Danforth, Maine is a small town located in the extreme northwestern tip of Washington County. According to size, Danforth is one of the largest towns; its area being equal to that of two regular sized townships combined. The town got its name from Thomas Danforth who was Deputy Governor of Massachusetts from 1679-1686. The first permanent settler in Danforth was Parker Tewksbury of Cornville, Maine. It is known that he was settled on land in 1830, but may have been as early as 1829. Even though the area had been visited by lumbermen in previous years, there is no question that Tewksbury's log cabin, built on a site which later became known as the Morse farm, was the first permanent settlement in Danforth.
Danforth was incorporated as a town March 17, 1860 by an act of legislation. The census of 1860, the time of Danforth's incorporation, reported the population to be 280, and even after incorporation, the population only increased slightly with just an increase of 33 by the end of 1870.
On October 16, 1871 the first transcontinental railway came to Danforth and it ushered in an era of prosperity to the people of the area beginning in the late 1870s and lasting through the early 1900s. The residents of Danforth greeted dignitaries on board a Special Train on October 19, 1871, just three days after the official opening. A big crowd was on hand to greet President Ulysses S. Grant; Lord Lister, Governor General of Canada; Governor Sidney Perham of Maine; James G. Blain, speaker of the national House of Representatives, et. al.
Business continued to flourish in the early 1920s. The mills purchased by the Baskahegan Company continued to function with its bar mill and long lumber mill, and other new businesses sprang up. Bill McEwen operated a hardwood mill; a novelty mill, which used hardwood scraps from the hardwood mill , sprang up; and on March 13, 1920, the Danforth Wood Products Company, often referred to as the Wooden Head Company, had its start. Before the depression, communities and businesses all across the nation, such as those in Danforth, were prospering, but one basic problem was evident. Even with the steady increase in employee's wages, there was not enough money to purchase the goods that continued to flood the nation's stores. As goods began to accumulate, manufacturers had to slow down production and lay off employees. High tariffs made the sale of goods abroad almost nil and inventories began to stockpile.
Now with a depression all across the country, many markets for the goods produced in this area dried up. This caused more people to leave town to seek employment elsewhere. Now many of the once prosperous buildings were left vacant to become razed by the ravages of time. There was a giant exodus of individuals and whole families as they traveled to places like Hartford, CT and Dover Plains, NY and surrounding areas to seek employment leaving a void in population that has never been filled. In spite of the depression, some families who had established their homes and businesses in Danforth stayed on and continued to function. The logging business was what kept the town afloat throughout these times with the aid of inventions like the Lombard steam log hauler, invented by Alvin Orlando Lombard on February 21, 1856 in Springfield, ME. The log hauler looked like a locomotive with skis on the front and wheels incased in lags on the back. It enabled the lumberman to haul many loads of logs at one time.
The first school in the area was reported to have been held in one room of Parker Tewksbury's log cabin. Later a school was built out of logs on the site near the barn at Snow farm. The first schoolhouse in the village was a log house that stood on Maple Street somewhere near where the Baptist Church now sits.
Dr. Samuel D. Springer was a graduate of Danforth High School in the class of 1896. He was a teacher, then superintendent. After serving as superintendent for two years he left to attend Philadelphia Dental College. After returning to Danforth, he practiced dentistry, but again became superintendent for the years 1910-1911. His desire for better schools led him to urge the townspeople to erect a new school and later the Soldiers' Memorial Gymnasium.
For years train travel was the preferred means of transportation for long distances, but after the invention of the automobile, a gradual change in preference occurred as the automobile became the most popular mode of travel. In 1906 the first automobile in town, a one cylinder Knox, was owned by Amaziah P. Stinchfield. Danforth's annual report for the year ending March 4, 1912 listed the number of automobiles at three, an increase of two of a six year period. The number jumped to sixty-two in 1919 and continued to increase until automobiles surpassed the numbers listed for carriages.