Rockland, Maine

Rockland is a city in Knox County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,297. It is the county seat of Knox County.[4] The city is a popular tourist destination. It is a departure point for the Maine State Ferry Service to the islands of Penobscot Bay: Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus.

Rockland, Maine
Rockland Downtown
Rockland Downtown
Official seal of Rockland, Maine

God Gives a Reward to Industry
Location in Knox County and the state of Maine.
Location in Knox County and the state of Maine.
Rockland, Maine is located in the United States
Rockland, Maine
Rockland, Maine
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°6′34″N 69°6′53″W / 44.10944°N 69.11472°WCoordinates: 44°6′34″N 69°6′53″W / 44.10944°N 69.11472°W
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (town)July 28, 1848
Incorporated (city)1854
 • MayorSheldon J. Lavway
 • Total15.07 sq mi (39.03 km2)
 • Land12.84 sq mi (33.26 km2)
 • Water2.23 sq mi (5.78 km2)
23 ft (7 m)
 • Total7,297
 • Estimate 
 • Density480/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)207
FIPS code23-63590
GNIS feature ID0574358


Abenaki Indians called it Catawamteak, meaning "great landing place." In 1767, John Lermond and his two brothers from Warren built a camp to produce oak staves and pine lumber. Thereafter known as Lermond's Cove, it was first settled about 1769. When in 1777 Thomaston was incorporated, Lermond's Cove became a district called Shore village. On July 28, 1848, it was set off as the town of East Thomaston. Renamed Rockland in 1850, it was chartered as a city in 1854.[5]

Vessel Launch Postcard 1900
Vessel launching c. 1900
Rockland-Rockport Lime Company, Rockland, ME
Rockland-Rockport Lime Co. c. 1912

Rockland developed rapidly because of shipbuilding and lime production. In 1854 alone, the city built eleven ships, three barks, six brigs and four schooners. The city had twelve lime quarries and 125 lime kilns, with upwards of 300 vessels to transport the mineral to various ports in the country.[6]

In March 1877, the Granite Cutters' International Union was formed in Rockland. It was one of the earliest craft unions in the United States and formed among the region's growing granite industry.

By 1886, shipbuilding was surpassed by the lime business, which had twelve manufacturers employing 1,000 workers. Nevertheless, Rockland had three or more shipyards, a marine railway, five sail lofts and two boatbuilders. Other industries included three grain mills, two foundries, three carriage factories, six lumber mills, two machine shops, three cooperies, one tannery, four granite and marble works, two boot and shoe factories, and four printing offices. Fishing was also important. Fleets of Friendship Sloops sailed between the harbor and fishing grounds across Penobscot Bay.[7]

The opening of the Knox and Lincoln Railroad in 1871 brought an influx of tourists. Inns and hotels were established to accommodate them, with the grandest being The Bay Point Hotel in 1889. With a commanding view near the breakwater, the resort offered every luxury and amusement. Renamed The Samoset Hotel in 1902, it was successful until the Great Depression, which began a slow decline. In the age of automobiles, travelers were no longer restricted to the limits of train service, but were free to explore elsewhere. Closed in 1969, the Victorian hotel burned in 1972. A new Samoset Resort opened in 1974.[8]

In 1915, the new superdreadnought USS Nevada (BB-36) conducted tests and completed her running trials just off the shore from Rockland.[9][10]

Today, Rockland is an officially designated micropolitan area. Since the early 1990s, Rockland has seen a shift in its economy away from the fishery and toward a service center city. It has also seen a substantial increase in tourism and the downtown has transformed into one of unique shops, boutiques, fine dining and art galleries. Rockland is the commercial center of the midcoast Maine region, with many historic inns, a coffee roaster, a food co-op, a community radio station WRFR-LP, and the Farnsworth Art Museum. On March 13, 2017 the Rockland City Council approved a resolve to support community diversity. Rockland was named a Coast Guard City in March 2008, in recognition of the long-standing and special relationship that the city and its residents have with the United States Coast Guard.[11][12][13]

