History of Brunswick, Maine

The Town of Brunswick has served many historic roles: as a military garrison; manufacturing center; college town; and residential community.

First called by its Indian name, Pejepscot, meaning “the long, rock rapids,” the settlement was placed under the protection of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. In 1676 the town was burned and largely abandoned with the exception of a military garrison called Fort Andros until 1714 when a consortium from Boston and Portsmouth bought the land. In 1717 the Massachusetts General Court constituted the township and renamed it Brunswick in honor of the House of Brunswick and King George I. The fledgling village was destroyed again on July 13, 1722 when warriors from Norridgewock burned it to the ground.

Brunswick was again rebuilt in 1727 and in 1739 was incorporated as a town. Brunswick shortly became a prosperous seaport where Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794. The distinguished alumni of the liberal arts college include writers Hawthorne and Longfellow, President Franklin Pierce, Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain and Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. The book Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe while she was living in Brunswick.

Handsome houses line the town’s main streets and today a number of historic districts are recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to save some time during your trip to visit Brunswick museums that celebrate the town’s rich history of shipbuilders and sea captains, war heroes and politicians.