Welcome to Readfieldhistorical.org - The Official Website of The Readfield Historical Society
Readfield Historical Society
Museum and Archives - 759 Main Street Readfield, ME 04355


Readfield was first settled in the mid-eighteenth century when the area was still a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Originally part of the Town of Winthrop when it incorporated in 1771, the North Parish split off in 1791, getting 4/9 of the area and renaming itself Readfield. This new community was named in honor of John Read, a land agent for the Commonwealth.

Readfield is bounded on the east by the Town of Manchester, on the north by Mount Vernon and Belgrade, on the west by Fayette and Wayne, and on the south by Winthrop. There are four sections to Readfield, all paying taxes to the Town of Readfield: East Readfield, Readfield Depot, Readfield Corner, and Kents Hill. Each was a thriving village in its own right in the 1800's, with churches, school, businesses and post office.

In 1825 an educational institution called the Maine Wesleyan Seminary was instituted on Kents Hill, under the auspices of the Methodists. In 1852 it also became a college for women. Known now as Kents Hill School, it is a preparatory high school which attracts students from all over the world. In 1826 the Masons were established in Readfield, with their first Masonic Hall being built in 1827. In 1849 the railroad came to Readfield, where up to six passenger trains a day stopped as late as 1930. In 1877 the oilcloth factory burned in East Readfield, causing the loss of 50 jobs. This fire, along with the 1905 purchase of nearby Carleton Pond by the Augusta Water District, marked the eventual decline of the village. In 1897 the Fire Department was established. It was, and still is, all volunteer.

In 1921 there was a huge fire at Readfield Corner, wiping out most of the buildings there. In 1955 the Readfield Elementary School opened. All other elementary schools in town closed, further contributing to the decline of the villages.

Lakes and ponds in Readfield include Maranacook Lake, Torsey Pond, Lovejoy Pond, Crotched Pond and Carlton Pond. Readfield had an active and vibrant industrial life in the 1800's and early 1900's. There was a woolen factory known as the Readfield Manufacturing Company, a sash and blind factory, a boot factory, a grist mill, and a slaughter house. Almost nothing remains of the area that was known as Factory Square, but for a dam and a house that is slowly falling apart.
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