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Phillips, Maine
Main Street in 1907
Main Street in 1907
Phillips, Maine is located in Maine
Phillips, Maine
Phillips, Maine
Location in Maine
Country United States
State Maine
County Franklin
Incorporated 1812
 • Total 50.99 sq mi (132.06 km2)
 • Land 50.81 sq mi (131.60 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.47 km2)
1,171 ft (357 m)
 • Total 898
 • Density 18/sq mi (6.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-58445
GNIS feature ID 0582674

Phillips is a town in Franklin County, Maine, United States. The population was 898 at the 2020 census. It is home to the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad, a heritage railroad.


The plantation was part of a large tract granted by Massachusetts about 1790 to Jonathan Phillips of Boston. It was first settled in 1791 by Perkins Allen from Martha's Vineyard, a sea captain who called it Curvo. It was incorporated on February 25, 1812 and named for Phillips. The town was noted both for its productive soil, with hay the chief crop, and its superior water power. At falls along the Sandy River were erected sawmills, gristmills, a fulling mill and a carding machine.

Other industries included a starch factory, tannery, furniture factory, boot and shoe factory, carriage maker, and harness maker. Most significantly, however, Phillips became prosperous as the center for lumbering in the Rangeley Lake region. At first, lumber was shipped during winter months on sledges dragged across the snow by oxen. But then in 1879, the narrow-gauge Sandy River Railroad opened to Farmington, where the Maine Central Railroad carried freight to further destinations. In 1891, the line became the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad. Although closed in 1935, it has been revived as a tourist attraction.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 50.99 square miles (132.06 km2), of which, 50.81 square miles (131.60 km2) of it is land and 0.18 square miles (0.47 km2) is water. Phillips is drained by the Sandy River, a tributary of the Kennebec River.

The town is bordered by Madrid and Salem Townships to the north, Township 6 North of Weld to the west, Weld and Avon to the south, and Freeman Township to the east.

Phillips is crossed by state routes 4, 142 and 149.

Toothaker Pond

Toothaker Pond
Coordinates 44°52′N 70°24′W / 44.867°N 70.400°W / 44.867; -70.400
Primary outflows Sandy River
Max. length 500 yd (460 m)
Surface area 23 acres (9.3 ha)
Max. depth 20 feet (6.1 m)
Water volume 134 acre⋅ft (165,000 m3)
Surface elevation 794 ft (242 m)

The Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad followed the west shore of Toothaker pond in the northern part of Phillips. The pond overflows into the Sandy River 1 mile (1.6 km) to the south. Berlin Mills Co. built a sawmill in 1902 using Toothaker Pond as a log pond. The pond shoreline was developed with residences and seasonal cabins after the sawmill closed in 1908. The pond has summer algal blooms and dissolved oxygen deficiencies making it unsuitable for trout, but it holds rainbow smelt, golden shiner and redbelly dace.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 634
1830 954 50.5%
1840 1,312 37.5%
1850 1,673 27.5%
1860 1,698 1.5%
1870 1,373 −19.1%
1880 1,437 4.7%
1890 1,394 −3.0%
1900 1,399 0.4%
1910 1,423 1.7%
1920 1,353 −4.9%
1930 1,143 −15.5%
1940 1,186 3.8%
1950 1,088 −8.3%
1960 1,021 −6.2%
1970 979 −4.1%
1980 1,092 11.5%
1990 1,148 5.1%
2000 990 −13.8%
2010 1,028 3.8%
2020 898 −12.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,028 people, 454 households, and 284 families living in the town. The population density was 20.2 inhabitants per square mile (7.8/km2). There were 668 housing units at an average density of 13.1 per square mile (5.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.7% White, 0.2% African American, 0.3% Asian, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 454 households, of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.4% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.76.

The median age in the town was 45.5 years. 21.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.9% were from 25 to 44; 34.6% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

Stereoscopic views

Sites of interest


This climatic region has 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, Phillips has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

Notable people

  • Horace A. Barrows, 19th century physician, maker of plant-based medicines and advocate of vegetarian diet
  • Carroll L. Beedy, US congressman
  • Nathan Cook Brackett, abolitionist, founder of Storer College and Bluefield State College
  • Minnie D. Craig, legislator
  • J. Blaine Morrison, Maine legislator and lawyer
  • Norman Harry Rothschild, eminent scholar of Tang Dynasty China and professor of history at the University of North Florida
  • John P. Soule, photographer, publisher
  • C. J. Stevens, writer
  • Augustus Stinchfield, physician

See also

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