About This Place
Old Orchard Beach is a town and census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,856 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Located on the inner side of Saco Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, the town is a popular summer beach destination. The downtown contains many tourist-oriented businesses, including clam shacks and t-shirt shops. A wooden pier on the beach contains many other tourist businesses, including a variety of souvenir shops. The seven mile (11 km) long beach stretching away from the downtown is lined with many beach residential properties, condominiums, motels and bed and breakfasts.
The Old Orchard Beach area began appearing in historical records around the time of 1653. The area was first officially settled in 1657 by Thomas Rogers[disambiguation needed], who dubbed it "The Garden By The Sea". The town takes its name from Rogers' abandoned apple orchard. Rogers' family left the area and relocated in Kittery, Maine after an Indian attack destroyed the Rogers' homestead. The namesake orchard survived for approximately 150 years as a beacon of land to sailors in the Atlantic Ocean. The historic Free Will Baptist revival camp at [Ocean Park, Maine], just down the beach from central Old Orchard, was built in 1881 by Bates College President Oren B. Cheney. The mission of the Association, as declared to the State of Maine on January 24, 1881 was "to establish a place of summer resort for holding religious, educational and other meetings at Old Orchard, in Saco, Maine, in the County of York.". The community still thrives today.