Town Commons Committee

Town Commons Committee


Brunswick, Maine

Granted by vote of the Pejepscot Proprietors
May 8, 1719


photo Monument “E”, Southwest corner, Peat Heath

Route 123, Harpswell Road

The TOWN COMMONS offers four seasons of enjoyment with trails accessible for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter and walking and hiking during other seasons.  A picnic area with tables is located in the Pine Grove at the main entrance on Harpswell Road.

Resolution of the  Maine State Legislature (pdf)

Town Commons Committee Members
Eben Baker
Laura Berube
Priscilla Davis
Pamela Griffin (Chair)
Eric Koehler
Fred Koerber
Peter Labbe
E Christoper Livesay
Blaine Moore
Rick Powers
Douglas Rice


By their vote of May 8, 1719, the Pejepscot Proprietors “Granted one thousand acres of land to ly in general comonage.” Unlike the village green or town common found in the center of many New England towns, the Brunswick Town Commons was a specific grant from the private lands of the Pejepscot Co., and not from town-owned common and undivided land.

Located near the geographic center of town, the Commons has influenced the growth of the Brunswick region. Upon the promise of two hundred acres of land from the Commons, Bowdoin College was established in Brunswick. In the late 1800’s the Town appropriated money to plant and cultivate blueberries on the Commons.

Granite monuments placed in 1891 by D. E. Campbell, Civil Engineer, marked all angle changes of the boundaries. Monument E marks the south western corner and is located in the Peat Heath. Five more of the historic granite markers are located within the boundaries of the Naval Air Station.

In 1905 the Town began a planting and management program for White Pines and Red Oaks. In 1930 Brunswick voted to establish an airport on the Commons and the first aircraft landed in June, 1934. Later known as the Brunswick Municipal Airport, this land was the nucleus of what is now the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Today the Commons provides year-round recreational opportunities for Brunswick citizens and serves as a living laboratory for local elementary school children.

The Town Commons Planning Committee oversees the general management of the Commons, but policy decisions are by vote of the Town Council as “successors in office” of Nathaniel Larrabee, Andrew Dunning, and William Stanwood, Selectmen at the time of the Pejepscot Proprietors’ grant.

Seasonal Highlights

SPRING: Blossoms of Red Maples bring spring color to the hardwood swamps. Shadbush, Viburnum, and Cherries add their bloom to the ever-changing landscape. Species of note include Rhodora, Labrador Tea, Ladies’ Slippers and Trillium.

SUMMER: Birds feast on ripe June Berries (Shadbush), Elderberries, and Blueberries. Many species of fern are in full leaf.

AUTUMN: The brilliant fall foliage of Red Maples, Viburnum, Shadbush, and Blueberries stands out in sharp contrast against Balsam Firs and other evergreens. American Chestnuts are in full fruit, attracting squirrels and chipmunks.

WINTER: Evergreens including Bearberry, Pitch Pine, White Pine and Balsam Fir provide food and shelter to winter wildlife. Occasional deer tracks mark the snow.

Natural Features

The woodland area described on this website is the southwestern section of the thousand acre “comonage” granted by the Pejepscot Proprietors in 1719. It is being allowed to return to a natural state. Trails offer a wealth of natural beauty for photographers as well as a place of enjoyment for those who simply want to walk.

Although part of Brunswick was heavily forested in 1719, much of the area had not yet recovered from the devastating forest fire of the late 1600’s. McKeen wrote that the first settlers gathered great pieces of Beech heartwood charred by that fire to use as firewood. The sandy plains were the site of frequent fires, both wild and set. They became known for large flights of Passenger Pigeons and for blueberries. The pigeons vanished years ago, but blueberries still grow on the sandy ridge of the Pitch Pine Barren. Once common along coastal plains, pine barrens are now one of the rarest natural communities in the State of Maine. White pine has started seeding into the barrens in an attempt at natural succession. Forty-one species of trees and shrubs have been listen for the Commons.