Biddeford Maine, was probably named after a town in Devon, England. With a population of just over 22,000 people, it is the largest city in York County. Incorporated in 1855, it's a short commute from Biddeford north to Maine's largest city, Portland.
Biddeford is essentially three cities in one: the downtown with its historic mill buildings, the campus of the University of New England, and Biddeford Pool, which sits directly on the ocean. It is separated from the city of Saco (population 20,000+) by the Saco river.
Physician Richard Vines established what is possibly the earliest settlement in Maine in 1616 at Biddeford Pool. Vines was sent to explore the area by Fernando Gorges, one of the largest landowners in New England. Dr. Vines spent the winter of 1616-17 in Biddeford, which is likely why the area was first known as Winter Harbor.
Vines and John Oldham returned in 1630, settling on the side of the river now occupied by Biddeford; in 1631 others arrived and settled on the east, or Saco, side of the river.
Proximity to the river set the original course for Biddeford, which began as a mill town, sawing lumber and grinding grain. Later, factories were established to make footwear and textiles, which attracted Irish, Albanian, and French-Canadian immigrants.
For decades, Biddeford has hosted La Kermesse, a large Franco-American festival celebrating the city’s rich French-Canadian heritage with a block party, parade, and more. No longer a mill town, the primary industries in Biddeford today are higher education and health care.
Biddeford’s downtown is being re-imagined with entrepreneurial and artistic communities bringing a modern vibe to an old city. One million square feet of mill space is being developed for mixed use, and the city has been designated as a Main Street Maine Community, bringing in public and private investors. New restaurants continue to spring up, and Biddeford is developing a reputation as a great city for foodies.
But there’s more to the city than just an ever-expanding restaurant and arts scene. Biddeford has beaches, hiking trails, and the beautiful Biddeford City Theater. The theater is a restored Victorian opera house and national landmark, and is the production venue for the University of New England theater.
Want to get in on this emerging gem? Browse homes for sale in Biddeford, Maine then give us a call at 1-207-351-8188 and let's talk real estate.
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