First called T9 R10 NWP (or Township 9, Range 10, North of the Waldo Patent), the land was granted about 1812 by the Massachusetts General Court to Thornton Academy in Saco. In 1824, Nathaniel Haskell of Westbrook bought the Thornton Academy Grant. With Oliver Young and John Smith, he began clearing trees that summer for farming near Wilson Pond, where the Wilson Stream would provide water power for mills.
In 1827, Haskell completed a house, and his family joined him. A sawmill was built on Wilson Stream in 1829, with a gristmill added the following year. In 1835, Henry Gower began clearing land beside Moosehead Lake for what would develop into Greenville village. There he erected the first hotel, a two-story building called The Seboomook House, and the first store. On February 6, 1836, Greenville was incorporated from Haskell Plantation, and named for its green forests. By 1846, Greenville village included two houses, two blacksmith shops and a schoolhouse. On August 10, 1848, the town annexed land from Wilson, the remainder of which was distributed to Shirley and Elliotsville.
A small steamboat was launched in 1836 to tow logs, and in 1838 the first large lake steamer began operation. In later years, a succession of steamers by the name of Katahdin plied the waters. The current S/S Katahdin was built in 1914. In July 1884, the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad (later, the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad) arrived at Greenville Junction. The Canadian Pacific Railway's subsidiary the International Railway of Maine was built through the village in 1888. Tourists were attracted by the region's scenic beauty, hunting and fishing. Consequently, several inns and hotels were built, including the Piscataquis Exchange Hotel, the Squaw Mountain Inn and the Moosehead Inn. Steamboat service was available across Moosehead Lake to the grand Mount Kineo House on a peninsula at Mount Kineo. Today, Greenville remains a popular resort area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 46.13 square miles (119.48 km2), of which, 42.33 square miles (109.63 km2) of it is land and 3.80 square miles (9.84 km2) is water. Situated beside Moosehead Lake, Greenville is drained by Wilson Stream.
Located north of the 45th parallel on a line with Montreal, Greenville, in climate and vegetation, has more in common with the northernmost United States and southern Canada than it has with southern Maine.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Greenville has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,646 people, 820 households, and 480 families residing in the town. The population density was 38.9 inhabitants per square mile (15.0/km2). There were 1,661 housing units at an average density of 39.2 per square mile (15.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.3% White, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.5% of the population.
There were 820 households of which 19.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.5% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.51.
The median age in the town was 52.3 years. 15.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.4% were from 25 to 44; 37.7% were from 45 to 64; and 24.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,623 people, 731 households, and 437 families residing in the town. The population density was 38.2 people per square mile (14.7/km²). There were 1,378 housing units at an average density of 32.4 per square mile (12.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.77% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.25% of the population.
There were 731 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the town, the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $30,365, and the median income for a family was $36,694. Males had a median income of $27,955 versus $19,712 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,638. About 8.9% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.
In 1973, a group of local seaplane pilots and bush pilots from around Moosehead Lake including Charlie Coe, Dick Folsom, Telford Allen Jr., and Seaplane Pilots Association founder David Quam got together and established the Greenville International Seaplane Fly-In; the first such event took place on the weekend before Labor Day that year and became an annual attraction that grew larger every year. Seaplane pilots locally and from around the country fly to Greenville each year for the event and stage out of Moosehead Lake while other general aviation pilots arrive at nearby Greenville Municipal Airport. The festivities originally centered on the Folsom's Air Service Hangar and Seaplane Ramp but in recent years have switched to the neighboring Maine Fish and Game Hangar which is now called Stobie Seaplane Base and has been expanded to accommodate the event. The fly-in consists of planned competitions among seaplane pilots which include Short Takeoffs and Spot Landings, Taxi Slaloms, bomb-dropping contests (which have used water jugs and grapefruits), and the so-called "Bush Pilot's Canoe Race" which was invented in Greenville. Many exhibitors also utilize the Fish and Game Hangar to advertise and sell aviation and seaplane items, each year between 50 and 100 seaplanes arrive on the lake and just as many land-planes stage at the Greenville Airport; these normally include popular General Aviation types such as Cessna 172s, Cessna 180/185, Cessna 182s, Cessna 206s, Piper J-2 Cubc Piper PA-18 SuperCubs, Lake Aircraft and Republic RC-3 Seabees. Also seaplanes that have commonly attended in past years have included Cessna 195s, Cessna 208 Caravans, De Havilland DHC-2 Beavers and turbine Beavers, De Havilland DHC-3 Otters Cessna O-1/L-19 Bird Dogs, Grumman G-21 Gooses Grumman G-44 Widgeons, Grumman HU-16 Albatrosses, and multiple unique ultra-light and homebuilt float-planes. Some examples of extremely rare seaplanes that have visited the Greenville fly-in include the Quest Kodiak (in 2010 and 2014), the German Dornier Seastar (in 2010), the only remaining airworthy Sikorsky S-39 (in 2009) and a vintage Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat which was featured at one of the Fly-Ins during the 1980s. In addition to the competitions and aviation vendors, there are usually organized flybys and demonstrations, the Maine Forestry Service usually puts one of their locally based UH-1 Huey helicopters through its paces in a water-bombing demonstration, before acquiring Hueys in the late 1980s they used a De Havilland Beaver in these demonstrations. The Canadians used to bring down a Canadair CL-215 Flying Boat for a similar performance from the 1980s to 1990s. The world's only Douglas DC-3 on floats that was operated locally by HBF inc. called Greenville Home from 1990 to 2004 when the floats were removed, the aircraft has not since been flown. The fly-in has since become much more well-known among the aviation community and celebrated its 40th anniversary in September 2013. The most recent event in 2014 proved an even better turnout. The next Greenville International Seaplane Fly-In is scheduled for September 11–14, 2015.Moosehead Historical Society & Museum
Moosehead Marine Museum
B-52 Crash on Elephant Mountain