Kennebec county. This town is situated on the west bank of the Kennebec river, 18 miles N. from Augusta. It was incorporated as a part of Winslow in 1771, and as a separate town in 1802. Population in 1820, 1719; in 1830, 2,216; in 1837, 2,905. It contains 30 square miles, mostly of the best quality of farming land of the Kennebec region. Seven twelfths of the population is estimated to be agricultural. The principal village, of about 180 houses, is on the Kennebec at Ticonic Falls. These falls are 18 feet in height, extending quite across the river. In the town, there are 17 saws, four grist mills, carding machines, three plaster mills, two extensive tanneries and a machine shop. One iron foundry, a branch of the celebrated Fairbanks establishment in Vermont, supplies a great portion of the interior of the state with ploughs. The public structures are 4 meeting houses, an Academy, and the Liberal Institute, a Seminary founded by the Universalists. This latter edifice, though small, is one of the most beautiful specimens of architecture in the state. Ticonic bridge, crossing the Kennebec, 550 feet in length, is a fine specimen of Col. Long's plan of construction.
Waterville College is pleasantly situated near the village, on the bank of the river. There are 2 edifices for rooms, a chapel, and a commons hall. This Institution was founded in 1813, as a Theological school; in 1821 it was converted into a College, and has 143 graduates. It was founded by Baptists, but is open to all denominations, and affords facilities for manual labor. Its Faculty is a President, three Professors, and two Tutors.
From Augusta, the head of sloop navigation, goods are transported to Waterville in large flat-boats, some of which carry 40 tons. This renders the place an important depot of merchandise for an extensive country above, and of produce and manufactures brought down to be shipped for a market: great quantities of oats, shingles and other lumber, leather, potash, and potatoes, are thus transported from this place. The erection of a dam at Augusta, is thought to have improved the navigation, and affords facilities for making Waterville the centre of trade for the country above. A steam boat now runs between this place and the lower towns.
The village of West Waterville is on Emerson stream, a tributary of the Kennebec. Here is a remarkable cascade, the highest known in the state, and is much resorted to for its picturesque scenery. At this village are manufactories for cutting out last blocks, which are exported in great quantities to Massachusetts, and a scythe factory of high reputation, which made 300 dozen scythes in the year 1838.
The water power at Waterville and in the vicinity, is singularly great. A circle described from the Ticonic falls, before named, as a centre, with a radius of file miles, includes two falls across the whole Kennebec, at Kendall's mills, two miles above Waterville; two falls, 5 miles distant, on the Sebasticook, a large tributary stream; and an indefinite series of falls upon the Emerson stream, from the cascade to its confluence, besides numerous rapids, which could easily be dammed, on all these streams. It is believed that no similar circle of 10 miles diameter in New England, comprehends so large and convenient a water power. But a very small part of this water power is yet occupied, and situated as Waterville is, in the centre of these manufacturing facilities, enjoying convenient boat navigation to the sea ports, with an extensive region of the best agricultural advantages in the rear, it promises to become a thrifty and populous town.