History

Norridgewock was formally the site of a celebrated tribe of Abenaki. The tribe and their missionary friend, Father Sebastian Raisle (from France)., was massacred in 1724 by Captain Moulton (of England) and his war party of 168 men. The village was burned, but the church bell was hidden and later recovered. It now sits in a cabinet documentation at Bowdoin College. Father Raisle’s strong box, which contains a dictionary of Indian language and other documentation (some relating to France’s war strategy), now presides in the Harvard University library.

  • The name “Norridgewock” means “smooth water between the rapids or falls” (which are Madison and Skowhegan.
  • Benedict Arnold’s army passed through the town in 1775 on their trek to Quebec.
  • Norridgewock was settled in 1773 and incorporated as the 54th town in 1778.
  • The Sophie May house on Sophie May Lane was the family home of 19th century children’s authors Rebecca Clark (pen name Sophie May) and her sister, Sarah Clark (pen name Penn Shirley). Rebecca wrote the “Little Prudy” series and Sarah wrote three series – “Little Miss Weezy”, “Silver Gate”, and “Boy Donald”.
  • Norridgewock sent 132 men into the army of the Union during the war of the rebellion. Twenty-five men were lost.
  • In 1838 the Female Academy was built to educate daughters of prominent citizens. The Norridgewock Historical Society Museum is now located in the building.
  • The infamous couple, Bonnie and Clyde, traveled through Maine while on vacation in 1931. It is rumored that they robbed the First Bank of Maine before leaving Norridgewock.
  • Ashley Wing Memorial Park is home of some of the tallest white pine trees in the state. Some stand nearly 200′.
  • The Central Maine Regional Airport (located on the Airport Road) was built during WWII as a respite for bomber planes returning from Europe.  It was never used for it’s intended purpose.  It has two 4,000′ runways.
  • Norridgewock is currently home to one of three New Balance Shoe factories in the state.
  • The new single-arched bridge, completed in 2011, replaced a four arched cement bridge that was built in 1929.  Prior to that there stood a covered wooden bridge that was built in 1849.