Originally founded in 1904 by officials of the Waterville Democratic Party—Waterville mayor Cyrus Davis; future U.S. Senator Charles Fletcher Johnson; and future mayor L. Eugene Thayer, leavened by newspaper veteran Thomas F. Murphy—the Waterville Morning Sentinel, within a year, grew from a three-desk operation to requiring its own building, on Silver Street.
In 1911, a financially ailing Davis sold the paper to bond holders; ten years later, it was bought by Guy Gannett, who was in the process of building a newspaper, radio and television empire in Maine. His holdings included the Portland Press Herald and, after 1929, the Sentinel's in-county competitor, the Kennebec Journal.
Gannett's ownership also saw the paper become less politically biased.
Gannett and his heirs—no relation to the Virginia-based chain called Gannett Company—held the three Maine dailies until 1998, when they sold them to The Seattle Times Company, which rechristened the chain "Blethen Maine Newspapers". Frank Blethen, a descendant of Seattle Times founder Albert Blethen, a Maine native, later called the purchase "the largest and riskiest investment in our history" but a necessary move to keep the newspapers from becoming part of a corporate chain.
It was sold in 2009 to MaineToday Media.
In December 2009, the newspaper was criticized for firing one of its journalists who had made negative remarks about the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign.
The Morning Sentinel prices are: $1.00 daily, $2.00 Sunday.