Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport /ˌkɛnibʌnkˈpɔːrt/ is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,474 people at the 2010 census.[4] It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford metropolitan statistical area.

Kennebunkport, Maine
Downtown during the Christmas season, looking towards Dock Square
Downtown during the Christmas season, looking towards Dock Square
Flag of Kennebunkport, Maine
Official seal of Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine is located in Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Coordinates: 43°22′51″N 70°27′7″W / 43.38083°N 70.45194°W / 43.38083; -70.45194
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedJuly 5, 1653
 • TypeTown Meeting
 • Town ManagerLaurie Smith
 • Board of SelectmenPatrick Briggs
Shelia Matthews-Bull
Stuart Barwise
Edward Hutchins
Allen Daggett
 • Land18.6 sq mi (48 km2)
26 ft (8 m)
 • Total3,474
 • Estimate 
 • Density169.3/sq mi (65.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)207
FIPS code23-36745
GNIS feature ID0582540

The town center, the area in and around Dock Square, is located along the Kennebunk River, approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the mouth of the river on the Atlantic Ocean. Historically a shipbuilding and fishing village, for well over a century the town has been a popular summer colony and seaside tourist destination. The Dock Square area has a district of souvenir shops, art galleries, schooner attractions, seafood restaurants, and bed and breakfasts. Cape Porpoise, while retaining its identity as a fishing harbor, has a very small village area with several restaurants, a church, grocery store, coffee shop, small library, and art gallery. Kennebunkport has a reputation as a summer haven for the upper class and is one of the wealthiest communities in the state of Maine. The Municipality of Kennebunkport includes the constituent villages of Kennebunkport Village, Cape Arundel & Colony Beach, the Cottage Coast, Wilde’s District (Wildwood), Goose Rocks Beach, Turbatts Creek, Cape Porpoise Village, North Village Crossing (Townhouse Corner), among various other newer developments. The town is the home of Walker's Point, a summer estate of the Bush family.

Kennebunkport and neighboring towns Kennebunk and Arundel comprise school district RSU 21.[5]


Kennebunkport was first incorporated in 1653 as Cape Porpus, subject to the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise). Due to Abenaki Indian resistance to English encroachment, settlers abandoned the town by 1689 and did not return until the early 18th century. The town was renamed Arundel, and the town center located inland at Burbank Hill. In 1821 the town was renamed again, this time to Kennebunkport in reflection to its economy becoming one of shipbuilding and trade along the Kennebunk River.[6]

By the 1870s the town had developed as a popular summer destination, with both hotels and homes constructed along its coastline. Cape Arundel, Cape Porpoise, and Beachwood (now called Goose Rocks) were some of the early summer colonies; although Cape Porpoise was, and still is, a working fishing harbor. Since 1939, Kennebunkport has been home to the Seashore Trolley Museum.

The Great Fires of 1947, which devastated much of York County, affected Kennebunkport and especially the area near Goose Rocks Beach. Much of the housing near Goose Rocks Beach was destroyed by the fire, but the area has since recovered and been rebuilt.[7]


Like much of the northeast coast, the geography of the southern Maine coast was largely directed by the retreat of the Laurentide ice cap about 23,000 years ago.[8] The coast is framed by bedrock, left during the formation of the Appalachian mountains, and the irregular shape of the coast (characteristic of much of the New England coast, with the exception of Cape Cod and the islands) is attributed to differential erosion of the underlying rock layer.

The coast along Kennebunkport differs sharply from the Maine coast north and east of Portland due to differences in the composition of this rock layer. Beyond Portland, the layer is a largely metamorphic rock, but here the coast is a mixture of igneous rock, and embayments of more deeply eroded sedimentary and metamorphic rock. These embayments result in the sandy beaches that can be found in southern Maine (such as Goose Rocks Beach, Colony Beach, and nearby Kennebunk Beach) but are uncommon north of Portland. Likewise, the geology here differs from that of the outer lands (Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Block Island in Rhode Island, and Long Island in New York), which were formed as terminal and recessional moraines, and do not contain much in the way of a bedrock skeleton.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 49.35 square miles (127.82 km2), of which, 20.52 square miles (53.15 km2) of it is land and 28.83 square miles (74.67 km2) is water.[1]

