Yarmouth, Maine History


The Royal River rushing by the mill en route to the First Falls

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Traces of human occupation in the Yarmouth area date to about 2,000 BC. During the years prior to the arrival of the Europeans, many Native American cultures existed in the area, largely because of the natural features of the coastal land. Rivers provided several resources, including food, fertile soil, power for the mills and the navigability between the inland areas and the ocean.
In 1640, a 39-year-old Englishman, George Felt who emigrated to Massachusetts in 1633, purchased 300 acres of land at Broad Cove from John Phillips (b. 1607), a Welshman, and in 1643 became one of the first European settlers in Yarmouth. He went back to his native Charlestown, Massachusetts, to sell his property there, before returning to Broad Cove around 1660. In 1670 he bought 2,000 more acres of land from Phillips. Felt was married to Elizabeth, with whom he had six children: Elizabeth (b. circa 1635), George (b. 1638, d. 1676), Mary (b. circa 1639), Moses (b. 1641), Aaron and another Moses (b. circa 1651). In 1684, Felt moved back to Massachusetts.
In 1646, Englishman William Royall (b. circa 1595, d. 1676) purchased a farm at what is now the upscale Lambert Point, next to Redding Creek, at the southern tip of Lambert Road. The Royal River has ever-since borne his name (minus the second L). This stream and its vicinity were called by the Indians "Westcustogo" — a name that, until the early 1990s, was preserved by an inn of the same name on Princes Point Road at its intersection with Lafayette Street. (The building remains but it is now occupied by another business.) Royall moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1675. John Cousins (b. circa 1596, d. 1682) had arrived a year or more earlier than Royall, occupying the neck of land between the branches of the stream which has since been called Cousins River, and owning the island now bearing his name.
By 1676, approximately sixty-five people lived in Westcustogo. Soon after, however, conflicts forged by King Philip's War caused them to abandon their homes and move south. George Felt Jr. was killed at Mussel Cove, Falmouth, in 1676, during the conflict.
Some settlers returned to their dwellings in 1679, and within twelve months the region became incorporated as North Yarmouth, the eighth town of the province of Maine.
In 1688, while the inhabitants on the eastern side of the river were building a garrison, they were attacked by Indians, and attempted a defense. They continued the contest until nightfall, when the Indians retired. It was not long before they appeared again, in such force that the thirty-six families of the settlement were forced to flee, abandoning their homes for a second time.
The unrest kept the area deserted for many years, but by 1715 settlers revisited their homes, by which point they found their fields and the sites of their habitations covered by a young growth of trees. In 1722, a "Committee for the Resettlement of North Yarmouth" was formed in Boston, Massachusetts.
Up until 1756, the Indians were again very troublesome:
In 1725, William (b. 1682) and Matthew Scales (b. 1685) were killed. Joseph Felt (b. circa 1677) also perished. His wife and children were taken into captivity. One of the captors remarked to Sarah, Felt's widow: "Husband much tough man! Shot good many times, no die! Take scalp off alive; then take knife and cut neck long 'round." Joseph Felt's daughter, Sarah, married Captain Peter Weare (b. 1695, d. 1743), who recovered the family. He drowned while crossing the river near his home. The captain's son, Joseph Weare (b. 1737, d. 1774), became a noted scout, pursuing the Native Americans at every opportunity.
In August 1746, a party of thirty-two Indians secreted themselves near the Lower Falls for the apparent purpose of surprising Weare's garrison, in the process killing Philip Greely (b. 1711), who came upon them. This was the last act of resistance by the indigenous people to occur within the limits of the town.
Once resettlement began, in 1727, the town's population began to grow rapidly. A proprietors' map was drawn up. It surveyed land divisions made with 103 original proprietors, each with a home lot of ten acres. If this lot was occupied and improved, the settler was permitted to apply for larger after-divisions.
The structural frame of the first meeting house was raised in 1729 near Westcustogo Hill on what is now Gilman Road, and nine years later the first school was built at the southwestern corner of the Princes Point Road intersection.
North Yarmouth held its first town meeting on May 14, 1733.
By 1764, 1,098 individuals lived in 154 houses. By 1810, the population was 3,295. During a time of peace, settlement began to relocate along the coast and inland.
The town's Main Street gradually became divided into the Upper Village (also known as the Corner) and Lower Falls, the split roughly located around the present-day, 1950s-built U.S. Route 1 overpass (Brickyard Hollow, as it was known). Among the new proprietors at the time were descendants of the Plymouth Pilgrims.
The Yarmouth Village Improvement Society has added wooden plaques to over 100 notable buildings in town. These include:

