Incorporated in 1809, Calais’s St. Croix Island was the first permanent settlement in Maine.  This settlement, though unsuccessful, can still be seen today.  It wasn’t until 1779 that Calais saw its first permanent settler.  The establishment of a sawmill quickly followed, and Calais became a place of ship building.


Named after Calais, France to honor the French’s assistance in the Revolutionary War, the town started out as a mill town with close ties to its Canadian neighbors.  A great example of this strong friendship occurred during the War of 1812. St. Stephen was given gunpowder by the British to protect itself from its American enemies in Calais.  Instead of using the powder for defense purposes, they gave it to Calais for a Forth of July celebration.  Today the two towns celebrate their friendship each year with the International Homecoming Festival, a four day long celebration including a parade, fireworks, a street fair hosted by the Chamber, music, kids activities, and much more.


Once known for its industrial makeup including shoe factories, shingle mills, granite works, and much more, today Calais is a city of commerce.  It is the primary shopping center of both eastern Washington County and Charlotte County, New Brunswick.  Businesses consist mainly of retail, service, and construction industries.


Quick Facts

County:  Washington

Mayor:  Marianne Moore

Population:  3,123

Schools:  Calais Elementary School, Calais Middle School, Calais High School, St. Croix Regional Technical Center, and Washington County Community College

Hospital:  Calais Regional Hospital


Information courtesy of