Until about 1855, the main route to the mills at Salmon Falls from the center of South Berwick Village was via Butler Street, which then ran all the way down to the river and bridge to New Hampshire.  Built at the head of that street in the 1830s, the historic Freewill Baptist Church with its old town clock remains a Main Street landmark today.  For decades the clock kept time for residents headed for work at the nearby Cummings Shoe Factory on Norton Street.  At the center of this area and marked by number 2 in black on Main Street, this map also shows the Universalist Church built in 1876.  Closed in the early 20th century, the church then served as South Berwick Town Hall and the fire station until it burned down in 1951.  A post office, bank and parking lot were later built on the site.

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

John Noble Goodwin HouseThis house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Both this house and one across the street torn down in the 1990s seem to have belonged to the family of Congressman John Noble Goodwin (1824-1887), who practiced law from the building known as the Odd Fellows’ Block. He served as state attorney and prosecuted important arson and murder cases in South Berwick in the early 1850s. In 1854, he was elected to the Maine State Senate, and in 1860 to Congress. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln appointed him the first governor of the territory of Arizona.Jewett

Read a Jewett story with a character like Arizona Governor Goodwin.

John Perkins Lord HouseThis house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. John Perkins Lord, Esq. (1786-1877) was an author and lawyer. An 1805 graduate of Harvard, he was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature before Maine became a state. His first wife was the daughter of a Portsmouth, NH, privateer, Capt. Eliphalet Ladd, who had married Abigail Hill Ladd of old Berwick. As a young man, Lord worked as a merchant in Portsmouth and a customs officer in Boston. About 1830 he was involved in bringing the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company textile mill to South Berwick to process cotton grown on Southern plantations.

St. Michael's ChurchOld postcard from the Old Berwick Historical Society collection incorrectly identifies the church as St. Mary's During the late 1800s, Roman Catholic residents of South Berwick – many of them mill workers of Irish and French Canadian origin -- worshipped at St. Mary Church in the village of Salmon Falls, Rollinsford, NH. It was built in 1857 and for many years was administered under the Diocese of Portland, Maine. When the Diocese of Manchester, NH, was created in 1884, St. Mary came under the care of a new bishop. This church, St. Michael, was built for South Berwick two years later.

The church became South Berwick Public Library in 2012.

Read a Jewett story, "Between Mass and Vespers."

The Cummings Mill building todayThe David Cummings & Co. shoe factory of South Berwick was built about 1872, with a second division added in 1880. The company also constructed factory housing along Norton Street for its mill workers. During the late 1800s, this steam-powered factory employed 350 people making 5000 pairs of shoes per day. Later known as South Berwick Shoe, Inc., and then the Duchess Shoe Company, the mill employed generations of South Berwick residents until it closed its doors in the early 1990s. The town of South Berwick then purchased the property, and the Cummings Mill Apartments were developed. The Cummings Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

 JewettRead a Jewett story about a shoemaker in the age of factories


11 Norton StreetThe apartment house that today is 11 Norton Street was a boarding house in the 1910s and 1920s. Old timers say it was known as the Mango Inn.

Judge Oakes OfficeUntil the early 1880s when it was removed for a bank, this little South Berwick house stood on Main Street on a site that later became a bank, and then the office the P. Gagnon oil company. In a memoir, local resident Mary Jewett (1847-1930) said she was told that the house had originally belonged to the merchant and mill owner Thomas Leigh, who died in 1831 and had an office next door. The building may appear on a map of c. 1835, between the Leigh office and the Parks Store on Main Street, almost in front of the John Tompson House. By 1870 it was the law office of South Berwick Justice of the Peace Abner Oakes (1820-1899).

Downs House c. 1825This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. This house seems to be the home of J. F. Downs that appears on a South Berwick map of 1856, and later belonged to Frederick G. Downs (1806-1891), a mason. His son, Charles W. Downs, was killed in the Civil War in 1862. Another son, Walter H. Downs (1858-1920), graduated from Berwick Academy, Wesleyan University, and Columbia Law School. He became was a South Berwick judge, lawyer and postmaster. 