  • Cushing (b.1745, d. 1827) and Hannah (b. 1752, d. 1843) Prince House, 189 Greely Road — built 1785. This Federal-style farmhouse remained the home of several generations of the Levi and Olive Prince Blanchard family from 1832 to 1912.

  • Mitchell House, 333 Main Street — circa 1800. Another Federal-style building, with an unusual steeply-pitched hip roof, it was the home of two doctors — Ammi Mitchell (d. "suddenly" in 1824, aged 62) and Eleazer Burbank. Eleazer married Sophronia Burbank (née Ricker; b. 1805, d. 1896). Their son, Doctor Augustus Hannibal Burbank (b. 1823, d. 1895), was treasurer of Yarmouth Aqueduct Company. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1843 and studied medicine at Harvard University. He received his MD in 1847. He returned to Yarmouth and entered general practice. He married Elizabeth R. Banks, who died in 1869. Two years later, he married Alice Noyes Thompson (b. 1848, d. 1938).

  • Captain S.C. Blanchard House, 317 Main Street — 1855. One of the most elaborate and finely-detailed Italianate residences on the Maine coast, it was built by Sylvanus Blanchard (b. 1778, d. 1858), a highly successful shipbuilder. The design is by Charles A. Alexander, who also executed the Chestnut Street Methodist Church in Portland. It replaced a building that is pictured in the oldest image (a drawing) of a Yarmouth street scene, drawn between 1837 and 1855.

  • Captain Rueben Merrill House, 233 West Main Street — 1858. Thomas J. Sparrow, the first native Portland architect, designed this three-story Italian-style house. Merrill was a well-known sea captain, who went down with his ship off San Francisco in 1875. Few changes have been made in the building, because it did not leave the possession of the Merrill family between then and 2011.

