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History Of Burnham, Maine

Burnham is a small town located in
the Northwest corner of Waldo County,
thirty miles from Belfast the County seat.
It was first settled in 1795, when Maine was
still a part of Massachusetts.

Burnham was incorporated February 4, 1824,
as the 256th town in the state of Maine.
It was named for a Dr. Rufus Burnham, who
lived in Unity and served the area as their
faithful physician and who made house calls.

The town was first located in York County.
As more counties were added to the state,
Burnham was placed in Kennebec County.
In 1827 the people of Burnham petitioned the
State to place the town into Waldo County.
The town has been in Waldo County since
the 1830's. Part of Clinton Gore was
annexed to Burnham February 26, 1873.

In the early days school was taught in one-room
schoolhouses. The town was divided into districts
and each district had its own school. One teacher
taught all eight grades. Older children helped
with the younger ones. Burnham had 10 school
districts. A wood fire in the pot-bellied stove
heated the buildings. Water was carried from
the well, and bathroom privileges were "His" and
"Hers" two holers.
The state law governing the districts was
repealed in 1893.The town started to combine
the districts and phase out the use of so many
school buildings.

Agriculture and lumbering were the main source
of income in the eighteen hundreds. Main crops
were oats, wheat and potatoes. Some people paid
their taxes with grain.
Burnham was a bustling town at one time.
It had a pants factory,a creamery, a cheese
factory, a barrel hoop factory and a patent
medicine factory.

After the rail service was established in
the 1800's freight and passenger trains were
always passing through Burnham. The passenger
train service from Belfast to Burnham ceased in
1959 and on the Maine Central railroad shortly
there after. The Belfast Moosehead Railroad
currently offers train rides for the public.

Frank Mitchell built the Maine Chair Company in
1922. It employed twenty people. It had several
different names through out the years,last of all
Ethan Allen Inc. It closed its Doors November 1990,
leaving over one hundred people unemployed. The
building has since been purchased by Pride
Manufacturing and employs many towns people.