Old Laundry In 1901, a laundry stood opposite the Cummings Mill at the corner of Norton Street and Railroad Avenue, probably at the home that is 25 Norton today.

Rebecca O. Young House This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. “Becca” Young was a close lifelong friend of author Sarah Orne Jewett and her sisters. She was treasurer of the South Berwick Savings Bank that stood on Main Street at the later location of P. Gagnon & Co. Rebecca rode with Jewett on the author’s 1902 birthday carriage ride during which both were injured, and which ended Sarah’s writing career.

Thomas J. Goodwin House c. 1870 This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Thomas J. Goodwin (1833-1912) was a selectman and member of the South Berwick Board of Health in 1872 and 1892-93, according to the Maine Register business directory. In the 1897-8 directory his name was listed for the telephone company, N.E.T. & T. Co.

Norton - Whitehead HouseThis house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Norton Street likely gets its name from Charles Edward Norton (1795 - 1873), an early justice of the peace, town clerk, and church deacon. As a South Berwick map of 1856 shows, Norton Street and the Cummings Mill did not yet exist in Charles E. Norton's lifetime (the mill was built about 1872).

Whitehead button

The house was later owned by the Whitehead family, who had a tailor shop and clothing store for decades in Central Square in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

329 Main St., South BerwickThis house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. On the South Berwick map of c. 1856, the home at 329 Main is labeled M. & S. Wentworth. Wentworth descendants say Mary Ann Wentworth Hart (1820-1891) and her husband Simon Hart lived here, and that she was a Free Will Baptist preacher. She was the daughter of Capt. Samuel Wentworth (1792-1851), buried in the Free Will Baptist cemetery.

Mary Ann and Simon Hart’s son, Alfred W. Hart (1843-1863), died in the Civil War. The family grave in the Free Will cemetery is marked, "Our first born – He gave his life for his country.”

Cleary - Chaney HouseThis duplex house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. It seems to have been the home of a Clary or Cleary family, as seen on the map at right from the Atlas of York County, 1872. A daughter, Ellen, married a barber named William Doherty. The Chaneys were another family associated with the house. James H. Chaney may have been married to Adeline Chaney, who still lived here at the turn of the century with adult children working at the mills.

Butler StoreOld Rideout's Hardware

“"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

Freewill Baptist ChurchThe South Berwick Free Baptist Church, containing the 1890 South Berwick town clock, is part of the interesting story of Maine Baptists and the temperance movement of the early 1800s. This church is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. The clock is one of only five Stevens & Co. tower clocks surviving in Maine in their original locations. Near the meetinghouse, many South Berwick citizens of the 1800s and early 1900s have been laid to rest in the Freewill Baptist Cemetery. Stones include those of Capt. Elijah Ricker, who died at sea in 1826; Capt. Samuel Wentworth who died in 1851; War of 1812 veteran John Spencer; Spanish American War veteran John L. Sink; World War I veteran Chester Guy Earl; and Alfred W. Hart, who died in the Civil War.


Swasey Currier House

Frank E. Swasey (born mid-1860s, died 1936) owned this house on Nealley Street in South Berwick, Maine. He, was a "shoe operator" according to census records. Family members believe he was born in Massachusetts, but he seems to have grown up on Pond Road, South Berwick, in a house occupied by his father, Charles W. Swasey, shown on the Atlas of York County map of 1872.  Charles lived 1828-1910 and was associated with the railroad and South Berwick Junction.
Frank E. Swasey also operated Quamphegan Park, the amusement park associated with the trolley system that ran from 1903-1923. He may have even owned the park.

Nealley - Maddox HouseAndrew J. Nealley (1815-1887) built this South Berwick house and managed a store on Main Street at Quamphegan Landing. Joseph Maddox (1847-1916) bought both properties.

A Maddox descendant who later lived here, Willis Sally, was a decorated World War I veteran.

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