Another notable building is Camp Hammond (1889–90), at 275 Main Street, whose construction method is significant in that the building consists of a single exterior wall of heavy planks over timbers, with no hidden spaces or hollow walls. This so-called mill-built construction was used largely for fire prevention. It was built by George W. Hammond. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York, designed the landscape for the exterior.
Yarmouth constituted the eastern part of North Yarmouth until 1849, when it was set off and incorporated as an independent town. The split occurred due to bickering between the inland, farming-based contingent and the coastal maritime-oriented community. Unable to resolve this difference, the two halves of the town separated into present-day Yarmouth and North Yarmouth.
By 1850, Yarmouth's population was 2,144, and very little changed over the hundred years that followed. Around 1847, the Old Ledge School was moved from Gilman Road to today's Route 88, at the foot of the hill where the West Side Trail crosses the road. It has since been moved again, and now stands on West Main Street.
18th- and 19th-century business relied heavily upon a variety of natural resources. Once lumber was cut and sent to market, the land was farmed. Tanneries were built near brooks; potteries and brickyards put to use the natural clay in the area; and mills flourished along the Royal River, providing services such as iron-forging and fulling cloth.
Maritime activities were important from the beginning of the third settlement. Almost three hundred vessels were launched by Yarmouth's shipyards in the century between 1790 and 1890. Lumber from inland areas was shipped out from the harbor. Vessels were being built by 1740, and by 1818 shipbuilding in the area was in full swing, though Yarmouth's industry peaked in the 1870s, and declined rapidly shortly thereafter. Four major shipyards built vessels during this period. On the western side of the river, Henry Hutchins (b. 1819, d. 1889) and Edward J. Stubbs (b. 1833, d. 1887) operated from 1851 to 1884. Sylvanus Blanchard (b. 1778, d. 1858) and his three sons, Perez (b. 1815, d. 1883), Paul, and Sylvanus Cushing (b. 1811, d. 1888), owned the Blanchard Brothers shipyard. Lyman Walker's (b. 1832, d. 1920) shipyard launched forty vessels of all sizes. (Walker lived in the brick building at 51 Pleasant Street.) On the eastern side of the river, Giles Loring (b. 1813, d. 1893) had a shipyard. It was here that the final large sailing vessel was built, in 1890. Today, there are just two boatyards, one on either side of Lower Falls Landing: Yarmouth Boatyard (established in 1948; located almost beneath the northbound lanes of Interstate 295) and Yankee Marina (established in 1964; whose entrance is near the crest of the Route 88 hill).
Several people pertinent to the shipbuilding industry lived on Pleasant Street, including Captain William Gooding (b. 1856, d. 1936) and his brother, Henry (b. 1845, d. 1883), who died after accidentally shooting himself during a hunting excursion. He was 37.
In 1887, a fire started in the dry grass south of Grand Trunk Station by a spark from a passing train. Fanned by a strong wind, it spread rapidly into the woods and up over the ledge. Two hundred acres were burned, and the fire was only stopped because it reached the waters of Broad Cove.
Electricity came to Yarmouth in 1893.
Another, more menacing fire occurred in April 1900 when the canning factory of Asa York caught from a spark blown from the stack of the Walker & Cleaves sawmill. A strong southerly breeze carried the sparks directly across the most thickly-settled part of town, causing small fires in various places so that over twenty buildings were burning concurrently.
In 1918, the Spanish flu hit town in two waves, resulting in 370 cases and 14 deaths.
In 1949, Yarmouth celebrated its centenary with a parade.
Rapid growth was experienced again around 1948 when Route 1 was constructed. Two years later, there were 2,699 inhabitants of the town. Interstate 295 was built through the harbor in 1961 (spanning part of the harbor known as Grantville across to the land between Route 88 and Old Shipyard Road), and the town grew about 40%, from 4,854 residents in 1970 to 8,300 thirty-five years later.
As of the early 20th century, Yarmouth is mostly residential in character, with commercial development scattered throughout the town, particularly along Route 1 and Main Street (State Route 115).

People and places

Lower Falls

Goffs hardware store, at the eastern end of Main Street (Route 115), closed in 2015 after 46 years in business

from Wikipedia by Dudesleeper CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

19th- and 20th-century business that existed on Main Street in Yarmouth's Lower Falls section included (roughly from east to west):

  • W.N. Richards & Co.; later Vining's delicatessen and, beside it to the west, George Soule's ice cream shop and pool hall (across from present-day Svetlana)

  • The current 90 Main Street: Coombs (later Barbour's hardware store; and Goffs hardware, 1969–2015)

  • Englishman James Parsons' grocery store

  • Manley E. Bishop's (b. 1875, d. 1964) grocery store stood to the east of the present-day Goffs building

  • Post office. Postmaster Lucy Groves was appointed in 1868, becoming the first woman named or elected to an official position in the town of Yarmouth. She was succeeded, in 1886, by Joseph Raynes (b. 1843, d. 1939). He remained in the position for 28 years, leaving the post in 1914 to Beecher True Lane (b. 1878, d. 1960)

  • Cornelius Shaw's Cash Market (1899). Shaw lived from 1864 to 1939

  • Thomas Chase Store (b. 1764, d. 1819); later Leon Doughty's (b. 1862, d. 1925) stove and hardware store, L.A. Doughty & Co. (1895–1929); now Snip 'N Clip Hair Designs, still with the windows that were installed in 1932). Doughty later moved across the street, into the building later occupied by L.R. Doherty's hardware store, Barbour's and Goffs, when his business expanded

  • William Freeman's hairdressing salon (located above Doughty's before its move)

