DescriptionBethel sits along a quiet stretch of the Androscoggin River adjacent to the Mahoosuc mountain range that lies in the northeast corner of the White Mountains. Settled in 1774 as Sudbury Canada, it is one of the oldest towns in northwestern Maine. The Revolutionary War so slowed growth that in 1781, when the town experienced the last New England raid by Indians from Canada, it had only 10 families.
Bethel, as the community was rechristened in 1796, grew into an important farming and lumbering center. Once the railroad linked it with Portland and Montréal, assuring its position in commerce, Bethel became a favorite spot for visitors to the White Mountains. Founded in 1836, Gould Academy on Church Street is one of the state's leading preparatory schools. A well-known resident was Dr. John Gehring, a neurologist for whom a ward of the New York Neurological Institute is named.
Swimming, camping, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golfing and rockhounding are favorite summer activities. In winter, alpine and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular.
Grafton Notch State Park, 14 miles north on SR 26, is at the end of the Mahoosuc Range between Newry and Upton. The park, which is open daily from mid-May to mid-October, contains such scenic points as Screw Auger Falls, Spruce Meadow, Mother Walker Falls, Old Speck Mountain and Moose Cave; phone (207) 824-2912 in season.
InfoOfficeBethel Area Chamber of Commerce: 8 Station Pl. BETHEL, ME 04217. Phone:(207)824-2282 or (800)442-5826
Self-guiding toursA self-guiding walking tour of the Broad Street Historic District and Bethel Hill Village is available from the Bethel Historical Society, 10 Broad St., and the chamber of commerce. Information about scenic driving tours also is available from the chamber of commerce.
Attraction PlaceHoldersBethel Historical Society