Recognized today as one of Maine's largest central communities, Waterville has grown immensely since its early beginnings. Due to its location on the west bank of the Kennebec River, which provided power for mills built between 1850 and 1950, Waterville thrived as a center for textile manufacturing and papermaking. Early industries also included lumbering, farming, and shipbuilding, and the community's location in the state made it a railroad center. In 1813, Baptists founded Colby College, considered one of the nation's most prestigious liberal arts colleges. It has transformed Waterville into a true college town focused on preserving its heritage through preservation and downtown revitalization efforts.