Shirley lies south of Mooshead Lake and was part of the Bingham purchase. The East branch of the Piscataquis River begins in the township north of this, within four miles of Moosehead Lake, and flows southward through Shirley. In the northwest part of Shirley the Shirley Bog flows south joining with the east branch in Blanchard. In the past these streams were used to float logs whch grew upon its bank.
This township was purchased by Messro Shaw and Jabez True in the winter of 1829. Soon families moved in, saw mills were built, a clapboard machine was in operation, a Post Office established, a grist mill and school houses were build.
In March of 1934 the town was incorporated as the Town of Shirley.
The legislature of 1848, the west half of Wilson was annexed to Shirley, this brought in a hotel, the Shirley House. During the time the lumber business was booming there was a railroad station Bangor and Pacific Railroad,near the Pond. The tracks have since been abandonded and moved to a different location.
The Town Takes up Knitting
During the depression Shirley had a population of 283. They obtained hand frame knitting machines, imported from Switzerland and formed a corporaton, "Shirley Industries". The machines were installed in homes and thirty families became engaged in the enterprise. Fifty dozen pair of socks a week were shipped during this time. Some workers knit the legs, other footed them to size, sewn by others, then pressed and packed. English and Scottish patterns were used with American wool. Sweaters were later added to the line. The Corportation was dissolved in the 1950's but individuals continued to knit for sales for some years.
Edgar Wilson Nye, known in the world of letters as "Bill Nye" was born in Shirley February 26, 1850 and died in Asheville, NC 1886. He moved away at an early age but a plaque was later erected at the site of his birth.
The Shirley Town Office, the Shirley Public Library and soon to be Shirley Historical Society are housed in the Old Shirley Elementary Building.
In 2009 the Town celebrated their 175th with a great big BANG... Everyone in Shirley and from other towns still talk about the great time they had.
Shirley Lumber Company
Shirley Methodist Church and Mitchell Hoouse
The Shirley Methodist Church was completed and dedicated in 1906. At Old Home Sunday service each August, many former residents still return to enjoy a reunion with friends and relatives and enjoy the dinner
A Town Hall was built and later the Town Office was added.
Over the years the bridge and dam were rebuilt, the train station moved and "The Honeymoon Hotel" and the "Do Drop Inn" have come and gone as well as several stores.
A Volunteer Fire Station has been built, a Honor Roll has been erected next to the Shirley Elementary Building and the Cemetery across the West Road from the Honor Roll has been enlarged.
For many years first and ninth grades were taught in the two room schoolhouses in the village. Due to lack of jobs as more families moved away, the number of schools dropped down to one. Children in Kindergarten through fifth grades were taught in the Shirley Elementary school and the sixth through twelfth grades were tuitioned to Greenville. The number of children attending the elementary school having dropped down to 2, the town voted to close the school in 2009 and tuition to Greenville.