A thirteen mile seacoast separates Maine from Massachusetts today. It took 44 years before Maine was able to separate from Massachusetts Bay Colony and become a state in 1820. The first capital city was Portland but from the beginning the contest to build a more centrally located Capitol included 7 cities. Portland, Brunswick, Hallowell, Waterville, Belfast, Wiscasset, and Augusta. Built in only one year after becoming the state capital this beautiful Capitol building has been steady and sturdy since 1832.
3 miles north of Augusta on the Kennebec river a chapel was built in 1646 on Gilley's point and dedicated to St. Mary of the Assumption. The Catholic population was growing rapidly from 1820 to 1836 with the lumber industry near Augusta. A Unitarian church on the East side of the Kennebec river was purchased for a growing St. Mary church for 10 years until the new St. Mary Church was built on State street in 1846. In 1887, St. Mary of the Assumption was dedicated in the memory of the first Indian chapel built 220 years earlier on the Kennebec river. Multiple Catholic churches have sprung up from the roots of St. Mary's throughout Augusta and surrounding communities as far away as Bangor.
A steady and sturdy Capitol and a steadily growing church community stand in the shadow of each other in Augusta, Maine. The Kennebec river connects their history while State street separates their proximity. Both stand strong over time. As I finish my story in Maine, back in Massachusetts another story is coming to a conclusion. That discovery will be next in Boston.