Anchored by the site of South Berwick Railroad Station at the intersection of Main Street and Route 236 (that highway used to be the railroad until about 1950), this section of the village is today marked by two historic churches, the First Baptist and First Parish Federated, and two fine municipal structures built in the 1920s, South Berwick Central School and the former St. Michael’s Parochial School, now South Berwick Town Hall, as well a by the significant historic homes of several notable and interesting residents.

Most of this area is part of the South Berwick Village Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Frost Tavern / Paul Hotel, South Berwick, MaineThis building is part of South Berwick Historic District as well as the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. A tavern starting from 1817, the building was first built more than a decade earlier as a private home by Winthrop B. Norton. Sarah Bartlett Frost (1776-1848) opened the Frost Tavern here after her husband, George, was lost at sea in 1815.  Her inn welcomed President James Monroe in 1817 and General Lafayette in June 1825. After Mrs. Frost’s death, Josiah Paul expanded the facility and was innkeeper until his death in 1892. Paul also served for a time as deputy sheriff and coroner, and used the property to confine prisoners on occasion. In the early 1900s, the building Jewettbecame St. Rose’s School, St. Joseph’s Convent and later the Academy of St. Joseph. It is now the Bible Speaks Church.

Read a Jewett story, "The Stage Tavern"

Read a Jewett story about Gen. Lafayette's visit and a little girl.

Adams Store, South Berwick, MaineThis building is part of South Berwick Historic District as well as the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Possibly the remains of a larger store owned about 1800 by Winthrop B. Norton and shortened to make way for a road expansion in 1805, this shop in about 1815 came into the care of Sarah Norton (c. 1767-1862) and eventually also of her younger sister Elisabeth (c. 1775-1848). Known as Aunt Sally and Aunt Betsey, the two sold “small wares dear and necessary to every woman's heart,” according to author Sarah Orne Jewett’s sister Mary. As the Adams Store from the late 1840s through the 1870s, the shop welcomed children like the Jewett sisters, who shopped for “penny toys and picture books” under the patient eye of Mrs. Adams. Today it is the Abby Chic flower shop.

Tompson-Sanborn House c. 1780This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Perhaps one of several structures moved to make way for highway improvements about 1805 during the stagecoach days, the house was probably built decades earlier. In 1815 a new young preceptor of Berwick Academy, William Allen Tompson, moved here with his bride. He later sold the house to his sister, Sarah Hayman. Their father, Rev. John Tompson, had been pastor of the nearby First Parish Congregational Church just before it was built in 1826. Beginning in the 1840s, physician Dr. Caleb Sanborn raised his family in the home while practicing medicine during a long career in South Berwick. Sanborn descendants owned the house into the 20th century.

St. Michael's School, now South Berwick's Town HallThis building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. The first dwelling known to have been in this part of town seems to have been the farm of Thomas Butler, born in England about 1674.  He built a house at the site of South Berwick Town Hall about 300 years ago, and it was handed down through the Butler family. In the 1800s, Dr. Charles T. Trafton (1822-1888) had a home on the site. In 1926 St. Michael's School replaced it, and hundreds of South Berwick children were taught here by the Sisters of St. Joseph until 1968. The town of South Berwick bought the school for its town hall in 1974.

John G. Tompson HouseThis building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1825, John Goodwin Tompson founded one of South Berwick’s longest-running businesses, a book and stationery store. He lived in this house, and his bookstore, now gone, was several doors away to the south. The business seems to have operated continuously there until, in 1872, about the time of Tompson’s death, his son William took over and ran it into the 20th century.

South Berwick Central School

South Berwick’s many one-room schoolhouses scattered among 14 school districts were consolidated in 1925 into the South Berwick Central School. A 125-year old mansion called the Cushing House was removed to make way for the new facility. Today Central School serves over 500 South Berwick students from pre-kindergarten through grade 3. This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places.Jewett

 

First Parish Federated Church, 1826In 1929 the First Parish Congregational Church, originally organized in 1702 in the Old Fields part of South Berwick, merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in 1836 at Main and Park Streets, to form the First Parish Federated Church. The Methodist meetinghouse across Main Street was torn down.

The current meetinghouse was built in 1826 and was originally one story tall, with three front doors, and situated much closer to Main Street. It was remodeled in 1880, 1963 and 1993. It was the place of worship of the family of author Sarah Orne Jewett and many other South Berwick citizens. This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read a Jewett children's story about a mouse in a village church. Jewett

Atkinson House c. 1880This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. William P. Atkinson (c. 1836-1896), a physician originally from Eaton, NH (near Conway), had this house built when he lived briefly in South Berwick in the late 1800s. The carpenter may have been Henry G. Harvey, who lived nearby on Academy Street.

Hanson HomesteadThis building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Deed research indicates that in 1827 a “home newly built by Nicholas Hanson” was here. He seems to have moved here from Dover, NH, where he was born in 1789.  Sons Nicholas, Jr. (1831-1904) and Ebenezer S. Hanson (1825-1905) were likely born here, and later went into in the pharmacy business together. In 1852 the Great Falls & South Berwick Branch Railroad bought some of the land and built South Berwick Station very close to the house. Today the property is the home of Becker Antiques.

 

John B. Nealley House, c. 1830This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Thought to have been built by Charles Northend Cogswell (1797-1846), this house then became the home of Hon. John B. Nealley (1810-1886) and Mary Elizabeth Jewett Nealley (1817-1890). She was the daughter of Thomas D. Jewett, Sarah Orne Jewett’s great uncle and a partner in the Jewett shipping business. A native of New Hampshire, John B. Nealley opened a law practice here in 1845 and became an official of the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company cotton mill. He was South Berwick’s tax collector in the 1860s and 1870s, and served in the Maine state senate in 1870 and 1871.

 

Capt. Samuel W. Rice House, c. 1800This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. A map of 1856 indicates this was the home of packet captain Samuel W. Rice, who lived from 1784 to 1858.  He was probably Sarah Orne Jewett's great uncle, is buried in the Portland Street Cemetery near author's family, and would have helped inspire her many stories about sea captains.

 

Dr. Christopher P. Gerrish House

Dr. Christopher P. Gerrish

This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Dr. Christopher P. Gerrish (1829-1909) was the “town physician and surgeon.” His medical practice was listed in many South Berwick town reports and the Maine Directory from the 1870s until after the turn of the last century.

 

First Baptist Church, South Berwick, MaineThis building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. South Berwick was an important location in the history of Baptists in Maine, dating from the formation of a Baptist meetinghouse near Great Hill in 1767. This First Baptist Church on Main Street was built in 1823.  From about 1850 until 1950, the railroad ran past the church where Route 236 from Kittery meets Main Street today.

House c. 1880A map of c. 1865 shows a house owned by a Chadwick on this site, and that of 1872 shows one belonging to an M. Eastman. A memoir of the 1830s indicates the site had been the location of the home of Capt. William Lowell Foote, who in the early 1800s operated a woolen mill that preceded the cotton mill at the Landing. In 1833 this fulling mill moved to the Great Works site.

House c. 1870The site seems unoccupied on a c. 1865 map, but on a map of 1872 the house seems to have belonged to a J. Bailey.

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