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Kittery, Maine

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Kittery, Maine

Kittery, Maine
Old Block House at Fort McClary (c. 1908)
Old Block House at Fort McClary (c. 1908)
Official seal of Kittery, Maine
Motto: Gateway to Maine
Kittery is located in Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Country  United States
State  Maine
County York
Incorporated 1647
 • Assessor Bruce Kerns
 • Total 75.30 sq mi (195.03 km2)
 • Land 17.78 sq mi (46.05 km2)
 • Water 57.52 sq mi (148.98 km2)
Elevation 23 ft (7 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 9,490
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 9,528
 • Density 533.7/sq mi (206.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 03904
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-37270
GNIS feature ID 0582544

Kittery is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,490 at the 2010 census. Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery includes Badger's Island, the seaside district of Kittery Point, and part of the Isles of Shoals. The town is a tourist destination known for its many outlet stores.

Kittery is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.


English settlement around the natural harbor of the [5] Together with the Pepperrell family, they established fisheries offshore at the Isles of Shoals, where fish were caught, salted, and exported back to Europe. Other pioneers were hunters, trappers, and workers of the region's abundant timber. The settlement at the mouth of the Piscataqua River was protected by Fort McClary.[6]

Thomas Spencer, Esquire, immigrant from Gloucestershire, England, is also a notable settler of Kittery with his wife Patience Chadbourne. Their story is included in, "The Maine Spencers : a history and genealogy, with mention of many associated families."

Kittery originally extended from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Francis Small was a pioneer resident of Kittery, and operated a trading post near the confluence of the Ossipee River and Saco River. Here major Indian trails converged—the Sokokis Trail (now Route 5), the Ossipee Trail (now Route 25), and the Pequawket Trail (now Route 113) -- a location conducive towards lucrative fur trade with Indians, but also with risks of living isolated in the wilderness.[7] Small became the largest property owner in the history of Maine, and became known as "the great landowner."[8][9]

In 1663, John Josselyn would write: "Towns there are, are not many in this province. Kittery, situated not far from Passacataway (Portsmouth), is the most populous." [10]

In 1705, during Queen Anne's War tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy raided the town killing six citizens and taking five prisoners.[11]

During the Revolution, the first vessels of the U.S. Navy were constructed on Badger's Island, including the 1777 USS Ranger commanded by John Paul Jones. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the nation's first federal navy yard, was established in 1800 on Fernald's Island. It connects to the mainland by two bridges. The facility rebuilt the USS Constitution, and built the Civil War USS Kearsarge. Seavey's Island was annexed and became site of the now defunct Portsmouth Naval Prison.[12]

Kittery has some fine early architecture, including the Sir William Pepperrell House, built in 1733, and the Lady Pepperrell House, built in 1760. The John Bray House, built in 1662, is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Maine. Located at the John Paul Jones State Historic Site on U.S. 1 is the Maine Sailors' and Soldiers' Memorial by Bashka Paeff. Further northeast up the road, the town has developed factory outlet shopping, very popular with tourists. Kittery Point is home to Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster Park, originally a harbor defense. In 1996, the movie Thinner, based on the 1984 Richard Bachman novel Thinner, was filmed in Kittery. The Saturday morning cartoon DinoSquad is based in Kittery/Kittery Point.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 75.30 square miles (195.03 km2), of which, 17.78 square miles (46.05 km2) of it is land and 57.52 square miles (148.98 km2) is water.[1] Situated beside the Gulf of Maine and Atlantic Ocean, Kittery is drained by Spruce Creek, Chauncey Creek and the Piscataqua River.

The town is crossed by Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, Maine State Route 101, Maine State Route 103, and Maine State Route 236.


See also Kittery (CDP), Maine and Kittery Point, Maine for village demographics

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 9,490 people, 4,302 households, and 2,488 families residing in the town. The population density was 533.7 inhabitants per square mile (206.1/km2). There were 4,942 housing units at an average density of 278.0 per square mile (107.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.8% White, 0.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

There were 4,302 households of which 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.77.

