Archeologists have discovered settlement along the Sheepscot
River that pre-dates the 1620 Plymouth Colony. There are written
records of a settlement near the present Sheepscot Village from
the mid 1600s. These early settlements did not last, being
subject to Indian attacks and nature's challenges. Permanent
settlement of the area now known as Alna dates from 1758,
after the end of the French and Indian Wars.
In 1760 Masachusetts established Lincoln County and
incorporated; Pownalborough, which included the present-day
towns of Wiscasset, Alna, and Dresden, as well Swan Island.
Families from Massachusetts and New Hampshire settled what was
then a fontier. The 1766 census of Pownalborough counted 114
families, 39 framed houses and 61 log houses.
Well into the 19th century, rivers were both the primary
means of transportation and powered industry. Grain and
saw mills were established along the Sheepscot River at Head
Tide, Puddle Dock and Sheepscot Village. Virgin forests provided
timber, primarily for shipbuilding. Before the Revolution all
trees over 24 inches in diameter were marked with the King's Arrow,
designatingthem as masts for the Royal Navy. The original masts
for the USS Constitution were floated from Puddle Dock to Wiscasset
in 1797 andthen towed to Boston.
After the Revolutionary War, Alna prospered and expanded.
In 1794 the North precint of Pownalborough slpit off and
became New Milford. In 1811 the name was changed to Alna from
the Latin "alnus" for the alder trees that grow abundantly in town.
During the 1800s Alna shipyards built 103 schooners, brigs and
a fully rigged 1194 ton vessel, named the King Phillip.
Ships were floated to Wiscasset, the deepest harbor north of Boston.
While farming remained the primary occuption, tanneries, taverns,
stores and other small businesses were established. The first
meeting house was constructed in 1789 and schools were built.
In 1820 Alna's population was 1200.
In 1895 the Wiscasset and Quebec Railway initiated narrow
gauge railroad service through Alna. Until 1933 the little
train shuttled mail, passengers, livestock and produce between
Wiscasset and the state's interior. Apples grown on Head Tide Hill
were said to be harvested and shipped on a Monday and sold in
Boston on Tuesday, with the profits back in Alna by Wednesday.
In 1989 a Narrow Gauge Museum was established at the site of the
old Sheepscot Station. One of the original engines now travels
2.2 miles of track on weekends.
This historical detail is provided from, "a Brief History of Old Alna"
written by Nell Walker in 1970.