1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Brunswick (Maine)

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BRUNSWICK, a village of Cumberland county, Maine, U.S.A., in the township of Brunswick, on the Androscoggin river, 9 m. W. of Bath, and 27 m. N.N.E. of Portland. Pop. of the township (1900) 6806; (1910) 6621; of the village (1900) 5210 (1704 foreign-born); (1910) 5341. Brunswick is served by the Maine Central railway, and by the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath, and the Portland & Brunswick electric railways. Opposite Brunswick and connected with it by a bridge is the township of Topsham (pop. in 1910, 2016). The village of Brunswick lies only 63 ft. above sea-level, shut within rather narrow bounds by hills or bluffs, from which good views may be obtained of the island-dotted sea and deeply-indented coast to the south and east and of the White Mountains to the west. The river falls in three successive stages for a total distance of 41 ft., furnishing good water-power for paper and cotton mills and other manufactories; the first cotton-mill in Maine was built here about 1809. The settlement of the site of Brunswick was begun by fishermen in 1628 and the place was called Pejepscot; in 1717 Brunswick was constituted a township under its present name by the Massachusetts general court, and in 1739 the township was regularly incorporated. The village was incorporated in 1836.

Brunswick is best known as the seat of Bowdoin College, a small institution of high educational rank. There are eleven buildings on a campus of about 40 acres, 1 m. from the riverbank at the end of the principal village thoroughfare. The chapel (King Chapel, named in honour of William King, the first governor of Maine), built of undressed granite, is of Romanesque style, and has twin towers and spires rising to a height of 120 ft.; the interior walls are beautifully decorated with frescoes and mural paintings. The Walker Art Building (built as a memorial to Theophilus W. Walker) is of Italian Renaissance style, has mural decorations by John la Farge, Elihu Vedder, Abbott H. Thayer and Kenyon Cox, and contains a good collection of paintings and other works of art. Among the paintings, many of which were given by the younger James Bowdoin, are examples of van Dyck, Titian, Poussin and Rembrandt. The library building is of Gothic style, and in 1908 contained 88,000 volumes (including the private library of the younger James Bowdoin). Among the other buildings are an astronomical observatory, a science building, a memorial hall, a gymnasium and three dormitories. The building of the Medical School of Maine (1820), which is a department of the college, is on the same campus. Bowdoin was incorporated by the general court of Massachusetts in 1794, but was not opened until 1802. It was named in honour of James Bowdoin (1726-1790), whose son was a liberal benefactor. The college has been maintained as a non-sectarian institution largely by Congregationalists, and is governed by a board of trustees and a board of overseers. Among the distinguished alumni have been Nathaniel Hawthorne, Franklin Pierce, Henry W. Longfellow, John P. Hale, William P. Fessenden, Melville W. Fuller, and Thomas B. Reed.