The first mill to operate on the Androscoggin was a sawmill erected on the upper dam at Brunswick between 1753 and 1761. (The mill stood near the present site of “Fort Andross,” the former Cabot Manufacturing Company). Located on the Lewiston side of the Great Falls, the S. R. Bearce sawmill, shown here, was one of several dozen such mills on the Androscoggin when this photo was taken around 1875. Until the development of steam engines and railroads, sawmills depended on the region’s rivers and streams as sources of power and shipping routes. Note the piles of waste wood in the river—an early source of pollution on the Androscoggin.
Courtesy of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission