The towns of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls are nestled in the valley formed by the Androscoggin River, and situated at the geographic center of a vast recreational area. Each town has its own charm, but all are essentially rural, with a small-town feel, and with close-knit communities.
For generations this valley has been known as apple and dairy country; in the early 1800’s supplying markets to the south such as Boston. Small dairy farms, like in many other areas in Maine, have gone, but there is still ample evidence of the area’s agricultural roots. It’s a checkerboard of hay and corn fields, with orchard-striped hills and various roadside signs proclaiming “pick your own!” (Name your berry/apple!).
Livermore was home to the Washburns, one of the preeminent families of the 19th century. This remarkable family produced senators, congressmen, governors, entrepreneurs and naval leaders. The Washburns were a great dynasty through the mid 1800’s. Now at their ancestral home is a wonderful national historic treasure: the Washburn Norlands Living History Center, where not only may you watch re-enactors, you may even be drawn in, a la Tom Sawyer, to help press apples for cider, or cut ice from the pond.
North Jay is known historically for its white granite quarries. Those quarries supplied the graniteundefined highly prized for its fine grain, white color and strength undefinedfor numerous public buildings across the country, including that of Grant’s Tomb. While the heyday of granite quarrying is over you may still visit the North Jay White Granite Quarry. Jay also boasts a small ski area owned by the three towns- Spruce Mountain Ski Slope .
Livermore Falls could easily be called the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the valley. Countless mills were built in the latter part of the 19th century, taking advantage of the Androscoggin’s tremendous water power. Hugh Chisholm- lifelong friend and collaborator of Thomas Alva Edison- purchased his first paper mill in Livermore Falls, then built or purchased a number of other mills that eventually became the multi-national paper maker, International Paper Company. Commemorating the history of the Paper Industry here and throughout Maine, Maine’s Paper and Heritage Museum makes its home in Livermore Falls.
Most of the mills - from paper to grist - have come and gone from the area, but the population that was drawn here by the need for workers for the various mills and railroads has remained. That population is multi-ethnic, independent; with a fierce pride in their historical role in the industries of the area. Residents remain close to the land; hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. Deeply felt by its residents and all who visit, is an appreciation of the area’s great natural beauty. With the shift away from industry has come an enhanced recognition of that beauty.
To date, the area has been spared the burgeoning urban sprawl and skyrocketing land prices visited on areas to the south and west. In some ways you might call it sleepy. But how lucky we have been! There are no “BIG BOX” stores, but everything you really need is here! Some of the nation’s largest ski areas are only an hour away and should you wish to visit larger retail outlets, they are a short drive away: Farmingtonto the north, Augusta to the east, and Lewiston Auburn to the south.
The Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls area Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to settle into the heart of the Androscoggin River Valley.