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Oakland, Maine
Oakland, Maine in January 2012
Oakland, Maine in January 2012
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
Incorporated 1873
Village Oakland
Area
 • Total 28.17 sq mi (72.96 km2)
 • Land 25.67 sq mi (66.48 km2)
 • Water 2.50 sq mi (6.47 km2)
Elevation
433 ft (132 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 6,240
 • Estimate 
(2012)
6,249
 • Density 243.1/sq mi (93.9/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
04963
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-54560
GNIS feature ID 0582645
Website Town website

Oakland is a town in Kennebec County in the U.S. state of Maine. The population was 6,240 at the 2010 census. Gateway to the Belgrade Lakes region, Oakland is 4 miles (6 km) west of Waterville and approximately 18 miles (29 km) north of Augusta, the state capital.

History

Oakland was first settled in about 1780 by colonists of English descent from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. At that time, the region was known as Taconnet after Indian Chief Taconnet, an Abenaki sachem. It was incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court in 1771 as part of Winslow. In 1802, the area west of the Kennebec River was incorporated as Waterville. But manufacturers in the western section, who had created a separate center of industry and trade and were dissatisfied with its taxation, petitioned to have the district set off as a town. The Maine State Legislature complied, and on February 26, 1873 incorporated it as West Waterville. In 1883, it was renamed Oakland, presumably after all the oak trees in the town, though some favored the name Weldon.

Farmers were attracted by the town's fertile soil for cultivation, grazing and dairy farming. Chief crops were hay, fruits and vegetables. Manufacturers were drawn because of the water power provided by the Messalonskee Stream. Before 1800, Jonathan Coombs built a sawmill and gristmill. The Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad arrived in 1849, spurring Oakland to boom as a mill town. With several manufacturers of farm implements, it became known as the axe and scythe capital of New England. Other factories produced canned goods, tinware, carriages, furniture, tools, machinery, woolens, lumber, coffins, leather, boots and shoes. There was a granite quarry. In 1872, Oakland became the southern terminal of the Somerset Railroad, connecting first to North Anson, then to Bingham, and finally to Moosehead Lake. But after economic changes, new businesses replaced the agricultural equipment industry, including Valley Distributors, Industrial Metal Recycling, Charlie's Log Cabin and Wrabacon.

The town's ponds and lakes are home to a number of summer camps. Downtown contains some notable architecture, including Memorial Hall, built in 1870, and the Oakland Public Library, a Carnegie library built between 1913 and 1915. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Waterville and Augusta are service centers for Oakland, and many Oakland residents commute to jobs in those areas. The completion of Interstate 95 in the 1960s increased Oakland's relationship with the Augusta area, and to some extent the Greater Portland and Bangor areas.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.17 square miles (72.96 km2), of which, 25.67 square miles (66.48 km2) of it is land and 2.50 square miles (6.47 km2) is water. Oakland is drained by four major waterways: McGrath Pond, Salmon Lake, East Pond and Messalonskee Lake and Stream.

The town is crossed by Interstate 95, and state routes 11, 23, 41 and 137. It borders the towns of Belgrade to the southwest, Smithfield to the northwest, Fairfield to the north, Waterville to the southeast, and Sidney to the south.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,647
1890 2,044 24.1%
1900 1,913 −6.4%
1910 2,257 18.0%
1920 2,473 9.6%
1930 2,664 7.7%
1940 2,730 2.5%
1950 2,679 −1.9%
1960 3,075 14.8%
1970 3,535 15.0%
1980 5,162 46.0%
1990 5,595 8.4%
2000 5,959 6.5%
2010 6,240 4.7%
2014 (est.) 6,216 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: Oakland (CDP), Maine

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,240 people, 2,543 households, and 1,793 families living in the town. The population density was 243.1 inhabitants per square mile (93.9/km2). There were 3,024 housing units at an average density of 117.8 per square mile (45.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.7% White, 0.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 2,543 households, of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.5% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the town was 42.3 years. 22.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.9% were from 25 to 44; 32.5% were from 45 to 64; and 13.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

Sites of interest

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