In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Biddeford History & Heritage Project

Sharing the history of a proud city rising where the water falls


of Biddeford...a Maine river town

Text by Renée DesRoberts
Research & editorial assistance provided by Sally Leahey, Raymond Gaudette, Brooke Faulkner, Denise Doherty, and Sue Souliere

The defining characteristic of Biddeford is the Saco River, which snakes along the length of the city until it is split by a number of islands and falls, after which it spreads out and winds its way to the sea.

Biddeford is bordered by Saco to the north, Dayton and Arundel to the west, Kennebunkport to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Much of the town is wooded, with gentle hills that run from the borders along the river to the sea. The coast is dotted by small, rocky islands and beaches, graceful dunes, and lush marshlands. Two long thin fingers of land create a large, naturally protected pool.

Saco River from old White's Wharf, Biddeford, 2010. The bottom tip of Factory Island and the Saco shoreline are visible on upper left.

Wildlife abounds, and includes deer, fox, and all manner of fish, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The soil is rich and supports farming even today. With such fertility and abundance, it is no wonder that humans have lived and flourished here for as long as man has walked these lands--about 12,000 years ago.