About This Place
Kennebunk ( /kɛnɨbʌŋk/ or local /kɛniːbʌŋk/) is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 10,476 at the 2000 census. Including Kennebunkport (a separate, but adjoining, and often associated town), the population totals 14,196 people. Kennebunk is home to several beaches, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, the 1799 Kennebunk Inn, many historic shipbuilders' homes, and the Nature Conservancy Blueberry Barrens, (known locally as the Blueberry Plains) with 1,500 acres (6 km²) of nature trails and blueberry fields.
First settled in 1621, the town developed as a trading and, later, shipbuilding and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. "Kennebunk, the only village in the world so named," was featured on a large locally famous sign attached to the Kesslen Shoe Mill on Route One. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant "the long cut bank," presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. Kennebunk's coastline is divided into three major sections. Mother's Beach, Middle Beach or Rocky Beach, and Gooches Beach or Long Beach. Separate from Kennebunk Beach is secluded Parson's Beach, a quiet alternative to the summer crowds.
The town is a popular summer tourist destination. Kennebunk contains fine examples of early architecture, the most noted of which is the Wedding Cake House, a Federal-style dwelling extensively decorated with scroll saw Gothic trim. This was added to the house for his wife of many years by George Washington Bourne late in his life, and not as legend has it by a ship captain for a young bride lost at sea. Local economy is tourism based. The headquarters for the natural health-care product manufacturer Tom's of Maine is located in Kennebunk. Many residents commute to Portland, to New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.