Rockland, ME from Ingraham's Hill

General view c. 1908

Tillson's Wharf, Rockland, ME

Tillson's Wharf c. 1908

Thorndike Hotel, Rockland, ME

Main Street in 1915

Rockland Maine

Rockland station, ca. 1910


Rockland is home to the Maine Lobster Festival, a celebration held annually in honor of the town's primary export: lobster. In the first week of August, thousands of people come from all over the world to participate in this five-day event.[14] Rockland also is home to the Farnsworth Art Museum, a world-famous art gallery containing paintings by Andrew Wyeth and other well-known New England artists. Rockland's main street also features numerous small shops and businesses including coffee shops, book stores, art supply stores, restaurants, organic markets, computer repair and toy stores. Penobscot Bay, which Rockland borders, is known internationally as one of the best recreational sailing grounds in the world. The city's breakwater, built in the 19th century, also draws tourists.


Rockland sign
Welcome to Rockland

Rockland is located at 44°6′34″N 69°6′53″W / 44.10944°N 69.11472°W (44.109569, -69.114652).[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.07 square miles (39.03 km2), of which 12.84 square miles (33.26 km2) is land and 2.23 square miles (5.78 km2) is water.[1] Rockland is located on Penobscot Bay and the Gulf of Maine, part of the Atlantic Ocean. About ten miles to the east are the islands of North Haven and Vinalhaven, reached by ferry from Rockland.

Rockland is crossed by U.S. 1 and 1A, and state routes 17, 73 and 90. It borders the towns of Owls Head to the southeast, Thomaston to the southwest, Warren to the northwest, and Rockport to the northeast.


The coldest month is January and the warmest month is July.


View of Rockland, Maine from a plane
Rockland and Rockland Harbor from Owls Head Transportation Museum's Stearman Biplane
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20167,179[3]−1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 7,297 people, 3,423 households, and 1,744 families residing in the city. The population density was 568.3 inhabitants per square mile (219.4/km2). There were 3,925 housing units at an average density of 305.7 per square mile (118.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.8% White, 0.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 3,423 households of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.1% were non-families. 40.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.73.

The median age in the city was 43.5 years. 18.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.8% were from 25 to 44; 28.5% were from 45 to 64; and 19.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.5% male and 53.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 7,609 people, 3,434 households, and 1,943 families residing in the city. The population density was 589.2 people per square mile (227.6/km²). There were 3,752 housing units at an average density of 290.5 per square mile (112.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.90% White, 0.25% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.11% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.

There were 3,434 households out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.4% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,209, and the median income for a family was $37,083. Males had a median income of $27,212 versus $20,708 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,659. About 10.4% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.

Voter registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November 2012[18]
Party Total Voters Percentage
Unenrolled 1,732 36.02%
Democratic 1,576 32.77%
Republican 1,294 26.91%
Green Independent 206 4.28%
Total 4,808 100%


Sites of interest

Public Library, Rockland, ME
Rockland Public Library, built 1903-1904, is a Carnegie library designed by George Albert Clough (1843-1910)

Notable people

Rockland Breakwater Light, from the base of the breakwater


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson (ed.). Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc. pp. 261–262.
  6. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 284–285.
  7. ^ Varney, George J. (1886). "Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Rockland". Boston: Russell
  8. ^ "Samoset Resort History". Archived from the original on 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  9. ^ "Mightiest U.S. Ship Coming" (PDF). The New York Times: 9. September 19, 1915.
  10. ^ "Nevada Meets Tests; New Superdreadnought easily fills contract requirements" (PDF). The New York Times: 6. November 8, 1915.
  11. ^ "Rockland Coast Guard City, Rockland, Maine, One of 9 USA Coast Guard Cities". Archived from the original on 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  12. ^ Robicheau, Leanne M. (July 5, 2006). Bangor Daily News,1049057. Retrieved 2010-05-09. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Coast Guard City Designation for Rockland, Maine". Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  14. ^ "66th Annual Celebration of All Things Lobster, July 31 - August 4, 2013 in Rockland, Maine". Maine Lobster Festival. August 5, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "Monthly Averages for Rockland, Maine". The Weather Channel. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  18. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of November 6, 2012" (PDF). Maine Bureau of Corporations.
  19. ^ Treese, Joel D.. Biographical directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996: the Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First through the 104th Congress, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 1997. Alexandria, Va.: CQ Staff Directories, Inc., 1997. Print.
  20. ^ Gale, Thomas (December 16, 2007). "Todd Field Biography". Contemporary Authors.

