Did you know one of America's longest running universities can be found right here in Maine?

In fact, this college is so old that it actually used to be in Massachusetts. That's right, the university is actually older than Maine by a wide margin.

Bowdoin College via Facebook
Bowdoin College via Facebook

Of course, I'm talking about the prestigious Bowdoin College.  Founded on June 24, 1794, Bowdoin has been a leader in Maine's higher learning industry for centuries. Found right in the heart of Brunswick on the Midcoast, Bowdoin has prided itself on being one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation.

You truly get a sense of the history when you step on Bowdoin's campus. It's absolutely beautiful, and everything you would want in an academic institution. The architecture is first class and hasn't been ruined in any way by modernization.

Bowdoin College via Facebook
Bowdoin College via Facebook

It also helps that its located in a gem of a town. Brunswick features a gorgeous downtown village that sits right between the Androscoggin River and Bowdoin's campus. It's loaded with shops, restaurants, cafes, food carts, green space, and all those little features that make college towns unique.

The school is the 32nd oldest in the nation, and the only Maine college in the 50 oldest list. It would be another 19 years before another college would be founded in Maine. That is when Colby College was launched in 1813. The first public university wouldn't open until 1863, when the University of Maine at Farmington was founded.

Bowdoin College via Facebook
Bowdoin College via Facebook

As mentioned, Bodowin was actually founded before Maine was a state. This means it was originally chartered by the Massachusetts State Legislature. However, once Maine was created, the governance was shifted over to the Maine Legislature.

Bowdoin has had its fair share of notable alumni over the years, including...

Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States
William Cohen, Former Senator and Secretary of Defense
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet
Reed Hastings, Co-founder of Netflix
Nathanial Hawthorne, Author

However, the most well-known around these parts is probably Joshua Chamberlain, the hero who commanded the 20th Maine during the Civil War. Chamberlain famously led his men on a charge that helped swing the momentum the North's way during the Battle of Gettysburg.

After the war, Chamberlain would come back and end up serving as the Governor of Maine from 1867 to 1871. He even had a beer named after him. It was quite a tasty one, too.

Bowdoin certainly has a place in Maine history, even if it dates back before the state existed. It's great to have such a nationally respected institution right here in our backyard.

Plus, it's mascot is a polar bear. How cool is that?

These Are The Top 25 High Schools in Maine - Did Yours Make The List?

The top 25 high schools in Maine

Gallery Credit: Jeff Parsons

LOOK: 50 Beloved Retail Chains That No Longer Exist

Stacker takes a look at 50 major retail chains that no longer exist and the reasons for their demise.  

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer