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China, Maine
Location in Kennebec County and the state of Maine.
Location in Kennebec County and the state of Maine.
Country United States
State Maine
County Kennebec
Villages China
Dirigo Corner
Palermo (part)
South China
Weeks Mills
 • Total 56.86 sq mi (147.27 km2)
 • Land 49.88 sq mi (129.19 km2)
 • Water 6.98 sq mi (18.08 km2)
285 ft (87 m)
 • Total 4,408
 • Density 88/sq mi (34.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-12735
GNIS feature ID 0582410
Website Town of China

China is a town in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,408 at the 2020 census. China is included in the Augusta, Maine micropolitan New England City and Town Area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 56.86 square miles (147.27 km2), of which, 49.88 square miles (129.19 km2) of it is land and 6.98 square miles (18.08 km2) is water. Bodies of water in the town include China Lake (3939 acres), Three Mile Pond (1174 acres), and Branch Pond (310 acres).

China is bordered on the northwest by Winslow, the northeast by Albion, on the east by Palermo, on the south by Windsor on the west by Vassalboro. It is served by US Route 202, State Routes 32, 9 and 3.

China Lake

China Lake is a lake in the town. China Lake has two large basins connected by a narrow neck. The elongated eastern basin with an average depth of less than 30 feet (9.1 m) is entirely within the town of China, and has an irregular shoreline heavily developed with residences and seasonal cottages.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, China has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.


In 1774 a family named Clark settled in the area and established Jones' Plantation. In 1796 Jones' Plantation was incorporated as Harlem. On June 25, 1818, the Town of China was incorporated by combining Harlem, Fairfax (Albion), and Winslow.

The name of the town was chosen by Japheth Washburn. He wanted to call the town Bloomville, but people from the town of Bloomfield objected, saying that the similarity of names could cause confusion. Mr. Washburn settled on the name China, because it was the name of one of his favorite hymns. This widely sung hymn was written by Timothy Swan of Northfield Massachusetts in 1790 and was published in Swan's "New England Harmony" in 1801.

China actually had a fourth district located at the height of land between Palermo and Albion, part of which is located today in what is known as Thurston Park. It was in this area that numerous families of African-American descent settled. Their history, spanning roughly 1790 to 1860, can be itemized in the Maine state archives. If you have a guide, you can still locate some cemetery plots including a large obelisk stone in memory of "Tolbot" on a high wooded ridge which was also the location of an early shingle mill. Other burial and foundation sites are also present and can best be located by using early census maps and their indicators.

It is theorized that these families migrated here because it represented a safe area which slavehunters would not approach as China and several other towns were "Quaker" towns which would not tolerate slavehunters, no matter what either federal Fugitive Slave Act demanded.


The town of China contains five villages: China Village, South China, China, Weeks Mills, and Branch Mills.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 587
1810 939 60.0%
1820 894 −4.8%
1830 2,233 149.8%
1840 2,675 19.8%
1850 2,769 3.5%
1860 2,719 −1.8%
1870 2,118 −22.1%
1880 1,769 −16.5%
1890 1,423 −19.6%
1900 1,380 −3.0%
1910 1,297 −6.0%
1920 1,257 −3.1%
1930 1,163 −7.5%
1940 1,252 7.7%
1950 1,375 9.8%
1960 1,561 13.5%
1970 1,850 18.5%
1980 2,918 57.7%
1990 3,713 27.2%
2000 4,106 10.6%
2010 4,328 5.4%
2020 4,408 1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,328 people, 1,718 households, and 1,234 families living in the town. The population density was 86.8 inhabitants per square mile (33.5/km2). There were 2,316 housing units at an average density of 46.4 per square mile (17.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.1% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.

There were 1,718 households, of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.2% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the town was 42.1 years. 23.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.3% were from 25 to 44; 33.7% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.


China is part of Regional School Unit 18 (China, Rome, Belgrade, Sidney and Oakland). China students are given the choice of attending any public high school including nearby schools in Winslow, Waterville, Augusta and Oakland. There is also a private high school, Erskine Academy, in South China, which the majority of students choose to attend, and the town subsidizes their tuition (which Erskine reduces for China students). The town subsidizes a portion of tuition to any other private school a student chooses to attend, as well as the tuition to attend a public school.

Notable people

  • Gerry Boyle, mystery author
  • Rufus Jones, Quaker theologian
  • Brendan Kehoe, author
  • Mary Mayhew, lobbyist and politician
  • Laroy S. Starrett, inventor
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