The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Kennebec (river)

KENNEBEC, a river of Maine, and next to the Penobscot the most important in the state. Its principal source is Moosehead lake in the N. W. part of the state, on the boundary line between Somerset and Piscataquis counties. It issues from the lake on its S. W. shore, and after a course of 20 m. receives Dead river from the right. Its direction is then changed from S. W. to S., and from this course it has but one considerable deviation, namely, in the S. part of Somerset co., where it flows 12 m. E. It enters the Atlantic in Sagadahoc co., through Sheepscott bay, an irregular indentation of the coast studded with many islands. The largest tributary of the Kennebec is the Androscoggin, which joins it 18 m. from the ocean at Merrymeeting bay. The outlets of a number of small ponds, and Sebasticook and Sandy rivers, also flow into it. The most important towns on its banks are Bath, Richmond, Gardiner, Hallowell, Augusta, Waterville, and Norridgewock. It has falls at Waterville and at three points above, which afford excellent motive power. Its whole length is about 150 m., in which it has a descent of 1,000 ft. Large ships can ascend it to Bath, 12 m., steamboats to Hallowell, 40 m., and small craft to Waterville, 54 m. The influence of the tide extends to Augusta, 42 m. from the sea. A dam with locks has been constructed at Augusta for the purpose of improving the navigation above that point, and increasing the water power. The river is closed by ice at Hallowell from the middle of December to about the 1st of April; below Bath it is open at all seasons except during severe winters.