Castine’s Town Common is considered one of the best surviving examples of a town common in New England. The idea of “common land” in a town was part of English law and was brought to North America by early English settlers.
In 1815, John Perkins sold the “common lot” to the town for $10.00. Over time improvements were made including leveling and fencing the lot, installing a bandstand, and planting elm trees, some of which still survive.
On Memorial Day 1887, the town dedicated its Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument, with this slightly altered Biblical inscription: “With A Great Sum Obtained We This Freedom,” celebrating the Union cause. After World War I, another simpler monument was dedicated to commemorate those soldiers.
Today, the Common is surrounded by a mix of public and private buildings, including the town’s first church, a library, a school, and private homes. The tannery, the church’s hearse house, the county court house, jail and stocks, and a Methodist church are no longer standing.