Waterville, Maine sprang into existence when the early lumber industry managed to harness energy from the powerful Ticonic Falls along the Kennebec River. Waterville sits on the left bank of the Kennebec. The town split off from the township of Winslow on the right bank because residents were unable to cross the often-swollen river to attend town meetings. They incorporated in 1802 as part of Kennebec County, one of ME’s most scenic regions.
Census 2003 estimates show Waterville’s population at almost 16,000. Town limits extend just over 14 square miles. Waterville is the second half of the bustling Augusta – Waterville metro area. With a cost of living almost 8% lower than the rest of the United States, this metro area gains a listing in the Sperling’s Best Places Guide. Augusta serves as Maine’s capital city and lies just to the south of Waterville. Portland, (along with South Portland), the closest large city, is 69 miles distant. Waterville is also within a reasonable drive of such interesting Maine cities as Auburn, Bangor, Lewiston, Rockland, and Biddeford.
Waterville students enjoy a choice of five colleges and universities within a 20-mile commute. These include Colby College, Thomas College, Kennebec Valley Technical College, Unity College, and the University of Maine – the Augusta campus. Twenty-one percent of Waterville residents go on for higher education.
The Maine Downtown Center, (a development foundation), designated Waterville as a “Main Street Maine Community” in 2001, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Waterville Main Street organization has helped develop the riverfront downtown region into an economically thriving and physically beautiful area. The downtown offers a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences and is home to the Waterville Opera House, the Intown Arts Fest and the lively Waterville Farmer’s Market.
Waterville hosts the annual Maine International Film Festival, the Harvest Festival, as well a plethora of other events throughout the year. The oldest and largest Lebanese community in the state of Maine calls Waterville home. One of the town landmarks is the stunning Lebanese Heritage Mural painted by artist Kevin James. Another is the wind-powered sculpture entitled Ticonic by Roger Majorowicz, who devoted 1,600 hours of labor. Other sites of interest in Waterville are the Colby College Museum of Art, the Redington Museum and Apothecary, which holds a historically correct rendition of the early New England apothecary shops, and the Waterville-Winslow Two-Cent Bridge, one of the few remaining toll foot-bridges in the nation.
Waterville, Maine provides a small-town atmosphere with an enviable quality of living. With close proximity to the capital city of Augusta and the bustle and vibrancy of Portland, excellent schools, and its own quaint and unique Downtown experience, Waterville would be a prime choice to visit or to rear a family.