Biddeford, a city in York County, was
incorporated as a town on November 17, 1718 and as a city in 1855.
It was originally part of the town of Saco, its twin city. Some
historians suggest that other early settlers had emigrated from
Biddeford in Devonshire, England giving the area its name. Although
Saco (including Biddeford) was destroyed during Queen Anne's War,
the Massachusetts General Court authorized its resettlement,
which began in 1714. By 1762 the population had reached 1,000. While
lumbering was the major industry until the early nineteenth century,
textile manufacturing dominated for 100 years from mid-century.
First Irish, then French Canadians came to work in the mills. The
French arrived after 1870 and by 1910 elected the first mayor from
the French community. Biddeford is York County's largest city and a
major industrial and commercial center. Biddeford Pool, known in the
17th century as Winter Harbor, is both a village and a water body in
the city. The village is at the eastern most point of land which
virtually surrounds the Pool, just south of Wood Island.
Biddeford hosts two nature preserves managed by the Maine Audubon
Society. The East Point Sanctuary at Biddeford Pool is a thirty-acre
sanctuary offering beautiful ocean views and is considered one of
the best spots for birding in southern Maine. A wide variety of
waterfowl visit the point and harbor seals can be seen fishing off
shore. Wood and Stage Islands are both important nesting areas for
waterfowl. A wooden boardwalk leads to an abandoned Coast Guard
Lighthouse on Wood Island.
Population Density: 698
Average Property Value: $232,500
Area: 30.8 sq miles
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