This area, located in the Kennebec Valley, was first explored by the Popham Colony in 1607, but not inhabited until 1629, when English settlers from the Plymouth Colony established a trading post. The settlement was known as *Cushnoc*, an Indian name, meaning *head of tide*. Due to Indian uprisings, fur trading was profitable for only a short time, after which, Cushnoc remained empty for seventy-five years. In the early seventeen hundreds, Indian hostilities continued with attacks further up the Kennebec, on Richmond and Brunswick, until English forces gained control of the Kennebec in 1724. Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in America, was built at Cushnoc in 1754. Cushnoc was incorporated as Harrington in 1797 by the Massachusetts General Court. The name, however, was changed to Augusta, after Augusta Dearborn, daughter of Henry Dearborn in 1799. Maine became a state in 1820, and Augusta was designated its capital in 1827.
After being named the state capital, the city flourished. Excellent soil provided for agriculture, and water power from streams provided for industry. Augusta became a productive mill town. Sawmills were constructed, as well as a paper and pulp plant, and extensive brick mills for manufacturing textiles. Visitors are encouraged to experience the rich history and heritage of this seat of state government. Old Fort Western, built in 1754 is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The Fort portrays the original settlement and community themes of the time. Monument Park, formerly the mustering point for Civil War troops, contains monuments for that war as well as all others up to and including the Vietnam War. Many other points of interest include the Holocaust Center, containing artifacts and information from people who survived the holocaust; the Kennebec County Court House, built in 1830 which still contains the original chairs and desks, and is listed in the National Registry of historic buildings; and the Samantha Smith Memorial to the child who wrote to the Soviet premier, confiding her fears of nuclear war, and was invited by him to visit the Soviet Union.
There is much to see and do within your reach. Many lakes and streams, the great Kennebec River, and beautiful forested hills offer a unique natural environment. The Pine Tree State Arboretum is a gift of nature. This 200-acre tract of land, where trees, shrubs and plants are cultivated, offers opportunities for bird-watching, picnicking, hiking on beautiful wooded trails for nature lovers, biking, and cross-country skiing. The six-mile Kennebec River Trail offers scenic views for walkers and bikers. The Shakespearean Theatre at nearby Monmouth, is a treasure that attracts visitors from around the world to high quality performances. You will enjoy your visit to Augusta, and its friendly residents who will gladly welcome you.