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Welcome to Old Orchard Beach, Maine

From "Old Orchard and Vicinity" Published in 1906 by L. H. Nelson Co. -

     "From the mouth of the Saco River eastward to Prout's Neck stretches a wide ribbon of sea-beach curving like a mighty long-bow.  Sections of this great sand highway are known by various local titles, but about four miles of it - where at low tide the hard, find sand is nearly one-quarter of a mile wide - bears the famous name of Old Orchard -  the best-known and most popular bathing beach in New England."
     "In 1638 near the head of Goose Fare Brook, the western boundary of this section of beach, Thomas Rogers planted the first orchard in Maine.  for more than one hundred and fifty years the apple trees existed, hence the name of Old Orchard as attached to the adjacent beach.  During the early colonial times the houses of the settlers along the shore were frequently attacked by the Indians and the sands were often reddened with their blood."
     "As the longest, widest and most solid sand beach of new England, Old Orchard early became known and appreciated by health and pleasure seekers.  The town now includes many permanent homes as well as hundreds of summer cottages, scores of hotels, restaurants and boarding houses.  During the summer season its population rapidly increases to rival that of the prosperous cities in the immediate vicinity."
     "Old Orchard Beach is remarkably free from undertow or treacherous quicksands, and bathing accidents are comparatively unknown.  The solid, sandy beach presents a hard surface as the waves recede, and at every low tide becomes a natural highway for horse and motor carriages and a promenade for thousands of onlookers and happy bathers."
     "It is frequented not only by the tired toilers and business men from neighboring cities, but by thousands of pleasure-seekers from other States and from Canada, who annually make a pilgrimage here to recuperate with the aid of Old Ocean and the health-giving atmosphere."
     "A short way back from the beach is the Old Orchard Camp Ground where 10,000 worshippers can be accommodated, and often are.  Here several religious movements have received their initial inspiration and here earnest workers return each summer to renew their allegiance to their chosen line of endeavor."
    " As the years go by, Old Orchard gains rather than loses in popularity.  Other resorts seem to have their ups and downs, but this great popular bathing-place is pre-eminent in the splendid opportunity it affords for beholding the great gray ocean in its most lovable moods.  It never loses its freshness or interest to those who have once felt its seductive charms."

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Note:Old Orchard Beach was part of the City of Saco until 1882.

"Saco Valley Settlements", by Gideon T. Ridlon, 1895.

"History of Saco and Biddeford" by George Folsom, 1830.

"First Book of Records of the First Church in Pepperrellborough,
  Now Saco Maine" (For the years 1762-1798) published by  the York Institute, 1914.**

"First Book of Records of the Town of Pepperrellborough, Now the City of Saco" (Marriage intentions and returns for 1796-1832 births and families from roughly the same period, and deaths from 1792-1840)**

"Vital Records of Biddeford, Maine Prior to 1856" Edited by John D. Beatty, 1998. (Records for Saco area families before 1762 and also for families that attended church in Biddeford)

"The Cities on the Saco" by Jacques Downs, 1985

"Sands, Spindles, and Steeples, A History of Saco, Maine" by Roy P. Fairfield, 1956.

**Note: Picton Press recently reprinted these two books in one volume.

Old Orchard Beach Town Clerk
Old Orchard Street
PO Box 234
Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064

Old Orchard Beach Historical Society
4 Portland Avenue
Old Orchard Beach, ME  04064
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 1-4 PM, Closed after Labor Day

Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce
(Lots of area info if you're planning to visit).
P.O. Box 600
Old Orchard Beach, ME  04064
1-800-FMLY-FUN (1-800-365-9386) 

Libby Memorial Library
Staples Street
Old Orchard Beach, ME  04064
Call for hours

Dyer Library
371 Main Street
Saco, ME  04072
Call for hours (genealogical section has different hours than main library).

McArthur Library
270 Main Street
Biddeford, ME  04005
Call for hours

My own list of favorite links includes genealogy resources that might be of interest to Old Orchard Beach researchers.

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If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Laura Boldebook, host of the Old Orchard Beach, Maine  USGenWeb page.

This page was last updated on Saturday, 31-Mar-2001

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