Located on both sides of the Kennebec River at the head of tide, Augusta is one of the United States’
most beautiful capitals. As Maine’s capital city since 1827, Augusta is a city rich in history.
The area was first explored by the Popham Colony in 1607 and was first inhabited by English settlers
from the Plymouth Colony in 1628 as a trading post. At this time, the area was known by its Native
American name, Cushnoc, meaning “head of the tide.”
Augusta was named after the daughter of Henry Dearborn in 1797 and was named county seat for
Kennebec County in 1799. After Maine became a state in 1820, Augusta was designated the state’s
capital, beating the cities of Portland, Brunswick, and Hallowell for the title.
From its early days as a Pilgrim trading post, the city has grown as the center of state and county
government, an industrial and trade center, and a center for the region’s health and educational
services. Augusta is the center of employment, commerce and service for Central Maine.
For much of the city’s history, Water Street, built in the 1700s, on the banks of the Kennebec River
was the central business district as the location of the area’s commercial and industrial life. As
transportation improved in the area, business began to spread to other areas of the city. To learn more about the History of Augusta, Museum in the Streets is a seasonal tour of historic places in Augusta. It features sites along Water, Front, Cony, Willow, and Canal Streets. Signs are installed at the sites in early spring and removed in late fall. The site descriptions on the signs are in both English and French.
Today, Downtown Augusta is in the midst of a revitalization with renewed and ongoing focus from the
community. Market rate housing, public art, community events, new and established restaurants, retail
stores, and business offices are contributing to a thriving and growing downtown.
Recreational opportunities and cultural activities play an important role of life in Augusta. From
outdoor concerts and movies to museums to golf to public and state parks to fishing and hunting to
shopping and more, Augusta has all the best Maine has to offer within your reach.