Dresden was first settled as Frankfort in 1752 by German and French Huguenot immigrants. A town in Lincoln County, it was incorporated as Pownalborough in 1760 as when Lincoln County was created in the Maine District of Massachusetts.
On June 25, 1794, the town was incorporated with its new name, Dresden, as chosen by Lincoln County Probate Judge Jonathan Bowman. Dresden is located on the eastern side of the Kennebec River. Historic sites include the Bridge Academy building and the Pownalborough Courthouse.
The 1760 Pownalborough Courthouse was the first seat of government east of the Kennebec River. The Pownalborough Courthouse has hosted future U.S. President John Adams, George Washington’s first Supreme Court nominee William Cushing, Robert Treat Paine and David Sewall. It was the setting for a trial noted in midwife Martha Ballard’s diary. Today, the courthouse is now used as a museum and is open to the public.
Bridge Academy came into existence due to the generosity of Llewellyn Lithgow and Samuel Bridge. Additional endowments from Edmund and Frederick Bridge enhance the potential for “A Free High School for the children of Dresden.” It served in that capacity until 1966, with over 430 students receiving their high school diplomas between 1892 and 1944. Due to the buildings intended purpose for education, Trustees of Bridge Academy set up the Bridge Academy Public Library on the site in 1984 to serve residents of Dresden.
The Earle R. Kelley Wildlife Management Area is a 500 acre park, 290 acres of which is marshland, maintained by the State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 1.5 miles from the intersection of Route 27 and Blinn Hill Road. Dresden Bog, part of the Management Area, is a water-accessible nature preserve.