Happy Valley postcard, early 1900sWe don’t know just how the name Happy Valley originated, but it was in common use in the late 1800s and early 1900s and, as far as we can tell, applied to the same area that later became known as Hog Point.  For the purposes of this virtual tour of South Berwick Village, we have applied the term Happy Valley to the uphill part of what is now often dubbed Lower Main Street, and used The Point for the rest of the street. Note that the street on the 1877 map excerpt below is labeled Salmon Falls Street.  Also called Salmon Street, it became part of Main Street in the 1910s.

In the early 20th century postcard at left, the Freewill Baptist Church on Main Street shows in the distance.  Trolley car tracks are in view at right.  This was part of the Portsmouth, Dover and York Street Railway (later the Atlantic Shore Line) that moved thousands of passengers around the area between 1903 and 1923. 

A hundred years ago a bustling community known as Happy Valley nestled by the Salmon Falls, downhill from the “Plains” of South Berwick and closely tied to Salmon Falls Mill Village in Rollinsford, NH.  Happy Valley was almost a world of its own.

Hundreds of people living and working at the Cummings Mill in South Berwick and at the Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company across the river in Rollinsford walked and shopped the main thoroughfare, known as Salmon Street.  French was commonly spoken, as most of the residents were of French Canadian origin.  With the town line at the Freewill Baptist Church in those days, much of the neighborhood actually lay in Berwick in the 1800s.  In the early 20th century Happy Valley joined South Berwick and became known as Hog Point or simply The Point. Happy Valley

When this area was first settled in the 1600s, the road called Salmon Street in the 1800s and now often called “lower Main Street” did not exist as we know it today.  Instead the road we call Butler Street led from the main part of South Berwick Village to the river, the Salmon Falls bridge to New Hampshire, and a cluster of early mills on the river.  Tiny Salmon Falls Brook, which still runs through the neighborhood, also supplied water power thanks to a mill pond whose remains can still be seen today.  Near the river, what’s now Spillane’s Hill Road then continued northward toward Great Falls, at what is now downtown Berwick.

After the construction of the Great Falls and South Berwick Branch Railroad about 1852, the neighborhood was reconfigured. (See 1872 map.) Butler Street was cut off at the tracks, and in 1853 a “new Townway” – Salmon Street or today’s Main Street – was built to connect South Berwick village with the bridge to New Hampshire.  Two railroad lines eventually crossed here, in addition to the conventional bridge.  One railroad bridge, serving Amtrak’s Downeaster as well as freight trains, remains today

In the early 1900s the Point also contained a trolley terminus, a newspaper called the South Berwick-Salmon Falls Independent, public and parochial schools, and many businesses including stores, bars and lunch counters, and even a recreational center called “The Palace,” featuring professional boxing.

The Old Berwick Historical Society is grateful to Albert Roberge for help identifying many historic properties below.  We also thank the South Berwick Historic District Commission for their analysis of local architecture.  We have examined maps, town reports and other archives at the Counting House Museum.  We would love more information, memorabilia and recollections about the Point and Happy Valley, and hope to expand this page.  Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This excerpt from a South Berwick map of 1877 by Ruger & Stoner has been used to show the position of historic buildings built between c. 1830 and the early 20th century.

(This page revised April 2010.)

c. 1900This house does not appear on a map of 1901 but had been built by 1927, and appears on a photograph taken during the time the building next door still contained a hardware store.

c. 1890Salmon St. view
This house appears on a map of 1901 as a dwelling, and a map of 1927 shows the addition of the bay window. 

c. 1880This house seems to appear on a map of 1901 as a dwelling.

c. 1880This may be the home of H. Harvey that appears on the town map of 1872.  It seems to appear on a map of 1901 as a dwelling.

c. 1840This house is one of the oldest in the neighborhood and was likely built long before Salmon/lower Main Street was the main road to the river.  On the map of 1872 it seems to be the home of M. C. Grant.  It seems to appear on a map of 1901 as a dwelling, along with the barn.

c. 1830One of the oldest dwellings in the neighborhood, it was likely built long before Salmon/lower Main Street was the main road to the river.  On the map of 1872 it seems to be the home of H. Sweat.  It seems to appear on a Sanborn map of 1901 as a dwelling.

Dr. Frank Flynn House 1870sAccording to a local resident, in the early 20th century the property was the home of Dr. Frank Flynn, a dentist.

Dr. Christopher P. Gerrish House c. 1870Dr. Christopher P. Gerrish (1829-1909), the town physician listed in town reports around the turn of the century, lived here according to the map of 1872.  It appears on a map of 1901 as a dwelling with bay windows.  According to a local resident, in the early 20th century it was the home of Walter Flynn, who ran a grocery store in a building to the right which appeared on maps of 1872, 1901 and 1927 but is now gone.

c. 1880This house does not appear on the maps of 1872 or 1901, but appears on the map of 1927 as a 2 ½ story dwelling with porch.

Parent Coal and Wood Co.From the 1920s, Paul Parent & Son Coal operated from this building, according to a local resident, with wood and coal sheds behind this house and back onto Butler Street in the rear.  The structure is not on a map of 1901 but appears on one from 1927, and the business is advertised in the town report of 1928. The company is also said to have owned a coal yard on what is now Berwick Road/236 near the railroad.

    Paul Parent & Son, Salmon Street, South Berwick, Maine – “GOOD COAL and WOOD OUR SPECIALTY – Also Trucking of all kinds done promptly at very low prices – PROMPT SERVICE”

    -- 1928 South Berwick town report
       

c. 1880This house does not appear on the map of 1872, but on the map of 1901 is one of a row of four 1 ½ story dwellings (with outhouses), all of which seem to remain.

c. 1880This house does not appear on the map of 1872, but on the map of 1901 is one of a row of four 1 ½ story dwellings (with outhouses), all of which seem to remain.

388 Main St.This house does not appear on the map of 1872, but on the map of 1901 is one of a row of four 1 ½ story dwellings (with outhouses), all of which seem to remain.
 

c. 1880This house does not appear on the map of 1872, but on the map of 1901 is one of a row of four 1 ½ story dwellings (with outhouses), all of which seem to remain.

c. 1880This house does not appear on the maps of 1872 or 1901, but appears on the map of 1927 as a 2 ½ story dwelling with porch.

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