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Kennebunk, Maine

"Kennebunk" redirects here. For other uses, see Kennebunk.
Kennebunk, Maine
Official seal of Kennebunk, Maine
Motto: "The only village in the world so named"[1]
First Parish Church in 1909
First Parish Church in 1909
Kennebunk is located in Maine
Country United States
State Maine
County York
Incorporated June 24, 1820
 • Type Town Meeting
 • Chairman Kevin Donovan
 • Board of Selectmen Albert J. Searles
Richard Morin
John H. Kotsonis
David H. Spofford
Deborah A. Beal
Christopher Cluff
 • Total 43.87 sq mi (113.62 km2)
 • Land 35.05 sq mi (90.78 km2)
 • Water 8.82 sq mi (22.84 km2)
Elevation 92 ft (28 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 10,798
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 10,971
 • Density 308.1/sq mi (119.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 04043
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-36535
GNIS feature ID 0582539
Website .us.kennebunkmainewww

Kennebunk ( or local ) is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 10,798 at the 2010 census. (The population does not include Kennebunkport, a separate town.) Kennebunk is home to several beaches, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, the 1799 Kennebunk Inn, many historic shipbuilders' homes, and the Nature Conservancy Blueberry Barrens, (known locally as the Blueberry Plains) with 1,500 acres (6 km²) of nature trails and blueberry fields.


  • History 1
    • Prostitution scandal 1.1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent towns 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Sites of interest 4
  • Education 5
  • Notable people 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


First settled in 1621, the town developed as a trading and, later, shipbuilding and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. "Kennebunk, the only village in the world so named," was featured on a large locally famous sign attached to the Kesslen Shoe Mill on Route One. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant "the long cut bank," presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. Kennebunk's coastline is divided into three major sections. Mother's Beach, Middle Beach or Rocky Beach, and Gooches Beach or Long Beach. Separate from Kennebunk Beach is secluded Parson's Beach, a quiet alternative to the summer crowds. Note there is some local controversy regarding the "Mother's Beach" moniker, (nickname). According to many local residents, the smaller of the three main beaches - at the intersection of Beach Ave and Ridge Ave - is officially Kennebunk Beach or, alternatively, Boothby Beach. The term Boothby beach was from the mid-1730s when a Mabel Littlefield married Richard Boothby and settled on land near what came to be known as Boothby Beach.The information about the Boothbys was taken from "Old News From Southern Maine" article on Mable and Richard Boothby, by Sharon Cummins. Many natives today may not remember it being called Boothby Beach and over the years the beach came to be known as Kennebunk Beach or Mothers Beach. Older residents also recall the name Dipsy Bath Beach, a reference to the baths once located there. The term Mother's Beach didn't come into widespread use until the mid '80s; Although other native residents will dispute that date and say they remember it being called "Mothers Beach" as far back as the late 1950s. The name likely evolved due to its small size and generally calmer water, due to the rocks under and above the ocean, thus making it a natural made harbor of refuge that is safer for swimming and which makes it popular with mothers keeping a watchful eye on their progeny, (children). The name is clearly descriptive rather than official, in spite of the recent installation of road signs pointing the way to "Mother's Beach".[5] Contradicting the above beach naming is the Town's website listing "Permits are valid for Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk Beach (Middle Beach) and Mother’s Beach."[6] Additionally without public parking access both Libbys and Crescent beaches are in Kennebunk between Parson's beach and Mother's beach.

In the 19th Century and early 20th Century many industrial concerns were attracted to Mousam River at Kennebunk to provide motive force for their mills. Among the firms to do business there were the Kennebunk Manufacturing Company, the Mousam Manufacturing Company, the Leatheroid Company and the Rogers Fibre Company.

The town is a popular summer tourism based. The headquarters for the natural health-care product manufacturer Tom's of Maine is located in Kennebunk. The town's archives are located at the local history and art center, the Brick Store Museum, on Main Street. Many residents commute to Portland, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.[7]

The Lafayette Elm was a tree which was planted to commemorate General Lafayette's 1825 visit to Kennebunk. It became famous for its age, size, and survival of the Dutch elm disease that destroyed the hundreds of the other elms that once lined Kennebunk's streets. The elm is featured on the town seal. The restored Kesslen Shoe Mill has been renamed the Lafayette Center. Kennebunk is home to two of the state's oldest banks—Ocean Bank (1854) and Kennebunk Savings Bank (1871). Only Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution (1827) and Bangor Savings Bank (1852) are older. Summer Street was Maine's first Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Prostitution scandal