The median age in the town was 43.2 years. 18.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 30.3% were from 45 to 64; and 17.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.

2000 census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 9,543 people, 4,078 households, and 2,528 families residing in the town. The population density was 535.5 people per square mile (206.8/km²). There were 4,375 housing units at an average density of 245.5 per square mile (94.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.98% White, 1.78% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 4,078 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,200, and the median income for a family was $53,343. Males had a median income of $37,096 versus $29,850 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,153. About 5.7% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest


Kittery is home to Robert William Traip Academy, a formerly private, preparatory school which became public and town-run in 1967.


Kittery was the home of the first Valle's Steak House restaurant that was built by Donald Valle.[17] The restaurant was constructed in 1950 as the third steak house in the chain, the first two having used existing buildings. Valle's eventually grew to a chain of 32 restaurants before experiencing financial difficulties following the death of Donald Valle.[18] Kittery was one of the last three Valle’s Steak House restaurants still in business when all three suddenly closed on Friday, December 27, 1991. The other restaurants were located in Andover, Mass and Hartford, Connecticut.[19][20][21] Another Valle’s Steak House, located in Portland had been operating as an independent restaurant since 1984 under the ownership of Judith Valle, the daughter of Donald Valle. The Portland restaurant closed on Sunday, August 20, 2000.[22]

Notable people

Whaleback Light c. 1920


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ The Champernownes were a prominent shipping family from Devon in England's West Country, having been a fixture on the West Country mercantile and social scene for generations. Kat Ashley, nee Champernowne, was a close friend and governess to Queen Elizabeth I. Her niece Catherine Champernowne was the mother of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. At the heart of the family dynastic influence lay Sir Arthur Champernowne, who served as Vice-Admiral of the West, while residing at Dartington Hall in Devon.
  5. ^ Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his Province of Maine, James Phinney Baxter, The Prince Society, Boston, 1890
  6. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 182–185. 
  7. ^ History of Cornish, Maine
  8. ^ Descendants of Edward Small
  9. ^ Sullivan, Gov. James, The History of the District of Maine, I. Thomas and E. T. Andrews, Publishers, Boston, MA, 1795.
  10. ^ Varney, George J. (1886), Gazetteer of the state of Maine. Kittery, Boston: Russell 
  11. ^
  12. ^ History of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ University of Virginia Library. Retrieved on 2014-05-24.
  16. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  17. ^ Kneeland, Paul (September 18, 1977) "Donald Valle, Of Steak House Chain" The Boston Globe, page 73
  18. ^ Campbell Steve (June 9, 2000) "House to weigh repeal of federal 'death tax' Critics say the estate tax forces heirs of small businesses and farms to sell; supporters say repealing it will only help the rich" The Portland Press Herald, page 1a
  19. ^ “Valle’s Restaurant Chain is No More” (December 28, 1991) The Day (New London, CT), page A-2
  20. ^ “Last Two Valle's Restaurants Closed” (December 29, 1991) The Boston Globe, page 30
  21. ^ Johnson, Joanne (December 28, 1991) ”Valle's Steak House In Hartford Goes Out Of Business” The Hartford Courant [1]
  22. ^ Weinstein, Joshua (August 21, 2000) "Valle's Eatery Closes" The Portland Press Herald, page 2b

Further reading

  • Stackpole, Everett S. Old Kittery and its Families. Published 1903. Full image at
  • History of Whaleback Light
  • Seacoast Forts of Portsmouth Harbor from American Forts Network

External links

  • Town of Kittery, Maine
  • John Paul Jones State Historic Site
  • Rice Public Library
  • City Data Profile
  • Epodunk Town Profile
  • History of Kittery
  • Old Kittery and Her Families, Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole, 1903
  • Maine Genealogy: Kittery, York County, Maine

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