Westbrook Historical Society


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Westbrook is a city in Cumberland County, State of Maine. The population is about 16,000. The City Hall is at 2 York Street.

White settlers were reported in the area as early as 1632 but the first recorded deed was in 1657 and the first house was built in 1699.

The first permanent settler was Joseph Conant who is reported to have built a house, saw mill & grist mill at Saccarappa Falls about 1739. [One of Joseph Conant's descendant's still lives in Westbrook...and is an active member of the Westbrook Historical Society!]

Westbrook is on the Presumpscot River. Before the city received its name, there were two villages here. They were called Saccarappa (where downtown Westbrook now exists) and Ammoncongin (later called Cumberland Mills.).

Westbrook became a town in 1814 and was named for Colonel Thomas Westbrook who came to Maine in 1727. It became a city in 1891 and Mr. Leander Valentine was elected the first Mayor.

The seal of the City contains a ship as a symbol of the ship on which Colonel Westbrook sailed from New Hampshire to Maine. The seal shows the dates when Westbrook became a town and when it became a city. It also shows an armored (metal) boot which is said to have been copied from the Westbrook family crest in England.

Westbrook Map
Map of Westbrook

Westbrook has three bridges that cross the Presumpscot River. One is at the Saccarappa Falls on Bridge Street, one is the Cumberland Street Bridge and the third is the Riverton or Pride's Bridge on Bridgton Road.

Walker Memorial Library is the city's only library; the Warren Library (privately funded.closed in 2010.)

Electric cars connected Westbrook to Portland in 1892 and in 1903 a telephone exchange was opened here.

The Public Safety Building is on Main Street. It houses the fire department, the police department and the rescue unit.

The Mercy Hospital, Westbrook Campus, is on Park Road at the comer of Cumberland Street.

Westbrook’s three Roman Catholic Churches merged to form St. Anthony’s Parish at St. Hyacinth; services are now held at St. Hyacinth building on Brown Street. The City also is home to three Congregational Churches, one Baptist Church and one Lutheran Church, as well as several others of various faiths.

Westbrook has three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. The names of the elementary schools reflect the history of the City.

Saccarappa School got its name from the Indian name for the waterfalls seen from the Bridge Street Bridge. "Saccarappa" is said to mean "falling towards the rising sun".

Congin School got its name from the word Ammoncongin, the name of the early village which later became known as Cumberland Mills. Historians believe the word "Ammoncongin" means "high fishing place."

The Canal School received its simple name from the old Cumberland-Oxford Canal which flowed through Westbrook many years ago near the spot where the school was built. Canal boats carried lumber and other products into Portland before railroads and trucks were used.

Pride's Comer School was located in that part of Westbrook where several Pride families came to live many years ago. It closed in the spring of 2012.

The Presumpscot River flows through the towns of Gorham, Windham and Falmouth as well as Westbrook. The name of the river means "many rough places river".

Towns and cities bordering Westbrook are Portland, South Portland, Gorham, Windham, Falmouth and Scarborough.

 

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© 2006 Westbrook Historical Society, 426 Bridge Street, Westbrook, Maine 04092     •    (207) 854-5588
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