  • Cyrus Curtis' Saturday Evening Post publishers

  • The millinery shop of Susan Kinghorn (b. 1883, d. 1956) (located at the eastern corner of Main and Portland Streets in the building now occupied by Rosemont Market); between 1942 and 1953 [Harold B.] Allen's Variety Store, then Daken's, Romie's, Lindahl's, Donatelli's Pizza, Denucci's Pizza (briefly) and Connor's

  • Elder Rufus York's (b. 1820, d. 1894) general store (located in the brick building now occupied by Runge's Oriental Rug store at the western corner of Main and Portland Streets; later William H. Rowe's, then Melville Merrill's (b. 1834, d. 1911), then Frank W. Bucknam's (b. 1869, d. 1942) Pharmacy (1894–1900). Bucknam was appointed as Maine's Commissioner of Pharmacy in 1906. He entered the drug business as an apprentice with Leone R. Cook. After running his own store for six years, he purchased a store in Skowhegan. His new business was destroyed by fire in 1904, but he was back in business in a temporary store within 36 hours. He eventually found a new home beneath the Oxford Hotel at 78 Water Street. This building too burned down, in 1908. The Yarmouth building became Roger Vaughan's Rexall Pharmacy from 1945 to 1963. Vaughan's original sign was restored to the Portland Street corner of the building in 2014 but was taken down the following year)

In 1874, the Lower Falls near the harbor was crowded with the homes of sea captains, merchants and shipbuilders.
In 1903, the post office established a route around town for the rural free delivery of mail. Hired was Joshua Adams Drinkwater (b. 1860, d. 1951) as the town's first letter carrier. Early in the morning he would leave Princes Point, pick up the mail at Lower Falls, and then deliver letters to the northern edge of town, including Sligo and Mountfort Roads. Around noon, he would pick up the afternoon sack for the town's western and coastal farms. Each day, as he passed his farm on Princes Point Road, he would change horses and eat lunch with his wife, Harriet (b. 1856, d. 1929). They had a daughter, Elizabeth (b. 1902, d. 1977). Speaking of horses, an ornate, circular horse trough resembling a water fountain existed at the intersection of Main and Portland Streets in the early 1900s; it now stands behind the Merrill Memorial Library.
The parsonage for the Universalist church was the building now occupied by Plumb-It, to the east of Snip 'N Clip. On the other side of the Universalist church, just to the east of where the Old Sloop once stood, is a house that was formerly the home of Edward J. Stubbs, one of Yarmouth's most prolific and successful shipbuilders.
A lithograph from 1851, depicting the area of Main Street serviced by York Street, shows the home of George Woods and, next door, the Yarmouth Institute, which he established as direct competition with North Yarmouth Academy. Although it attracted students from as far afield as Cuba, his institute lacked an endowment and closed after five years. Woods sold the building to Paul Blanchard in 1853. It was torn down in 1930. In 1859, while serving in his new role as chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, a lawsuit involving his dispute with NYA precipitated the split in Yarmouth's First Parish Church.
In an 1875 photograph of the northern end of Portland Street, with the Universalist church in the background, Englishman Captain Henry Newton's (b. 1816, d. 1873) house is visible on the right. Dr. William Parsons (b. circa 1777, d. 1811) and Gad Hitchcock (b. 1820, d. 1896) previously lived there. Leon Gorman, the grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, also lived here until his death in 2015. He was, at the time of his passing, the wealthiest person living in the state of Maine, having had a reported net worth of $860 million.
Halfway along this northern section of Portland Street is a three-story Federal-style building that was once a tavern, built by Colonel Seth Mitchell c. 1810. Early in the 20th century, Ralph Redfern (b 1877, d. 1942) used the property for a dairy that became known as Old Tavern Farm.