21. Rockville/Manchester Journal Inquirer, 1980-2015

External links

American Eagle (schooner)

The American Eagle, originally Andrew and Rosalie, is a two-masted schooner serving the tourist trade out of Rockland, Maine. Launched in 1930 at Gloucester, Massachusetts, she was the last auxiliary schooner (powered by both sail and engine) to be built in that port, and one of Gloucester's last sail-powered fishing vessels. A National Historic Landmark, she is also the oldest known surviving vessel of the type, which was supplanted not long afterward by modern trawlers.

Charles E. Littlefield

Charles Edgar Littlefield (June 21, 1851 – May 2, 1915) was a United States Representative from Maine.

East Branch Oyster River

The East Branch Oyster River is a tributary of the Oyster River in Knox County, Maine.

From its source (44°09′03″N 69°08′29″W) in Rockland, the stream runs 4.8 miles (7.7 km) southwest to its confluence with the main stem of the Oyster River, on the border between Warren and Thomaston.

Edward Lawry Norton

Edward Lawry Norton (28 July 1898, Rockland, Maine – 28 January 1983, Chatham, New Jersey) was an accomplished engineer and scientist. He worked at Bell Labs and is known for Norton's theorem.

His areas of active research included network theory, acoustical systems, electromagnetic apparatus, and data transmission. A graduate of MIT and Columbia University, he held nineteen patents on his work.

Edward L. Norton is best remembered for development of the dual of Thevenin's equivalent circuit, currently referred to as Norton's equivalent Circuit.

He was interested in communications circuit theory and the transmission of data at high speeds over telephone lines. Norton began his telephone career in 1922 with the western Electric Company's Engineering Department (which later became Bell Laboratories).

Farnsworth Art Museum

The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, United States, is an art museum that specializes in American art. Its permanent collection includes works by such artists as Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, Eastman Johnson, Fitz Henry Lane, Frank Benson, Childe Hassam, and Maurice Prendergast, as well as a significant collection of works by the 20th-century sculptor Louise Nevelson. Four galleries are devoted to contemporary art.

The museum's mission is to celebrate Maine's role in American art. It has one of the nation's largest collections of the paintings of the Wyeth family: N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. The museum owns and operates the Olson House in Cushing, inspiration for Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World painting. The museum also owns the Farnsworth Homestead, the Rockland home of its founder Lucy Farnsworth.

The museum's building was built in 1948 to designs by Wadsworth, Boston & Tuttle of Portland.

Herbert Lord

Herbert Mayhew Lord (December 6, 1859 – June 2, 1930) was director of the United States Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget) from July 1, 1922, to May 31, 1929, during the administrations of presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

Isaac Smith Kalloch

Isaac Smith Kalloch (July 10, 1832 – December 9, 1887) was the 18th Mayor of San Francisco serving from December 1, 1879 to December 4, 1881. He was born at Rockland, Maine and was a native of Maine. Kalloch was a Baptist minister and came to California looking to spread the Baptist faith.

In 1879, he decided to run for mayor of San Francisco. It was not long before he came under attack from the San Francisco Chronicle's editor-in-chief, Charles de Young, who was backing another candidate. DeYoung, with the hopes of taking Kalloch out of the mayoral race, accused the minister of having an affair. Kalloch responded by accusing Charles' mother, Amelia, of running a brothel. In response, Charles DeYoung ambushed Kalloch in the streets of San Francisco and shot him twice. Kalloch survived the wounds and with the sympathy of voters was elected the 18th Mayor of San Francisco. He served from 1879 until 1881. On April 23, 1880, Kalloch's son, Isaac Milton Kalloch, entered the Chronicle building and shot and killed Charles DeYoung. After his time in office, Kalloch left San Francisco and moved to the Washington Territory. He died of diabetes in Bellingham, Washington, aged 55.

Knox County Regional Airport

Knox County Regional Airport (IATA: RKD, ICAO: KRKD, FAA LID: RKD) is a county-owned, public-use airport in Knox County, Maine, United States. It is located three nautical miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Rockland, Maine. The airport serves the residents of midcoast Maine with commercial and charter aviation services. Scheduled airline service is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. It is also a major hub of freight and mail service to Maine's island communities including Matinicus, North Haven and Vinalhaven.

