Discover Franklin County. Find out more information on Farmington, Jay, Wilton, and Rangely below.
Farmington, Maine is the county seat of Franklin County. Established in 1794 Farmington, named for its fertile soil, became well known as one of the largest wool producing towns in New England. Herds of sheep grazed along the mountainsides and fields. Hay became a principal agricultural product, along with a growing number of orchards and dairy farms. With a great source of water power brickyards, a foundry, a cheese factory, canning factories, gristmills, a tannery, and a spool factory emerged along the banks of the Sandy River. With the addition of the Sandy River Railroad in 1879 Farmington quickly became a doorway for the Rangeley Lakes and Sugarloaf Mountain areas. Today the Sandy River Railroad’s route can still be enjoyed by all for multiple recreational activities and is known as the Whistle Stop Trail.
Today Farmington is known as a college town and is home to the University of Maine at Farmington, a college specializing in liberal arts. Athletes from UMF, Mount Blue Regional School District, and beyond enjoy the benefits of having a ski slope in their backyard. Titcomb Mountain, is a family friendly ski mountain, featuring a variety of skiing, biking, and hiking trails and a cozy lodge. Farmington offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and a library for students and residents alike!
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The town of Jay, Maine is settled in the Androscoggin River valley. Established in 1795 this town has etched its livelihood from the Androscoggin River, its fertile farmlands, and valuable granite quarry. During the early 1900s, with an average population of 1,500, Jay embraced the industrial revolution with its numerous paper mills, sawmills, brickyard, granite quarry, and a carriage factory. The ever growing town sported a toll bridge, tavern, and bountiful farms. These farms yielded great quantities of hay, corn, wheat, potatoes, apples, and oats.
Today Jay has a population of just under 5,000 residents. Many of these residents still work at the local mill, granite quarry, and local businesses. Located on the edge of the western mountains Jay, along with neighboring towns, offers recreational trails at Frenches Falls and the Jay Granite Quarry. The Androscoggin River offers opportunities to enjoy fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Jay students attend schools in the Spruce Mountain School District. Jay residents have free access to the Jay Niles Memorial Library and get to enjoy a variety of local businesses such as Paris Farmers Union, LaFLuers Restaurant, Hannaford, Label Shopper, Spruce Mountain Pharmacy, and so much more!
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Wilton, Maine, a small town nestled on the banks of Wilson Lake, is well known for being a great place to live, work, and play. Founded in 1803, Wilton became the first town in Maine to have a cotton mill and a toothpick mill. Additional mills sprung up over the town, most commonly known as G.H. Bass & Co., a shoe company known for their high quality footwear, including those worn by Charles Lindbergh while he crossed the Atlantic. These mills have long since closed but in their place, new businesses have flourished.
Wilton offers fine dining at Calzolaio Pasta Co., a handy Wilton Hardware, Food City, Franklin Savings Bank, Key Bank, a free Public Library, Wilson Lake Inn, and so much more. This lakeside town offers you a never ending array of recreational activities. Enjoy all 4 seasons at Kineowatha Park, a 63 acre park offering multiple sports fields, courts, a beach on Wilson Lake, a disc golf course, picnic areas, walking trails, and an outdoor ice rink. The Cushing School and the Academy Hill School, give young Wiltoners a head start in education. Rich with history and abundant in new possibilities Wilton is a great place to raise a family or settle down to enjoy your retirement years.
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Rangeley, Maine sits in the center of the Rangeley Lakes Region. It has close ties with Oquossoc Village, Rangeley Plt., Sandy River Plt., and Dallas Plt. Rangeley, originally a part of Rangeley Plantation, separated and became incorporated in 1855. In 1870 the town had a population of 313 people, most of these Mainers made their living as loggers, farmers, and craftsmen. As the railroad made its way North it brought tourists. With an onslaught of tourist Rangeley quickly adapted into a tourist town offering guiding services, sporting camps, hotels, and fine dining. President Herbert Hoover was a well known angler in the area.
Today Rangeley and the surrounding plantations are still tourist destinations with a multitude of places to stay, fine dining, and recreational activities. Rangeley Lake is the heart of this region and offers 4- seasons of outdoor recreation and beautiful views. The Rangeley Lakes Region consists of six major lakes and hundreds of smaller lakes, ponds, and rivers. The Rangeley Lake State Park is a 900 acre land reserve that offers water access with a boat launch, sports fields, picnic areas, hiking trails, and a campground. Enjoy a game of golf in the summer and a day on the slopes in the winter, then return to the comfort of one of Rangeley's lodges for the evening. Downtown Rangeley offers an array of restaurants and shops for tourists and year round residents.