The town of Penobscot is located along the coast in Hancock County, Maine. The town encompasses 46.5 square miles that include two small mountains, two large ponds, a ridge of fertile farmland, several blueberry fields, a peat bog, a large freshwater pond, and more than 18 miles of shoreland on Northern Bay and the Bagaduce River.
The Abenaki-Penobscot people traveled the waters of this area long before European settlers arrived, and the town takes its name from the Abenaki-Penobscot word “Penobskeag” or “Penopeauke,” signifying a rocky place. Native American settlements dotted the region when French explorers and settlers arrived in the early 17th century. The first permanent settlers, who were English, arrived in 1759. The area was named Majorbagaduce Territory and included the current towns of Castine, Penobscot, and Brooksville. The town of Penobscot incorporated in February 1787.
Penobscot would lose territory twice; once when Castine broke off and again later when Brooksville became a separate town. Although Penobscot did not have the deep harbors possessed by Brooksville and Castine, many made their living off the sea. Farming, brickmaking, and the wood industry were also important in the town. Later in history, Penobscot had knitting mills, ice harvesting, a cannery, and a peat processing industry.
Penobscot now has around 1300 residents, and many making a living with home-based businesses and family farms. The largest employers in town are the K-8 school and the general store. Some of the residents are descendants of early settlers; some arrived more recently and have become part of the community. Others enjoy spending their summers here.
Penobscot’s woods and wetlands are home to deer, bears, foxes, beavers, otters, osprey, eagles, hawks, songbirds, turkey, raccoons, skunks, porcupines, and the occasional moose. The townspeople can be found in three residential areas (North, West, and South Penobscot). The largest community gathering times are at Town Meeting, school events, and the annual Penobscot Day event.