Coos Road

  1. Location and Background
  2. History
  3. Migrations and Towns
  4. Traveler: Paul Coffin

  1. History
In the late 1700s, local residents had ambitions for the Augusta-Hallowell-Gardiner area becoming a commercial center on the lower Kennebec River. Much of their hope lay in the forging of connections, both externally by ships and internally by roads. Although 42 miles (68 kilometres) from the ocean, Hallowell lay at the head of navigation and was technically a seaport, which allowed for overseas trade. The town was also connected to the King's Highway. Its other roads, however, were generally in poor condition, leading from the river banks, up the hills and inland only a moderate distance. A decision was made to improve these road problems.

In March 1792, a group of men blazed a trail from Hallowell to the New Hampshire border, which was to be continued westward to the upper Coos Marsh land area of New Hampshire on the Connecticut River. The route was meant to open resources and to facilitate the settlement of wilderness lands in western Maine. This trail was improved over the next decade and was made into a carriage road by 1822. The developers of the Coos Road were given lands by the state in return for the road work. Most of the road traffic went by foot or by horse. A metal plaque is mounted on a small boulder that lies on the north side of the Winthrop Road, near the top of Winthrop Hill, in Hallowell, Maine and reads: "Here Passed the Coos Road Opening to the Early Pioneers the Interior of the Country Between Errol, New Hampshire and Hallowell, Maine".