As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 13,866 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 14,461 enplanements in 2009, and 17,657 in 2010. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport (more than 10,000 enplanements per year).During the summer months, the airport is one of Maine's busiest, with significant private jet operations bringing visitors to the numerous summer colonies in the Penobscot Bay region. The influx in traffic in recent years prompted the implementation of a voluntary night curfew on arrivals and departures between 10:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Owls Head Transportation Museum is also situated at the airport on an older (abandoned) third runway. It has a museum of antique autos, aircraft, and engines. During the summer special event gatherings are held for enthusiasts.

Nathan A. Farwell

Nathan Allen Farwell (February 24, 1812 – December 9, 1893) was a politician, businessman and United States Senator from Maine.

New England Bible College

New England Bible College is a small four-year coeducational Bible college in South Portland, Maine. There are on average 50 to 60 enrolled students each semester.

Obadiah Gardner

Obadiah Gardner (September 13, 1852 – July 24, 1938) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Maine. Gardner was a businessman and member of the Democratic Party who served in several minor state executive positions before serving in the United States Senate.

Rockland Branch

The Rockland Branch is a railroad from Brunswick, Maine to Rockland, Maine. A charter was granted in 1849 to build a railway from the Portland and Kennebec Railroad on the west side of the Kennebec River to Rockland. Construction through the rocky headlands of the Atlantic coast proved more expensive than anticipated. The Knox and Lincoln Railroad commenced service to Rockland in 1871 using a ferry to cross the Kennebec River between Bath and Woolwich. The Knox and Lincoln was leased by Maine Central Railroad in 1891, and became Maine Central's Rockland Branch in 1901. Maine Central purchased the Samoset destination hotel in nearby Glen Cove (a part of neighbouring Rockport) in 1912, and offered direct passenger service for summer visitors from the large eastern cities. Carlton bridge was completed in 1927 to carry the railroad and U.S. Route 1 over the Kennebec River. Maine Central sold the Samoset hotel in 1941, and the last Maine Central passenger train to Rockland was on 4 April 1959. The State of Maine purchased the branch in 1987 to prevent abandonment. The line has subsequently been operated by the Maine Coast Railroad, the Maine Eastern Railroad, and, beginning in 2016, the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light

Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light is a historic lighthouse complex at the end of the Rockland Breakwater in the harbor of Rockland, Maine. Replacing a light station at Jameson Point (the northern end of the breakwater), the light was established in 1902, about two years after completion of the breakwater. Now automated, it continues to serve as an active aid to navigation. The light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse on March 20, 1981.

Todd Field

William Todd Field (born February 24, 1964) is an American actor and three-time Academy Award nominated filmmaker.

University College at Rockland

University College at Rockland (commonly known as "URock," pronounced "you rock") is a branch of the University of Maine at Augusta. Located in Rockland, Maine, it serves over 600 students every semester and offers several dozen courses through on-site, ITV (interactive television), and online mediums. Contrary to popular belief, URock is not a community college; it is one of several regional centers owned and operated by the University of Maine at Augusta.

URock predominantly serves adults who wish to return to school to further their education.


WMCM (103.3 FM) is an American radio station broadcasting a country music format simulcasting WBFB. Licensed to Rockland, Maine, United States, the station serves the Mid Coast Maine area. The station is currently owned by Blueberry Broadcasting.


WRFR-LP (93.3 FM) is a radio station licensed to Rockland, Maine, United States.

The station is licensed to The Old School and has been established WRFR as an independent community radio station with a mission to serve and be open to everyone in its listening area. WRFR is non-commercial and is operated entirely by volunteers, playing Rhythm and blues, Electronic, Rock and several talk shows. The station is repeated in nearby Camden on W257BI 99.3 MHz.

The construction permit was granted on March 19, 2001. The station has been broadcasting 24/7 since Valentine's Day, 2002.

William T. Cobb

William Titcomb Cobb (July 23, 1857 - July 24, 1937) was an American politician and the 46th Governor of Maine.

Climate data for Rockland, Maine
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58
Average high °F (°C) 30
Daily mean °F (°C) 20
Average low °F (°C) 10
Record low °F (°C) −22
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.26
Municipalities and communities of Knox County, Maine, United States
Largest towns

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