Brickyard Hollow

Brickyard Hollow, before it was filled in. Photo taken from where the Route 1 overpass is today, looking northwest

from Wikipedia by Unknown Public domain

The section of town between the Upper Village and Lower Falls was known as Brickyard Hollow, named for John Collins' brickyard, which was located across the street from the Masonic Hall . Collins donated land for the Casco Lodge, which was completed in 1878.
A muddy valley up until the beginning of the 20th century, the Hollow was eventually reclaimed as a civic center by laying down a two-foot layer of black ash, from Forest Paper Company, to level it out. After constructing two new schools, the Merrill Memorial Library and a war memorial, town officials also decided to rename the area Centervale in order to improve its image. The name did not last, however.
In 1879, the building at 261 Main Street (across from Hancock Lumber) was built for Sylvanus Cushing Blanchard. Later owners of the house include Joseph Hodsdon, proprietor of Hodsdon Shoe Company, and Doctor Fiore Agesilao Parisi (d. 1965).
In 1890, Yarmouth built a large new school building on the site of the present town hall and police station. Grades 5 to 8 were on the first floor; the high school occupied the upper level. A three-story high school was constructed next to this in 1900. When all of the high-school students were sent to North Yarmouth Academy in 1930, the building became another elementary school. In 1974, both buildings were demolished to make way for the current construction.
In 1904, the town's Civil War veterans sought permission to place a soldiers monument in front of the new schools. With funds lacking, it was put off until after World War I (during which 106 Yarmouth residents served), when the project was completed in tandem with a board of trade plan to erect a bandstand. The resulting octagon structure, in the Doric order, was adorned by a plaque to the veterans. The words "Memorial To Men of Yarmouth in War Service" appeared just below the roof line. The structure was inadequately maintained, however, and had to be removed when rotting boards resulted in injuries.
Although most of the land built on in the Hollow was for public buildings, one new home was constructed. In 1889, Dr. Herbert Merrill had a dental practice in the rear of his house, which has since been moved closer to the Rowe School. It is the building now occupied by InSight Eyecare on the InterMed campus.
In 1903, Joseph Edward Merrill donated the funds to build a new library. The architect was Alexander Longfellow, a nephew of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Also involved in the library's construction was John Coombs (b. 1830, d. 1913), father of George and Albert. Despite the occasional flood, town offices were eventually established in the library's basement. The flooding was partly caused by the blockage of Cleaves Brook (where today's police station is) — which formerly drained the whole center of town — when Brickyard Hollow was filled in.
Directly across the street from the library stood the Dumphy house and barn. These were auctioned off in 1921, creating more public space in Centervale.
In 1929, a new centralized post office was built to the east of the present-day Anderson-Mayberry American Legion Hall (named for servicemen Edgar Anderson and Edwin Mayberry, who died from the Spanish flu while based at Fort Devens). On the left side of this building was the Fidelity Trust Company. The bank failed early in the Great Depression of the 1930s. To the east of the post office stood the Knights of Pythias Hall. It became the Pastime Theatre in the 1920s, then Yarmouth Theatre between 1942 and 1956. Harriman's IGA Foodliner moved here in the late 20th century from its Main and West Elm Streets location. A KeyBank (formerly Casco Bank) and the parking lot for NYA's Priscilla Savage Middle School now stand in its place.
During the middle of the 20th century, in the plaza across Cleaves Street that formerly housed a 7-Eleven and, until 2017, Anthony's Dry Cleaners & Laundromat was the Dairy Joy ice-creamery, in front, and the Korner Kitchen (formerly the Snack Shack) behind it.
Across the street, at the intersection of Main and School Streets (in the building filled by People's United Bank), the post office occupied its final location before its move to Forest Falls Drive.
On January 2, 2009, twenty-six businesses located at 500 Route 1 were destroyed in an arson attack. The entire block, located near to the point at which Route 1 passes over Main Street, was pulled down shortly thereafter. Damage was estimated to be between $2 million and $4 million. Everett Stickney, of Exeter, New Hampshire, was convicted of starting the fire, along with another one in York, Maine, later that evening. On November 12, 2009, Stickney was sentenced to an eleven-and-a-half-year prison term and ordered to pay $3.7 million in compensation. The building was replaced in 2008 and several businesses have moved in.

