Get to know Embden through its Historical Sites
Embden Town House
The first map of Embden, locating the first settlers, was drawn by Samuel Titcomb in 1790. Embden was incorporated June 22, 1804. Homes and schools were used for temporary town meeting places for many years, but on March 2, 1846, townsmen voted to build the Town House on the Ford Hill property of Daniel Goodwin. Elisha Walker was hired to build a 30' x 36' building.
Embden Town House, located atop Ford Hill on Cross Town Road, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Completed in 1849 for $254.42, it was used for town meetings until 1987 and since then has been the site of Embden Historical Society meetings. During the summer of 1991, the building was moved back from the road right-of-way and placed on a foundation on high and dry ground. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Concord Haven, also known as "The Mansion," is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Kennebec River. The palatial residence on the Concord-Embden boundary was for many years the summer home of Dr. J. Leon Williams. On July 5, 1915, Dr. Williams bought the property across from his childhood home. The Colonial Revival home was designed by leading architects John Calvin and John Howard Stevens and took seven years to complete the house with 15 rooms and outbuildings. Dr. Williams' paintings, drawings, and etchings covered the walls. He invented false teeth and was considered a student, writer, scientist, artist, sculptor, and philosopher. He died on February 23, 1932 and is buried in Bingham. This is now a private home.
The Embden-Solon Ferry began service around 1828 in the area known as Thompson's landing. The ferry-tender was on duty night and day, sometimes being called from his sleep to ferry people and teams of animals across. The rates for the ferry were 3 cents per single team and 10 cents per double team at the time the ferry stopped operating in 1911.
The boat itself was large enough to carry six single or four double teams, if the rigs weren't too long. The ferry ran by the power furnished by the river. There were two poles, one on either shore, with a cable between them. The current of the river pushed the back end of the ferry downstream and across the river at the same time. When the current was swift it was necessary to have two men to tend the hand-operated windlasses with ropes going up to pulleys that rode on the cable. When the river was calm, one man alone could control the boat by means of the rear windlass. If the current was slow enough, it sometimes was necessary to pole the boat across the river. The ferry could be used only when the river was clear of ice.
The ferry was replaced by a bridge, built in 1910-1911, which was named the "Jotham and Emma Stevens Bridge" in 2021 to commemorate "Jote" Stevens, the last ferry-tender.
Aerial view of Cragin House
Located atop Cragin Hill on the New Portland Road, Route 16, the Cragin House was built by Simeon Cragin in the late 1700's as a replica of his ancestral mansion at Temple, NH. The home minus the great barn and outbuildings still stands today with a spectacular view of Sugarloaf Mountain to the west. The West Embden Post Office was once housed here.
View from Cragin Hill oil painting by Temple, Maine artist Ronal Parlin
Oil Painting of Cragin House in 1978 by K. C. August
Cragin Schoolhouse Site
The first school was built on Cragin Hill in 1810 on the land of Jonathan Cleveland and was also known as the West Ward School. A sign now marks the location of the school on the land owned by the Malesky family on the New Portland Road. In 1815 the schoolhouse was the location of the first town meeting held in a public building.
With the aid of a Native American in the spring of 1782, Mrs. Olive Hutchins, her four children, and one cow fled the British to an intervale on Seven Mile Brook (Carrabasset River) where she was later joined by her husband, Capt. Samuel Hutchins. Their son, Asahel built the large brick house and a large barn. The fertile intervale, brick house, and Hutchins Cemetery still mark this site.
Two stone houses were built during the middle 1800's. William McKenny built one located on the Farmer Road in 1863. From his farm McKenny mined and cut the granite stone for the house. The first story is stone and the upper half is wood. The windows have wide sills due to the thickness of the stone walls. North of the house is a majestic view of Black Hill.
The other stone house was built by John Pierce, Jr. in 1838 and is located on the New Portland Road (Route 16). This house is stone from roof to cellar and is a landmark for tourists. At one time, the barn was reputed to be the longest in the area.
Stone House on New Portland Road