Perkins Township Swan Island
Latitude / Longitude:
45°11′38.9″N 70°18′52.4″W / 45.194139°N 70.314556°W / 45.194139
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Perkins Township (Swan Island) is an unorganized territory in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. Originally incorporated as the town of Perkins, it has been uninhabited since being abandoned by the 1940s.
The township comprises Swan Island, Little Swan Island and some tidal flats – all within the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Swan Island Historic District comprises most of the township, with 8 buildings, 5 structures and 1,500 acres (610 ha). Some of the buildings date to the 1750s. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The entire township is now protected as the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, and is under the jurisdiction of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Camping, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing are permitted between May and October; reservations are required.
Besides town government, the town also had a schoolhouse and cemetery. However the town was disincorporated in 1918, so it became a township managed by the state. By the mid-1940s the Great Depression and ongoing pollution of the Kennebec River led to the decline of the island’s industries and the island was abandoned. Little was done until the 1990s when efforts were made to protect some of the buildings, a process that is ongoing.
The town of Perkins was incorporated in the mid-19th century and then disincorporated in 1918. During the 19th century, the town was a community of almost 100 residents who under-took shipbuilding, farming and ice harvesting. The island also attracted summer residents who built summer homes, and its most famous summer resident was Thomas Handasyd Perkins. The town was named for him when it was incorporated in the mid-19th century, after he paid for its incorporation.