Upper Village

Andy's Handy Store, at the corner of Main and East Elm Streets in the Upper Village, looking east from Latchstring Park in 2008. Known locally as Handy Andy's, it was the location of the first phone call between Yarmouth and Portland

from Wikipedia by Dudesleeper CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

In contrast to today, people who lived near "the Corner" of Elm and Main Streets in the 19th century would not think of shopping at the Lower Falls end of the latter thoroughfare. For over 150 years, much of the retail activity in the Upper Village occurred in the area of these old brick stores. Some of the oldest buildings on Main Street are those on its southern side, clustered between the Catholic and Baptist churches. The Daniel Wallis house at 330 Main Street, for example, was built around 1810. Around the middle of the 19th century, Captain Cushing Prince, Jr. moved here from his historic house on Greely Road.
Businesses and residences in the Upper Village and the area around the intersection of Main and Elm Street, which officially became known as Yarmouthville in 1882, included (roughly from west to east):

  • In the mid-to-late 1870s, diagonally across from where Handy Andy's now is, was Jeremiah Mitchell's "Temperance House" tavern. Mitchell died in 1869, aged about 31. The inn's location later became the site of Wilfred Dunn's (b. 1910, d. 1999) house, then, between 1959 and 1972, Norton's Texaco gas station. It is now Latchstring Park

  • After his death in 1811, the family of Dr. William Parsons moved into a colonial home, built around 1790 by its first occupant, Ebenezer ("Uncle Eben") Corliss (d. 1853), where the single-story building now stands at the corner of Main and West Elm Streets. The house was torn down in 1950. The existing building, although since widened, formerly housed a pool hall, then Harriman's IGA Foodliner

  • Sam York's grocery store (located to the east of the Parsons residence in the late 1800s)

  • E.R. Smith's grocery store, which became Turner's Television sales and service business

  • Adelaide Abbott's (b. 1876) millinery shop (located to the east of York's)

  • Post office (located to the east of Abbott's)

  • George H. Jefford's harness shop (located to the east of the post office)

  • Isaac Johnson's barbershop (located above Jefford's)

  • At the corner of Main and East Elm Streets stood a nail mill in 1807. (East Elm Street was known for a period as Mill Street, before today's was given its name.) In 1891, what was then Nathaniel Foster's Pottery was torn down, after about fifty years in existence, and a new building was constructed. Since then, more than thirty different business or owners have set up here, including, between 1906 and 1935, Arthur and Harry Storer's hardware store, Storer Bros.

  • John Ambrose Griffin's hardware store

  • Joel Brooks' (b. 1799, d. 1874) pottery (today's 40 East Elm Street, which was then named Gooches' Lane, was in business between 1851 and 1888)

  • Andy's Handy Store – named for original proprietor, Leland "Andy" Anderson (b. 1904, d. 1987). In 1935, Anderson combined the two wooden buildings of Griffin's and an adjacent grocery store (which sold produce "at Portland prices"). Now named "Handy's", it became occupied by OTTO Pizza in 2014.

  • William Marston's dry goods store (founded in 1859; closed circa 1968)

  • Located next door to Marston's was Leone R. Cook's apothecary, where Frank Bucknam was an apprentice

  • Harold "Snap" (b. 1892, d. 1971) (and his father, Clarence "Pop", b. 1869, d. 1960) Moxcey's barbershop was located at the corner of Main and Center Streets, across from the Baptist church Ernest C. Libby (b. 1879, d. 1946) was an employee with the Moxceys for thirteen years before opening his own barber shop on Center Street

  • To the right of the barbershop was Claude Kingsley's (b. 1889, d. 1974) candy distribution business

  • Larry's Barber Shop appeared on Center Street later

  • 20 Center Street is the home of Winslow Station, which served as the town's only fire station from 1953 until the mid-1990s. The building, which was constructed in 1930, is dedicated to Carl H. Winslow, who was the fire chief for forty years

  • Another barber shop, beside the Baptist church, was owned by Charlie Reinsborough (b. 1909, d. 1993)

  • Doctor Nat Barker and his wife, Catherine, lived on the corner of South Street in the 1930s and 1940s

