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Shapleigh, Maine
Mousam Lake in 1905
Mousam Lake in 1905
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Coordinates: 43°32′26″N 70°50′53″W / 43.54056°N 70.84806°W / 43.54056; -70.84806Coordinates: 43°32′26″N 70°50′53″W / 43.54056°N 70.84806°W / 43.54056; -70.84806
Country United States
State Maine
County York
Incorporated 1785
 • Type Town Meeting
 • Total 41.19 sq mi (106.68 km2)
 • Land 38.75 sq mi (100.36 km2)
 • Water 2.44 sq mi (6.32 km2)  5.92%
709 ft (216 m)
 • Total 2,668
 • Estimate 
 • Density 68.9/sq mi (26.6/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-67475
GNIS feature ID 0582722

Shapleigh, pronounced "SHAP-lee", is a town in York County, Maine, United States which was incorporated as the state's 43rd town in 1785. The population was 2,668 at the 2010 census. Shapleigh is divided into the villages of North Shapleigh, Shapleigh Corner, Ross Corner and Emery Mills. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.


In 1668, Chief Captain Sunday (or Wesumbe) of the Newichawannock Abenaki tribe deeded Francis Small the Ossipee Tract, which included Cornish, Parsonsfield, Newfield, Limerick, Limington and Shapleigh. Small, a trader from Kittery, then sold a half interest to Major Nicholas Shapleigh of Eliot. In 1770, heirs discovered the unrecorded deed and made claim. Shapleigh's heirs took Parsonsfield, Shapleigh and one half of Limerick.

First called Hubbardstown, it was settled in 1772 when Simeon Emery erected a sawmill at the foot of Mousam Pond. On March 5, 1785, the town was incorporated as Shapleigh, named for its early proprietor. In 1830, Shapleigh's west half was set off and incorporated as Acton. In 1846, a portion of Shapleigh was annexed by Newfield. Shapleigh annexed an eastern portion of land from Waterboro in 1854.

There were sawmills in Emery Mills, Shapleigh Corner and North Shapleigh, which also had a woolen textile factory (known as Hargraves Woolen Mill) and leather board factory. Shapleigh was one of the Maine towns devastated by the Great Fires of 1947.

In 2009, Shapleigh residents (along with those of Newfield) successfully opposed the industrial-scale drawing of water from its aquifer by Nestlé, operating under the Poland Spring brand.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 41.19 square miles (106.68 km2), of which, 38.75 square miles (100.36 km2) of it is land and 2.44 square miles (6.32 km2) is water. Shapleigh is drained by the Little Ossipee River and Mousam River. All of Shapleigh's woodlands are protected by The Nature Conservancy.

The town has three mountains over 1,000 feet (305 m): Fort Ridge, Abbott Mountain and an unnamed mountain (1,017 feet / 310 m) located a half mile northwest of Abbott Mountain. Fort Ridge, with its highest summit at 1,114 feet (339.5 m) above sea level, is the town's highest mountain. Abbott Mountain, which is often mistaken to be the highest point in town, rises to an elevation of 1,078 feet (328.6 m), making it the town's second highest point. Due to its local popularity as a hiking destination, high traffic from all terrain vehicles (ATV) and the resulting erosion from overuse, the actual elevation of Abbott Mountain's ground-down summit is estimated to be closer to 1,060 feet in elevation.

The town is served by state routes 11 and 109. It borders Acton to the west, Waterboro to the east, Alfred to the southeast, Newfield to the north, and Sanford to the south.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 1,320
1800 1,778 34.7%
1810 2,362 32.8%
1820 2,815 19.2%
1830 1,479 −47.5%
1840 1,510 2.1%
1850 1,348 −10.7%
1860 1,273 −5.6%
1870 1,087 −14.6%
1880 1,128 3.8%
1890 968 −14.2%
1900 847 −12.5%
1910 691 −18.4%
1920 457 −33.9%
1930 530 16.0%
1940 290 −45.3%
1950 531 83.1%
1960 515 −3.0%
1970 559 8.5%
1980 1,370 145.1%
1990 1,911 39.5%
2000 2,326 21.7%
2010 2,668 14.7%
2014 (est.) 2,688 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,668 people, 1,072 households, and 766 families living in the town. The population density was 68.9 inhabitants per square mile (26.6/km2). There were 2,036 housing units at an average density of 52.5 per square mile (20.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.6% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 1,072 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.5% were non-families. 19.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the town was 43.6 years. 21% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.8% were from 25 to 44; 35.3% were from 45 to 64; and 12.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 50.4% male and 49.6% female.

General information


Shapleigh students attend Shapleigh Memorial School which is a part of Regional School Unit 57. Students in grades 6-8 from Shapleigh attend Massabesic Middle School, and students in grades 9-12 attend Massabesic High School, both of which are in Waterboro.

Notable people

  • Frank Abbott, dentist, author, president of the American Dental Association (1888)
  • Bruce McMillan, children's book author, photo-illustrator, and watercolor artist
  • Joshua Maria Young, bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania
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