Feb. 27, 1813: The commonwealth of Massachusetts, of which Maine is still a part, establishes the Maine Literary and Theological Institution in Waterville. It becomes Waterville College in 1821; Colby University, to honor major donor Gardiner Colby, in 1867; and finally Colby College in 1889.

In 1871 the school becomes the first all-male college or university in New England to accept female students.

The college’s Baptist origin influences its teaching for more than a century, but then its curriculum shifts to a secular focus. Also, because the college has little room for expansion in its downtown location, it begins moving during the Great Depression to the current Mayflower Hill campus on the western edge of Waterville.

In the 2010s, the college takes steps to strengthen its ties with downtown Waterville by launching a number of development projects, including construction of a boutique hotel and the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a retail and residential building.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

A woman walks past Miller Library at Colby College as the wind whips through the campus in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel


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