scarborough was Dunstan in 1651. Andrew and Arthur Alger purchased more than one thousand acres from Uphannum, daughter of Wackwarreska, Sagamore of Owascoag County. Owascoag was the Indian name for Scarborough, meaning “place of much grass.”

The town incorporated in 1658 and was named for Scarborough, England. It included those lands formerly called Black Point, Blue Point, and Stratton’s Island and extended back eight miles from the sea. These boundaries have changed almost every century.

By October, 1676 Scarborough, a town with three settlements of more than 100 houses and 1,000 head of cattle, had been destroyed -- some of its people killed and others taken captive by Native Americans. These settlers tried repeatedly to rebuild but peace was impossible. In 1690, the town was abandoned due to Native American uprisings, with inhabitants going to Portsmouth and other settlements further south.

The second settlement of Scarborough is regarded as dating to 1702. A fort was erected on the western shore of Garrison Cove, Prout's Neck. Other stockades were at Spurwink and Blue Point. The Hunnewell House was known as the “outpost for the defense of Black Point.” Richard Hunnewell, and eighteen other men were killed in 1703 at Massacre Pond. This incident took place after peace negotiations had been made.

UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS

We are fortunate to have three unique coastal areas within the Town of Scarborough:

  • The quaint summer cottages at Higgins Beach that date from the turn of the 20th century
  • The rocky coastline at Prouts Neck painted by Winslow Homer
  • The sandy beaches and protected waters of Pine Point

The studio and home of the artist Winslow Homer are located in Scarborough at Prouts Neck in Scarborough. The studio can be toured by appointment.

The Black Point Inn, included in the National Registry of Historic Hotels of America, is located at Prouts Neck in Scarborough. The Inn was originally known as "The Southgate" and was built by the Kaler family in 1878.

Scarborough is the birthplace of Maine's first governor, William King. The King homestead was located in the Dunstan area of Scarborough and the family burial plot is located in Scarborough.

The great salt marsh known as the Scarborough Marsh, which is Maine's largest tidal marsh encompassing approximately 3,100 acres, is located within the boundaries of the Town of Scarborough. The Marsh is protected at the local, state and federal levels and can be enjoyed by all. During the warmer months, the Maine Audubon operates the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center located on the Pine Point Road. For more information please contact them at 781-2330.

The first toll road in Maine was located in Scarborough along what is now known as U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough.

LOCATION

Scarborough is conveniently located in Cumberland County in southern Maine, approximately 7 miles south of the City of Portland. It is just a short drive to Portland and the Maine Mall with easy access to the Maine Turnpike, Portland Jetport and now passenger rail service to Boston and points south. Scarborough is a diverse community with a commitment to the quality of life and the environment.

Scarborough offers lovely sandy beaches and the rocky coastline made famous by a local artist, Winslow Homer. The largest saltwater marsh in Maine is located within our boundaries along with Rachel Carson Wildlife lands.

We are a suburban community that offers open spaces, parks and recreational areas for our residents and visitors. We also have a balance with our commercial businesses. The newest area for businesses to locate in Scarborough is along the Haigis Parkway, located right at Exit 6 of the Maine Turnpike.

The Scarborough Town Hall is located at 259 U.S. Route 1. This is just south of the junction of Rt. 1 and Black Point Road/Gorham Road.

Scarborough is a progressive community and uses careful long-term planning to make this an ideal place to locate your home or business in Maine.

FORM OF GOVERNMENT

The Town of Scarborough’s form of government is established by the Council-Manager Charter of the Town of Scarborough. The Town first adopted a Council-Manager Charter on October 7, 1969. The Charter was amended several times over the years until in 1990 a Charter Review Commission was established to do a full review of the charter document for updating. The result of their review was a new Charter document, which was adopted on November 3, 1992 and included a provision to review the Charter every 10-years. The first review under this provision was done in 2000 and various amendments were adopted on November 7, 2000.

The Town Council and Board of Education are comprised of seven members who are elected at large for staggered three-year terms. Municipal elections are held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each year. Candidates for both the Town Council and Board of Education are elected on a non-partisan basis.

The Town Council appoints the Town Manager, Town Assessor, Town Attorney and the members of the various boards, committees or commissions of the Town of Scarborough. The Council adopts the ordinances of the Town and the annual budget for the Town.

The Town Manager is the chief administrative officer of the Town and is responsible for all of the day-to-day operations of the Town. The Manager appoints the department heads subject to confirmation by the Town Council. The Manager prepares the annual budget and is responsible for its administration after adoption.

The full text of the Town’s Charter (pdf) is available.

OFFICES AND STAFF

The Town has full-time police, dispatch, public works, municipal offices, assessing, codes and planning offices, and full-time fire chief, deputy chief, emergency medical services director, paramedics complimented by call and per-diem personnel in both fire and rescue services.

Locations: Municipal Offices are located at 259 U.S. Route One; Public Safety Building (police, dispatch, fire and rescue) 246 U.S. Route One; Public Works 20 Washington Avenue; outlying fire stations are located in Pine Point, on Black Point Road, in Pleasant Hill, North Scarborough and Dunstan. Full-time rescue services are based in the Public Safety Building and Dunstan Fire Stations.

STATISTICS

Town of Scarborough Profile
1 Population per the 2010 census: 18,989
2 Number of active registered voters in May 2012 14,108
3 Area:  54 square miles; 27,919 acres (of which 4,411 is exempt)
4 Total property valuation for April 1, 2012 $3,576,196,300
5 Number of taxable parcels: 8,718
6 Number of residential parcels: 8,186
7 Municipal gross budget for Fiscal Year 2012, including education and county. $68,506,429
8 Fiscal Year 2012 property tax rate: $13.03 per $1,000 of valuation
9 Total square miles of Scarborough: 54
10 Miles of streets/roads: 169

QUICK REFERENCES

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