In Maine, we are not strangers to internationally named towns.  We have Sweden, New Sweden, Norway, Calais, Naples, Mexico, and more.  Actually, there are probably a dozen more lesser known towns named for other countries or foreign cities.

Oh yeah, we can't forget about China!

China, Maine is a quintessential rural New England town.  The town of about 4,000 people has a few streets of houses, a couple of restaurants, and a few decent-sized businesses (like Lakeview Lumber).  It is also home to China Lake, a favorite of boaters and fishermen.

Have you ever wondered how China got its name?  The answer could surprise you.

Honestly, I thought the town may have, at one point in time, had a large population of Chinese immigrants.  Back in the day, many cities (including Augusta) would have small communities of ex-pats from various countries.  Nope!  Not in this case.  Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth.

According to Wikipedia, China was named after a hymn.  Ya know, a church song.

Incorporated in June of 1818, at the time, the town was made up of a handful of even smaller communities - Harlem, Fairfax (now Albion), and Winslow.

A Massachusetts politician named Japheth Washburn wanted to call the town Bloomville, but people from the already established town of Bloomfield objected.  They were concerned that the similarity of names could cause confusion. Mr. Washburn settled on the name China, because it was the name of one of his favorite hymns. "China" had been written by a man from Northfield Massachusetts named Timothy Swan.  He had written the hymn in 1790 and it was published in Swan's "New England Harmony" in 1801.

So yes, the Town of China was named after a religious song.

You can hear the hymn "China" HERE

Do you know the story of how your town / city got its name?  Is it strange or unique?  If it is, let us know.

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