Thomaston is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,748 at the 2000 census. Thomaston is an old seaport popular with tourists and noted for its antique architecture.
As early as 1630, a trading post was established on the eastern bank of the St. George River, then considered the boundary between New England and New France. In 1704, Thomas LeFebvre from Quebec bought a large tract of land along the Weskeag River on which he built a gristmill, with a house at the shoreline. In 1719-1720, the old trading post was remodeled into a stockaded fort protected by 2 blockhouses. But Abenaki Indian tribes protested the encroachment of anEnglish fort on their territory. Instigated by the French, they attacked the garrison twice during Dummer's War in 1722, then again in 1723 with a siege lasting 30 days. In response to this and other provocations, soldiers destroyed the Abenaki stronghold of Norridgewock in 1724. Hostilities of the French and Indian Wars ceased with the 1759 Fall of Quebec.
Mason Wheaton was the first permanent settler in 1763. Located at the heart of the Waldo Patent, Thomaston was incorporated from St. Georges Plantation on March 20, 1777. At that time, the town was officially named after John Thomas (general) of the Continental Army, who was from Marshfield, Massachusetts. General Thomas, along with General George Washington, was the commander of Dorchester Heights during the Siege of Boston and succeeded in forcing the British to evacuate Boston. Many settlers arrived in Thomaston following the Revolutionary War in 1783. General Henry Knox, a close associate of both General Thomas and General Washington, played a pivotal role during the Siege of Bostonby bringing the cannons down to Boston from Fort Ticonderoga. Henry Knox was appointed by President George Washington to become the new country's first Secretary of War. Henry Knox built his impressive mansion called Montpelier in Thomaston in 1793-1794.
The town prospered in the early 1800s as a port and ship building center. Around 1840, two of seven recorded millionaires in the United States were Thomaston sea captains. Other industries included 2 gristmills, 2 sawmills and planing mills, 3 sail lofts, brickyards, caskmanufacturing and a marble works. Lime had been manufactured here since 1724 in kilns. Rockland and South Thomaston were set off and incorporated in 1848. The Knox and Lincoln Railroad passed through the town, carrying freight and tourists.
Thomaston was home to the state prison until 2002, when it moved to Warren and the former facility was demolished. The prison was locally famous for its shop featuring handmade wares of the prisoners. The gift shop still exists today. The prison site had been sold to the state in 1824 by former governor William King. Today, Thomaston is a resort area with a large historic district containing Federal, Greek Revivaland Italianate architecture. The town was a filming location for the 1996 movie, Thinner.
In June of 1875 Louis H.F. Wagner, the Smuttynose Axe Murderer, along side John True Gordon the Thorndike Slayer, were hung on the gallows of the Maine State Prison of Thomaston.
Louis Wagner was lost to history until the recent book "Return to Smuttynose Island and other Maine Axe murders" by Emeric Spooner. Mr. Spooner located Wagner's grave which can still be viewed in the Old Prison Cemetery on the Grounds of the former Prison, in Thomaston.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.5 square miles (29.8 km²), of which, 10.9 square miles (28.3 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.55 km²) of it (5.37%) is water. Thomaston is drained by the St. George River, Weskeag River, Mill River and Oyster River.
The town is crossed by U. S. Route 1 and State Route 131. It is bordered by the towns of Rockland to the northeast, South Thomaston to the south, Cushing to the southwest, and Warren to the northwest.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,748 people, 1,436 households, and 887 families residing in the town. Thepopulation density was 343.2 people per square mile (132.5/km²). There were 1,535 housing units at an average density of 140.5/sq mi (54.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.81% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.43% of the population.
There were 1,436 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the town the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 114.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $33,306, and the median income for a family was $42,319. Males had a median income of $29,894 versus $21,295 for females. Theper capita income for the town was $17,199. About 8.1% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.
The Fire Department currently runs 3 Pumpers, 1 Ladder Truck with a 75' Aerial Ladder, 1 Utility/Brush Truck and 1 Ambulance. The Fire Department is an all volunteer service.