The town has several distinct areas, each developed during a phase of the town's history. The original town center was at Cape Porpoise, which today has a small village center, is both a summer colony and year-round community, and hosts a working fishing harbor. Inland from Cape Porpoise is a mix of forest and agricultural land, punctuated by a historic town center at Burbank Hill (there are a few historic buildings of interest here, including a schoolhouse and jail). Heading west towards the mouth of the Kennebunk River is Dock Square, the current town center.[10]

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Kennebunkport, and especially Cape Arundel (also known as Point Arundel), developed as a summer colony for the wealthy. Traveling from Dock Square along Ocean Avenue is the Cape Arundel Summer Colony Historic District.[11] This district of many well-preserved examples of early 20th-century shingle-style cottages begins at Chick's Creek and ends at Walker's Point.[12]

Adjacent municipalitiesEdit

Rachel Carson National Wildlife RefugeEdit

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge has a significant portion of lands in Kennebunkport northeast of Cape Porpoise and through Goose Rocks.[13] Within Kennebunkport, much of this protected land is salt-water marsh.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Kennebunkport has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[14]

Summer home of the Bush familyEdit

Kennebunkport was also the summer home of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, father of former U.S. President George W. Bush. First built by Bush's maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker, it has been a family home ever since, and has been owned by the Bush family since sometime in the early 1980s. [15] The Bushes' ancestry is distinct from the Walker family that settled York County, Maine. Some of this family's Walker relatives are buried in the Kennebunkport area ancient cemeteries. During his presidency, George H.W. Bush often invited world leaders, from Margaret Thatcher to Mikhail Gorbachev, to Kennebunkport. In 2007, his son George W. Bush invited Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy. The Bush compound is on Walkers Point, called Point Vesuvius prior to the Walker family's acquisition.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)3,639[3]4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

As of 2000, the median income for a household in the town was $54,219, and the median income for a family was $66,505. Males had a median income of $43,125 versus $34,028 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,707. About 1.7% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 1.4% of those age 65 or over.

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,474 people, 1,578 households, and 1,039 families residing in the town. The population density was 169.3 inhabitants per square mile (65.4/km2). There were 2,897 housing units at an average density of 141.2 per square mile (54.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.0% White, 0.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.

There were 1,578 households, of which 22.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.2% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.68.

The median age in the town was 51.8 years. 17.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.2% were from 25 to 44; 36.5% were from 45 to 64, and 24.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.


Notable peopleEdit

The waterfront

In popular cultureEdit

Kennebunkport was featured in the 2003 filming of the film Empire Falls by Maine author Richard Russo, with a downtown book shop making a notable appearance. Robin Wright appeared on set in Kennebunkport.[17]

Other films with scenes shot in Kennebunkport include Lost Boundaries (1949), The Man Who Knew Bush (2004 documentary), The Living Wake (2007), 41 (2012 documentary) and US Route 1-ME (2012). My Husband's Double Life was partially set in the town, but filmed in Toronto.[18][19]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Kennebunkport town, York County, Maine". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Maine Regional School unit 21 ARUNDEL|KENNEBUNK|KENNEBUNKPORT Facilities
  6. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts: A.J. Coolidge. pp. 176–181. coolidge mansfield history description new england 1859.
  7. ^ [1] Archived July 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "North Atlantic Coast Ecoregion // LandScope America". Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  9. ^ Kelley, Joseph T. "Coastal Bluffs of New England" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  10. ^ [2] Archived May 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Maine Historic Preservation Commission: National Register of Historic Places: Historic Properties: Historic District List". Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  12. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  13. ^ Carson, Rachel. "National Wildlife Refuge" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  14. ^ Climate Summary for Kennebunkport, Maine
  15. ^ a b Bacic, Ryan. "Vacationer-in-chief: A history of presidential getaways". Washington Post.
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ writer, Nancy Nussbaum, Associated Press. "Lifetime's 'Familiar Stranger' shares family's experience". Retrieved 2021-07-27.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 43°21′42″N 70°28′36″W / 43.36167°N 70.47667°W / 43.36167; -70.47667