Ellsworth Maine, founded in 1800, is often called the gateway to the Downeast region and currently serves as its commercial center. Most anyone driving to Acadia National Park or Bar Harbor will pass through this town. Located at a major crossroads along U.S. Route 1 in Hancock County, Ellsworth has been the focus of much development for the eastern Maine region. With Acadia National Park at its back door, growth has been noticeable. As measured in 2000 to 2010, Ellsworth is Maine's fastest growing city at almost 20%. The current population is 7,741 (year 2010 census) and it covers 60,800 acres.
GPS: Latitude 44.542959, Longitude -68.420099
The area was first settled along the Union River by the British in 1763 after the signing of the Treaty of Paris and was known as New Bowdoin. The treaty also established this area as being part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As with many coastal inlet towns, lumber and boat building were the primary industries. Today, Ellsworth has a diversified and robust economy filled with retail shops, banking and professional firms, restaurants, large shopping centers, a public marina, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, two golf courses, movie theaters, an art center and more.
Union River GPS: Latitude 44.540827, Longitude -68.425867
Places to See
There are two places of significant mention - the Black Mansion (also known as Woodlawn Museum) and Birdsacre. The Black Mansion, built in 1828 for Colonel John Black, is preserved in historical detail with rare period furniture. Colonel Black was a key figure in understanding the true wealth of the area, including as far east as Gouldsboro, was not in agriculture but rather in lumber. This key distinction opened up the region's development and dispersion of its natural woodland resource to the world, largely via the Union River. Historically accurate costumed guides are ready to explain the history and furnishings of the main mansion and its outer buildings from May 15 through October 31. Grounds are open year round.
Woodlawn GPS: Latitude 44.536744, Longitude -68.432529
Birdsacre (The Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary) is a memorable and unique “natural” museum featuring a nature walk through a picturesque sanctuary filled with a variety of Maine wildflowers, wooded glens, small ponds full of aquatic life, and a bird nesting area. It includes 200 acres of protected wilderness filled with interconnecting nature trails for the whole family to enjoy. The addition of picnic areas, strategically placed benches, charcoal grills and a fireplace make this a special place for discovery and relaxation in a natural setting. There was a recent fire that impacted the main building but did not harm any of the many birds and wilderness sections. Contact information will be shown below.
Birdacre GPS: Latitude 44.527642, Longitude -68.405418
- Ellsworth, Maine Town Office: (207) 667-2563
One City Hall Plaza, P.O. Box 586, Ellsworth, ME 04605
- Ellsworth GPS (Main & High Streets): Latitude 44.542958; Longitude -68.4201
- Fire Department: (207) 667-8666 Emergency: (207) 667-2525 or Dial 911
- Black Mansion GPS: Latitude 44.536744, Longitude -68.432529
- Birdsacre: 289 High Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605 (207) 667-8460 Website
GPS: Latitude 44.527642, Longitude -68.405418
And the Winner Is!
Ellsworth, Maine is more than the Gateway to Down East Maine and Acadia, it is like an economic oasis for this part of the State. It is the Maine city on steroids. There has been an amazing transformation taking place here over the last decade to the extent that it won the distinction as Maine’s fastest growing city for 10 years according to the 2010 census. Rate of growth was measured at almost 20%, with more that 1,200 people added to its citizenship. Much of this has to be credited to the town’s location near the coast and being at a major crossroads that includes, US Coastal Route 1, Route 1A, and Route 3. Plus the fact that Mount Desert Island lacks enough of the right kind of housing for the many seasonal workers, and the property rates are much higher there. The overflow has surely benefited Ellsworth and the city has risen to meet this “head-on” with flair.