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Old Town is a city in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 7,840 at the 2010 census. The city's developed area is chiefly located on the relatively large Marsh Island, though its boundaries extend beyond that. The island is surrounded and defined by the Penobscot River to the east, and the Stillwater River to the west.
Abenaki Indians called it Pannawambskek, meaning "where the ledges spread out," referring to rapids and drops in the river bed. The French established a Jesuit Catholic mission here in the 1680s. Nearly a century later after Great Britain took over French territory following its victory in the Seven Years' War, the area was settled by English pioneers in 1774. The name Old Town derives from "Indian Old Town", which was the English name for the largest Penobscot Indian village, now known as Indian Island.
Located within the city limits but on its own island in the Penobscot River, the reservation is the current and historical home of the Penobscot Nation.
In 1820, when the present city was set off from neighboring Orono (named for a Penobscot sachem), it was given the name Old Town because it contained the Penobscot village. Over time, the Penobscot village ceased to be called Old Town and the name migrated to the much newer American settlement across the river.
Old Town may be best known for Old Town Canoe Co., a major manufacturer of canoes and kayaks, which has been based in the city for more than 100 years.
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