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The City of Saco is located at the mouth of the Saco River in southern Maine along the Atlantic Ocean, less than 20 minutes south of the Greater Portland Area, and less than two hours north of Boston, Massachusetts.  Home to a growing population of 19k+ residents, a revitalized and repurposed mill district, world-class education system, a picturesque downtown, a thriving economy, and many recreational opportunities, including fishing, hiking, biking, and kayaking, the City of Saco has plenty to offer residents, visitors, and businesses alike.


Saco Main Street supports our downtown’s economic and cultural vitality through concentrated efforts in the areas of design, organization, promotion and economic revitalization, while protecting the city’s unique historic character.


Downtown History was prepared in late 1996 for a nomination of a portion of Main Street, Saco, to the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a good introduction to the physical and social history of the downtown. The document "A History of Saco City Hall", is derived from from the 1950 Saco Annual Report Inaugural Address. Archaeological Studies are detailed in this article, prepared in 1987 for the Saco Comprehensive Plan by Dr. Emerson Baker. Be sure to check out the "Walking Tour of Main Street", also prepared by Thomas Hardiman. Saco has nine properties that are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places


Although early preservation interest and historic survey work began in the 1970s, the city's current historic preservation efforts date to 1990. It was at that time that a significant Main Street house was demolished, spurring Mayor Mark Johnston to challenge the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Council to pass amendments giving teeth to a previously adopted historic preservation ordinance. Pertinent provisions of the ordinance are described in a separate document.

As a result, a citizens' Commission reviews exterior renovations on 175 properties on Main, North, Elm, Cross and Vernon streets, and 25 additional Beach Street properties added to the district in 1995. Some 26 properties on Middle and School Streets were added in September 1997. The Historic Preservation Commission takes pride in providing an expeditious review of building alterations and in cooperating with district property owners.

The state and federal governments recognized these efforts in 1991 by awarding Certified Local Government status. This has resulted in funding of City Hall architectural planning, a lecture series, historic survey work, and preparation of this walking tour brochure.