Maine's Franco-American heritage dates back to early French explorers, Acadian settlers and French missionaries. Today, Franco-Americans are Maine's largest ethnic group.
Maine's Acadian heritage can be traced to 1604 and a scrap of rock and timber in the St. Croix River—right between what is now Maine and New Brunswick. Tiny St. Croix Island held France’s first settlement in l'Acadie—Acadia in English—a colony on America’s North Atlantic coast. The St. Croix Island settlement didn’t last, but Acadia grew until it included much of today’s Atlantic Canada.
War ended the colony and exile scattered the Acadians. In 1785, 16 Acadian families fled Fredericton, New Brunswick—pushed out, ironically, by American Tories (American Loyalists) who’d fled the American Revolution. The Acadian families traveled up the St. John River and resettled in St. David, in northern Aroostook County.
There are a number of Acadian heritage sites throughout the St. John Valley. At The Acadian Village in Van Buren, you'll find 16 reconstructed buildings dating from 1785 to the early 1900s.
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