In October 2012, local Zumba dance instructor Alexis Wright was arrested and charged with prostitution. She was accused of running a brothel at her Pura Vida Studio on York Street and secretly filming sexual activity with her clients. This incident was notable in that there were efforts not to reveal the identity of the more than 150 clients. That effort failed, and release of names began on October 16, 2012. Local attorneys, public officials, and a television newscaster were reported to be among the customers. The incident was covered internationally.[9][10][11] On March 29, 2013, Wright pleaded guilty to 20 counts.[12] On May 31, 2013, she was sentenced to 10 months in jail.[13] The judge seemed impressed with her story that she felt trapped and manipulated into the situation, and aims to help other women in similar situations after she has finished her sentence. “Based on what you have to say and what I know about you from your attorney, I know that you will succeed when you’re released and that you will prevail. I wish you success,” said Justice Nancy Mills.[14]


Kennebunk River in 1903

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.87 square miles (113.62 km2), of which, 35.05 square miles (90.78 km2) of it is land and 8.82 square miles (22.84 km2) is water.[2] Kennebunk is drained by the Kennebunk River and Mousam River.

Transportation links are:

Amtrak also goes through Kennebunk, but does not have a station stop. The closest Amtrak station to Kennebunk is in Wells, towards Boston, and Saco, towards Portland.

Adjacent towns


See also: Kennebunk (CDP), Maine and West Kennebunk, Maine

The King's Highway c. 1912, Kennebunk Beach

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 10,798 people, 4,689 households, and 2,966 families residing in the town. The population density was 308.1 inhabitants per square mile (119.0/km2). There were 5,906 housing units at an average density of 168.5 per square mile (65.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.9% White, 0.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

There were 4,689 households of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.7% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the town was 48.2 years. 20.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.7% were from 25 to 44; 33.4% were from 45 to 64; and 21.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 46.5% male and 53.5% female.

2000 census

At the 2000 census,[18] there were 10,476 people, 4,229 households and 2,901 families residing in the town. The population density was 298.5 per square mile (115.3/km²). There were 4,985 housing units at an average density of 142.1 per square mile (54.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.04% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.51% of the population.

There were 4,229 households, of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.

View of the Perkins Farm c. 1910

Age distribution was 25.6% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

The median household income was $50,914, and the median family income was $59,712. Males had a median income of $42,417 versus $25,788 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,181. About 2.9% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest


Kennebunk and neighboring Kennebunkport comprise Regional School Unit 21. The schools in MSAD 71 are Consolidated School, Kennebunk Elementary School, Sea Road School, Middle School of the Kennebunks, and Kennebunk High School. The Middle School of the Kennebunks is part of Maine's project that gives laptops to all of the 7th and 8th graders in the school called MLTI, or Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

In 2000, a group of students teamed up with parents and local community members to found The New School, a small alternative high school, with students coming from as close as Kennebunk and Wells and as far away as Portland and Somersworth. The school is accredited by the State of Maine and the first group of students graduated in June 2001. The New School has a focus on community-based learning.

As of late, Maine Regional School Unit 21 [19] (MRSU21)(RSU21) has taken over MSAD71 serving these schools: Kennebunk High School, Middle School of the Kennebunks, Sea Road School, Mildred L. Day School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School, and Kennebunk Elementary School

Notable people

Troops marching through town c. 1918


  1. ^ "The town of Kennebunk, Maine". The town of Kennebunk, Maine. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 171–176. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Kennebunk, Boston: Russell 
  8. ^ "Joyce Butler, "History of Kennebunk, Maine" (1996)". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  9. ^ Jonsson, Patrik. "Modern-day Puritans wring hands over Zumba Madam's list of shame". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Sources: Prostitution suspect Alexis Wright led a double life". York County Coast Star. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Abrir, Carson. "Alexis Wright Comes from the Friendliest Town in Maine". Fatherhood Channel. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Maine Zumba instructor pleads guilty in prostitution case". NBC News. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Zumba Madam Sentenced". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  14. ^ June, Daniel, "Zumba Prostitute Gets 10 Months"
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  16. ^ "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 more information". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  17. ^ "University of Virginia Library". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  19. ^ "Maine Regional School Unit 21". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  20. ^ Jack Coombs at SABR Baseball Biography Project

External links

  • Town of Kennebunk, Maine
  • Kennebunk Free Library
  • MSAD 71
  • The New School
  • History and old maps of Kennebunk Maine
  • City Data Profile
  • Epodunk Town Profile
  • Kennebunk Images
  • Maine Genealogy: Kennebunk, York County, Maine
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