History of Westbrook
Originally known as Saccarappa after Saccarappa Falls on the Presumpscot River, Westbrook was part of Falmouth until February 14, 1814, when it was set off and incorporated as Stroudwater. It soon changed its name to Westbrook after Colonel Thomas Westbrook, a commander during Father Rale's War and King's mast agent who was an early settler and mill operator. In 1871, Saccarappa amicably split into two municipalities; the current City of Westbrook and Deering, which was then annexed by Portland in 1898. In 1891 Westbrook was incorporated as a City.
Saccarappa Falls and Congin Falls provided water power for early mills within the city. In 1829, a sawmill was built which made the mill town famous for its lumber. Other industries followed, manufacturing grain bags, machinery and water wheels,carriage and harnesses, boots, shoes and moccasins, tin ware, leather board, bricks, wooden boxes, box shook, meal and flour. The Portland Manufacturing Company built a cotton textile mill at Saccarappa Falls for making "sheetings, stripes and ducks." A paper mill was built at Cumberland Mills, once an Indian planting ground known as Ammoncongin. By 1859, it produced 1,000 tons of paper annually. In 1867, the factory's name would change to the S. D. Warren Paper Mill and would then change to Sappi in 1994.
The Oxford & Cumberland Canal opened in 1832, connecting Portland to Harrison by way of Westbrook and Sebago Lake. It was the primary commercial shipping route for goods until 1871, when it was rendered obsolete by the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad. Remnants of the canal can still be seen throughout the city, including Beaver Pond, along Stroudwater Street near the Maine Turnpike overpass, and in the woods between Westbrook High School and Canal Elementary School.
Although Westbrook has been linked for more than a century to the Maine paper and wood pulp industry, today Sappi Fine Paper North America has adapted and it now manufactures a wide range of products. Calpine Industries has a state-of-the-art natural gas fired power plant supplying electricity to more than 500,000 homes and businesses in southern Maine; and Westbrook is now home to the multi-national corporation Idexx which employs more than 5,100 employees worldwide.