The presence of the Boston to Portland Turnpike drew several early residents to town in the late 1700s and early 1800s on what is now Portland Street between Colcord and Goodwin Streets.  Most had farms and stores on the gentle terrain known as the plain that comprises downtown South Berwick today. Documents show that residents referred to this part of town as “the Plain” till at least 1829.  Local militia training exercises were held on farm fields at the end of the harvest.

The south side of the street was dominated throughout the 1800s by the Raynes family farm at the bottom of the hill.  When that family departed, Victorian homes were built and Highland Avenue opened.

The Plain area is part of South Berwick Village Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. A coachman named Simeon P. Huntress (1844-1923) bought this property in 1877 along with land once part of the Raynes Farm, and moved with his wife and young family into what was then a fashionable new house.

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. It the home of Ruel B. Rideout (1874-1944), and his son, John Paul Rideout. Rideout’s Hardware Store was a downtown South Berwick landmark from about 1900 until 2007.This house on Portland Street may have been built in the early 19th century, and about 1900, Ruel Rideout seems to have remodeled it for his family.

    “You will find RIDEOUT’S New Store in Butler Building THE HANDIEST PLACE To Buy Lead and Oil Mixed Paints, Varnishes, Shellac, Floor Oil, Glass, Putty, Fence Wire, Sheathing Paper, Roofing, Rakes, Hoes, Shovels, Field, Garden or Flower Seeds, Nails, Bolts and Screws...Agent for HUB RANGES – “Acme Quality” Paints and Varnishes – PRATT’S ANIMAL AND POULTRY FOOD.”

    -- 1913 South Berwick Town Report

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Isaac Joy may have been a house joiner.

Burleigh House c. 1820This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by the first Congressman to serve this district in Washington, William Burleigh (1785-1827), the house was also the birthplace of his son, John Holmes Burleigh (1822-1879), who was elected to his father’s seat in Congress in 1872 and 1874. A sea captain who sailed the world in the 1840s, the younger Burleigh later owned the Newichawannock Woolen Mills. The house now contains Berwick Estates.

 

 
 
 
 

Currier House c. 1795

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Micajah Currier (1774-1818) was a postmaster, leading merchant and landowner who bequeathed the land that became Portland Street Cemetery. About 1795 he is thought to have built this small cape, where he lived alone or with a small household. During his life, though he wasn't married, the house was well furnished and had an adjoining stable with a chaise carriage.The shingled outbuilding behind this house is identified as a blacksmith shop on a map of 1927, and seems to have been built within that decade.

 

Otis Moulton House 1875This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Otis E. Moulton likely built this house for his family around the time of his marriage. He and his brother Ogden Moulton were builders of the Fogg Memorial tower at Berwick Academy in 1910.

Charles E. Hobbs House c. 1875This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Charles E. Hobbs had a grocery store in the 1870s on the present site of Emporium Framing in the Business Block. The Hobbs shop may have later become the Maddox grocery store. Hobbs married Anna B. Wilson of Kittery in August 1871, and this was their home.

Raynes House and Miss Raynes School c. 1810This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. In the mid-1800s, most of this side of Portland Street was open farmland, owned by the Raynes family living in this house. Francis Raynes made and sold shoes in a business on the site of the gas station near the corner. Daughter Olive Raynes (b. 1833) taught school for over 60 years, first from her father’s shoe business and then, from 1861 into the 20th century, from the Raynes farmhouse. Among her pupils were author Sarah Orne Jewett and her sisters, as well as generations of children from South Berwick’s leading families. The house now contains Century 21 real estate.

The Nason-Walker Estate 1798 & 1886This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1886, John Francis Walker (1844-1890), treasurer of South Berwick Savings Bank, built this fine Victorian house on the home site of Timothy Ferguson (c. 1788-1839), merchant and cotton mill founder, and later of Benjamin Nason (1788-1875). merchant and bank president. For 50 years, Nason operated a store in the Odd Fellows Block and the building that preceded it at the Corner. 

Willard House c. 1890This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Henry C. Willard (1842-1920) ran the Willard Dry Goods store for many years in the Business Block at the turn of the 20th century.

Jedidiah and Jerusha Jenkins House c. 1810This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1806, Jedediah Jenkins (1767-1852) married Jerusha Parks (1763-1855). Her brothers owned the Parks Store on Main Street.  The Jenkins property included a garden and a “very superior orchard,” as well as 5 3/4 acres of fields.  In the late 1800s, the house became the home of Nicholas Hanson, Jr., a druggist whose shop was in the Business Block, and his wife Lucy.

John F. Walker House c. 1870This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. This home was likely built by John Francis Walker (1844-1890), the treasurer of South Berwick Savings Bank on Main Street, before he moved to the Nason Walker Estate at 99 Portland Street in 1885.

Olive Raynes House c. 1875This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Though schoolteacher Olive Raynes is more closely associated with her family home and school at 96 Portland Street, it appears that in the last decades of her life she lived in a new house at this address, built for her by her brother Charles.

Dr. Nathaniel Low House 1786This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Dr. Nathanael Low (1740-1808), a physician and astronomer born in Massachusetts, published Low’s Almanac , one of the publications upon which citizens of the early United States depended for taverns and stagecoach schedules, Low's Almanac also provided astrological information, verse, lore, homilies, recipes, and jokes. During Low’s years in this house, when Portland Street was part of the Boston to Portland turnpike, stagecoaches driving right past his door followed schedules published in his almanacs.

Lewis B. Hanson House c. 1870This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Lewis B. Hanson was a blacksmith who worked from behind his home in the 1880s through the early 20th century. He also served as South Berwick’s town constable and tax collector. His son, Frank S. Hanson, also became a blacksmith.

Joseph Murphy House c. 1795This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. “Joseph Murphey … was a cabinet maker of much skill, to which many pieces of old furniture to be found in our houses can attest,” wrote Mary Rice Jewett, sister of author Sarah Orne Jewett, in a memoir about downtown South Berwick. In the early 1800s Murphy had a shop at the Corner on the site of what is now the Odd Fellows Block, and Mary believed he was the builder of that landmark brick building. An account book of Murphy's now owned by the Portsmouth Athenaeum shows evidence that he traded with leading citizens of the town, and may have built the Jewett Store in Central Square about 1816.  He also made a desk for the Jewetts that later appeared in a famous photograph of Sarah Orne Jewett, and is now on display at the Jewett House.  In 1818 Murphy bought this house and the next year married Sarah C. Low, daughter of Dr. Nathanael Low, the almanac writer who was another Portland Street resident. The house was previously owned by brothers Samuel and John Lord and their brother-in-law, William Allen Hayes.

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