city, York county, southwestern Maine, U.S., at the mouth of the Saco River opposite Biddeford. Founded with Biddeford in 1631 as a single plantation, it was the seat of Sir Ferdinando Gorges' government (1636-53) before passing to Massachusetts. It was called Saco until 1718 and Biddeford until it was separately incorporated (1762) as Pepperellboro Township. It developed a lumbering and seaport trade and in 1805 readopted its earlier name of Saco (probably Sawacatucke Indian), meaning "Flowing Out." Ironworks (1811) and cotton mills (1826) formed the basis for its early economy. Textiles declined after 1957, and planned diversified manufactures now include automotive parts, shoes, armaments, and electronic components. York Institute Museum displays fine and decorative arts from the Federal period (1780-1820). Inc. city, 1867. Pop. (1990) 15,181; (2000) 16,822.
Learn more about Saco with a free trial on Britannica.com.