If you dig into the history of New England's towns and cities, you'll find that many experienced a name change at some point in their history.  For whatever the reason, maybe because we were once part of Massachusetts, this seems to be especially true in the State of Maine.

For example, what we now know as Augusta was once called Hallowell.  The reason?  Prior to becoming its own city, the area was a part of Hallowell.

There was a similar situation involving Waterville and Winslow.

Apparently, the Town of Skowhegan also experienced a name change.


What Was Skowhegan's Original Name?

Well, technically, Skowhegan WAS the original name of the town.  For hundreds of years, wat before the European settlers came to the area, members of the Abenaki tribe frequented the area on an annual basis.  They called it Skowhegan, which meant "watching place for fish".

The first permanent European settlement in the area was established in 1771.  It was started by two families, the Heywoods and the Westons.  Starting in Gardiner, the traveled up the river to Waterville / Winslow.  From there, they hiked the 25 miles to what is now known as Skowhegan.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Up until the early 1800s, the town was part of the nearby town of Canaan.  In 1823, it separated from Canaan and became Milburn.  So, the original name of the town was Milburn.  However, the name would not stick for long.

Because people were so used to referring to the town by it's Native American name, Milburn never really took off.  Residents and visitors who were familiar with the area just kept calling it Skowhegan.

Finally, after over a decade of trying to make Milburn a thing, the town officials decided to officially make the town's name Skowhegan.

And, the rest is history!

Check out this cool drone video of downtown Skowhegan:

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