Basic Facts About Monson, Maine
This page last updated or reviewed 1/7/2010
- LOCATION: The Town of Monson is located in the southwest portion of Piscataquis County, 45:17:13N 69:30:06W, at an elevation of 850 feet.
- GEOGRAPHY: The town covers 47.1 square miles of rolling hills, with the majority of the land being forested. It is situated along Routes 6 and 15, eight miles north of Abbot Village, and approximately midway between Guilford and Greenville. Some 100 (hiking) miles northeast of the town is the famed Mount Katahdin, the northeast terminus of the 2015-mile Appalachian Trail. Bangor, Maine, is an approximately one and one-half hour drive southeast, on Route 15.
- INCORPORATION: Monson, Maine, was incorporated as a town February 8, 1822. The land was a grant from the Legislature of Massachusetts to Hebron and Monson Academy, with a provision that a certain number of settlers should become residents of this township within a specified time. Monson Academy offered a grant of 100 acres to actual settlers.
- COMMUNITY CHARACTER AND HISTORY: Monson was for many years a slate-mining town, and an important part of Monson history is a related Scandinavian immigration to Monson in the late 1800s. A Finnish Hall is located just south of town on Route 15. An old Swedish Lutheran Church (today the AIIA Institute) is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- COMMUNITY DISTINCTIVE: The famed Appalachian Trail crosses Maine Route 15 just a few miles north of town at what is known as The Ledges. Monson is therefore the last town that northbound hikers encounter before embarking on the One-Hundred Mile Wilderness, or the first town southbound hikers encounter after completing the One-Hundred Mile Wilderness. The 100-Mile Wilderness is a remote stretch of trail situated between Monson and Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park. Hundreds of AT hikers enjoy a refreshing visit in Monson each hiking season to stock up on supplies, get a shower, enjoy a home-cooked meal, nurse a blister, and pick up their mail at the Monson Post Office. A number of facilities offer hikers a friendly and hospitable place to spend the night. See the Town Businesses section of this web page for a listing with more detail on lodging options.
- POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS: The population of Monson at the time of the 2010 Census reading was 686 people.
- COUNTY SEAT: The Piscataquis County Courthouse and County Commissioners' office is located in Dover-Foxcroft, approximately 20 miles southeast of Monson.
- HOSPITALS: The nearest hospitals are located in Greenville and Dover-Foxcroft.
- SCHOOLS: Monson is a part of Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) #68. An Elementary school, SeDoMoCha Middle School (6-8) and Foxcroft Academy (9-12) are all located in Dover-Foxcroft.
- INDUSTRY: Residents are employed in actual woods operations, or in nearby wood and textile mills. A significant number run small businesses of their own, including lodging facilities for Appalachian Trail hikers passing through town - last supply point south of the 100-Mile Wilderness leading to Mt. Katahdin. See the Town Businesses section of this web page for a listing of many businesses based in Monson.
- POLITICAL INFORMATION: Monson is in State House District 111, represented by State Rep. Pete Johnson of Greenville, and in State Senate District 8, represented by State Senator Doug Smith of Dover-Foxcroft. U.S. House Rep. Michael Michaud and U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins represent Monson's part of the state in Washington, D.C. For further information regarding Maine state government, see http://www.state.me.us/
OTHER LOCAL FEATURES, FACTS, & HISTORY
- A moose horn, attached to a post by one of the earliest settlers, guided newcomers over the spotted trail to Monson. This site, located a few miles south of town on Route 15, was later named "The Moosehorns", and remains today as a local landmark.
- The first church building between Bangor and the Canadian border was erected in Monson in 1831, and was dedicated as a Congregational Church. The original building burned. The Monson Community Church on Main Street (comprising the old Congregational and Baptist buildings) today stands on the same location.
- Monson Academy opened its doors in the fall of 1847 with 106 pupils in attendance.
- Slate was discovered in 1870. The Monson Maine Slate Company was the first quarry to open, and continued to operate until 1943. The Portland-Monson Slate Company was organized later and today, under the name Sheldon Slate Company, continues to produce some of the finest black slate in the world. The grave markers of both John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Arlington Cemetery are made of black slate from Monson, Maine, and were also engraved here.
- A narrow gauge railroad was once owned by the Monson Maine Slate Company in this community, its primary purpose being to transport slate to Monson Junction. The train carried passengers, mail and freight for many years. For a current blog on this important part of Monson's history, click here: Monson Railroad Blog by Roger Whitney
- The kicksled was introduced to Monson by Mr. Gust Johnson, a Swedish blacksmith. His product was an immediate success. This became a unique and extremely popular sport in town, it being a great thrill to fly downhill and over icy lakes on a kicksled. Unfortunately, plowed and sanded roads retired this delightful pastime.
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