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Town of Waterboro
State: ME
County: York


Saco River Watershed

The Little Ossipee River forms Waterboro’s northern border with Limerick. It flows east from Shapleigh through an area of forest and forested wetland. In Waterboro, the banks of the river are mostly undeveloped, except where it runs through Lake Arrowhead.

Conant Brook flows into Waterboro from Alfred near a large forested wetland. The brook gathers water from this marsh as it flows north into Northwest Pond which lies between Blueberry Road and Gore Road. The shores of this pond are mostly emergent wetlands with only a few dozen homes along Blueberry Road. A quarter mile long stream empties out of the northern end of Northwest Pond and flows through a small marsh to join Lake Sherburne near the Waterboro and Shapleigh border. Lake Sherburne is 60 acres in size and its shores are heavily developed along the several roads that surround it. There is also a small gravel pit located at the northern end of the lake. The outlet of the lake is a small stream that passes over an earthen dam and flows north through a half mile marsh and joins Buff Brook in the midst of a broad emergent wetland. Buff Brook originates in a marshland between Middle Road and West Road. It flows through the middle of this emergent wetland for three miles crossing an old bridge on Ross Corner Road and encountering no other development until it runs through a gravel pit on Thyngs Mill Road. A quarter mile downstream, Henderson Brook runs into Buff Brook, having run for a mile through forest and crossing Thyngs Mill Road through a small culvert. Buff Brook continues north through undeveloped forestland, gathering the waters of Harvey Mill Stream and then flowing into the Little Ossipee River.

Little Ossipee Pond sits along Route 5 in the middle of Waterboro. There are numerous small ponds and marshes situated nearby that feed into Little Ossipee Pond. Development around the pond is dense in places especially near Waterboro Center. Hundreds of homes and camps are built right up to the waterline along the entire perimeter of the pond. Little Ossipee Pond is home to twenty species of fish including landlocked salmon, as well as two species of crayfish and two species of freshwater mussels, and Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the pond with salmon and trout. There is boat access to the pond and also a small swimming beach located along Route 5. The pond drains north through a culvert under Chadbourne Ridge Road and flows directly into Lake Arrowhead on the other side. Lake Arrowhead forms where the Little Ossipee River backs up behind a dam on New Dam Road. The lake spreads out in many directions forming numerous coves, inlets, and islands. Much of this area, including the islands, is undeveloped. Most of the development is concentrated on the eastern shore and on the peninsula that forms within a bend in the main channel of the river. The village of Lake Arrowhead is located on this peninsula and the majority of homes on the Lake are here. The river passes over the dam at the lake’s eastern end and flows east into Limington.

Isinglass Pond sits in the northeast corner of Waterboro with a very small portion of it crossing the town border into Limington. A few homes dot the shoreline of this 28 acre pond which drains west through a small marsh and then joins the Little Ossipee River.

Lone Pond is located in western Waterboro near Townhouse Road. The shoreline of this small pond is mostly developed with a few dozen homes. A small stream drains out of its eastern end and runs parallel to Townhouse Road for a mile before crossing into Hollis on its way to join the Saco River.

Bartlett Brook drains an emergent wetland situated east of Roberts Ridge Road. It flows southeast, twisting and turning its way through undeveloped forestland and then crosses the power line right of way through a series of large marshes. It flows into Bartlett Pond near two large gravel pits on Main Street and Bennett Hill Road. This 33 acre pond sits across the Waterboro border with Lyman with no development along its shore.

Mousam River Watershed

Moody Pond is located in a forested area between Middle Road and Ossipee Hill Road. There is no development around this 23 acre pond which drains north through a small marsh and into Carll Branch at Ossipee Hill Road. This stream originates behind a farm field on Ossipee Hill Road right in geographic center of Waterboro. It is over four miles in length and parallels Ossipee Hill Road as it flows south past numerous homes and farms. The stream makes five road crossings through culverts and broadens into small marshes at several of these. As Carll Branch approaches southern Waterboro it flows past Massabesic Junior High School and joins Shaker Brook near Main Street. Shaker Brook originates in a forested wetland along Old Alfred Road. The brook flows south along the road, passing a few dozen homes and a large farm. It then crosses Main Street through a culvert and flows out into a large emergent wetland north of Hamilton Road. The brook then crosses this road near a large farm and begins to encounter dense development within Waterboro town center. It forms a small pond behind a dam at the intersection of West Road and Main Street. Continuing south, Shaker Brook passes a number of homes and businesses as well as the Massabesic Junior High School. Downstream from the school the brook is joined by Carll Branch and then flows through a quarter mile stretch of marsh before passing into Alfred.

Middle Branch Pond sits on Waterboro’s southwestern border with Alfred along Blueberry Road. It is moderately developed with homes along its eastern and northern shoreline. The Middle Branch Mousam River flows out of Middle Branch Pond through a large emergent wetland. The river forms part of Waterboro’s border with Alfred as it flows south eventually crossing into Alfred near Avery Road.

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Water District: none
District Website: none
Water Source: Private Wells
# Accts Serv: none
Other Towns: none
Sewer District: Septic
District Website: none
Receiving Waters: groundwater
# Accts Serv: N/A
Other Towns: none

Seal:town seal, click to enlarge
Population:7300 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:53.5 square miles


Abenaki Indians called the area that includes Waterboro, “Massabesic”, meaning "the place of much water," a reference to the region's lakes. The Sokokis Tribe came to the area to fish and hunt for game.

Waterboro was part of an extensive tract of land purchased in 1661 from Chief Fluellin. Known as Massabesic Plantation, it included most of modern-day Waterboro, Alfred and Sanford.

Lumbering began to thrive here about 1764. Captain John Smith from Kittery was the first permanent settler, arriving in 1768. Waterboro was incorporated on March 6, 1787.

With land particularly suited for livestock grazing, agriculture became a principal industry. The town had many cattle and dairy farms. The Portland and Rochester Railroad passed through Waterboro and connected to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1871, helping spur development and providing an easier way to transport goods to market. Rivers and brooks provided water power to operate mills. Several sawmills were established, and by 1886 the town produced about 1,800,000 feet (550,000 m) of lumber annually. Other businesses included the Ossipee Manufacturing Company at the Little Ossipee River, which made blankets, and the Steam Mill Company at South Waterboro, which made wooden boxes. In 1922, the Goodall-Sanford Mills built in Waterboro village a spinning mill, taken over by a patent leather manufacturer that operated from 1939-1982.

Fire twice devastated the town. In 1911, a large portion of South Waterboro burned. Then during the Great Fires of 1947, three-quarters of Waterboro's land area burned, including the town center and 90% of the cottages on Little Ossipee Lake.

After a decline in population during the early 1900’s, Waterboro began to grow rapidly. Between 1960 and 2000, the population grew by an average of 62% per decade, from 1,059 to 6,214.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC