The easternmost US state capital, Augusta, Maine is situated on the Kennebec River. The city is located about an hour from Portland traveling north on I-95 (the Maine Turnpike), then east on US 20.
In 1629, English setters from the Plymouth Colony established a trading post here, known by its Indian name, Cushnoc, meaning “head of tide.” Cushnoc was abandoned in 1661 as fur trading became less profitable and as relations with the Abenaki Indians became increasingly hostile.
Fort Western, now the oldest wooden fort in America, was built in Cushnoc in 1754. The area was incorporated in 1797 as Harrington, then renamed Augusta after Henry Dearborn’s daughter later that year. Dearborn was a prominent lieutenant who served under George Washington and later became the 5th US Secretary of War. In 1827, Augusta was designated the state capital after it was relocated from Portland. It became a busy mill town later in the 19th century after the construction of a dam on the Kennebec River and the arrival of the Kennebec and Portland Railroad.
With a population of less than 20,000 today, Augusta is one of the nation’s smallest state capitals. While the textile industry is long gone, renovated brick mills from its heyday give the downtown area its historic character.
Called by Downeast Traveler “one of the country’s best state museums”, the Maine State Museum is an excellent venue for learning more about Maine’s rich history. The Augusta Civic Center, Children’s Discovery Museum and Viles Arboretum are other local attractions.
The warmest month typically is July, with daily temperatures averaging 70 degrees Fahrenheit. January is usually the coldest month, with daily temperatures averaging 18 degrees Fahrenheit. November is typically the wettest month with 4.5 inches of precipitation on average.