  • Coombs Bros. (Albert, b. 1866, d. 1953, and George, b. 1856, d. 1923) candy and grocery store (located in the building between Railroad Crossing and South Street in a different construction than what is standing today). Bert set up the town's telephone service in 1895. In 1909, he established a Ford dealership on South Street, which was laid out in 1848 as part of Yarmouth's first modern housing development. Farm land was given over to house lots and sold to merchants and sea captains, such as Ansel Loring and Perez Blanchard. Frederick Gore (d. 1930), manager of the Forest Paper Company, lived at the corner of South and Cumberland Streets (in what is now 67 South Street) with his wife, Angie (d. 1939). Elmer Ring's (b. 1906, d. 1995) "washerette" later stood in the Coombs location, and it was he who changed the roofline and façade of the building (he also ran a hardware store, a heating and plumbing service, and a coal yard). His brother was Norman Ring (b. 1909, d. 2003)

  • Captain Eben York's (b. 1874, d. 1944) mansion at 326 Main Street (now occupied by the Parish Office of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church next door). Father Joseph Quinn held services in the barn until it burned in 1913

  • Where Peachy's Smoothie Cafe stands today at 301 Main Street was, from 1905 until 1913, Bernstein's Department Store. Robert Bernstein, born in Germany, saw his business burn down in July 1913

  • St. Lawrence House – a hotel built, where the Mobil gas station near Camp Hammond stands today, to take advantage of the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroads coming through town. Circa 1872, it was renamed the Baker House, after its owner Jeremiah Baker (b. ca 1791, d. 1859; he previously lived at what is now 35 East Main Street, overlooking his shipyard). It was the first of several name changes, including Royal River House, Westcustogo House and Yarmouth Hotel. The expected tourists never materialized, and the hotel burned down in 1928

  • J.O. Durgan's daguerreotype salon (located just to the east of the hotel; later Gad Hitchcock's coffin and casket showroom)

  • Alson Brawn's jewelry shop (at what was then 73 Main Street; formerly Yarmouth Market, now Hancock Lumber)
    An elm tree in front of Marston's store had a bulletin board nailed to it, upon which local residents posted, as early as 1817, public notices, circus posters and satirical comments about town affairs. Like almost all of Yarmouth's elms, it became afflicted by Dutch elm disease and was cut down in 1980.

A hospital, run by Mrs Gilbert, was on the site now occupied by Coastal Manor nursing home on West Main Street.
Prior to the Presumpscot River being bridged at Martin's Point in Falmouth Foreside, West Elm Street was a direct route to Portland and, hence, a key stagecoach stop and why it was also known as the "Portland road" (also, during a period, Chapel Street). A large barn was built beside Mitchell's tavern to house horses. The house of Richmond Cutter (d. 1857) still stands at the southern corner of Church and West Elm Streets.
Two doors further south from Cutter's house, a Methodist church was built on West Elm Street in 1898 to mark a revival of the religion. The church was disbanded thirty years later. The building, now painted yellow, has now been converted into a residence.
A Catholic church was built on Cumberland Street in 1879. The location was chosen out of fear that it would be vandalized if it was built on Main Street, for Yarmouth was a prevalently Protestant town at the time. The structure still stands as a private home, but turned sideways to the street.
A large wooden building located near the old brick schools at the intersection of West Main Street and Sligo Road served as the town hall between 1833 and 1910. It was here that the 1849 debates took place that led to Yarmouth's secession from North Yarmouth.
The school buildings mentioned above were in use throughout the 1980s. In 1847, teacher William Osgood had 74 students; as such, a second school was built beside the original soon after.
Further out on West Main Street is an imposing Italianate mansion that was built for Captain Reuben Merrill (b. 1818, d. 1875) in 1858. Merrill, who was married to Hannah Elizabeth Blanchard (b. 1822) and had four children, was killed while aboard his clipper Champlain when it ran aground near the Farallon Islands, San Francisco. After making sure his crew was safely aboard lifeboats, Merrill was hit by a piece of falling rigging, fell overboard and drowned. Neither Merrill's body nor the ship's haul of railroad iron was ever recovered. His eldest son and first mate, Osborne (b. 1849), witnessed his father's death and never went to sea again, bringing to an end the family's seafaring ways. In April 2011, his three-story, 15-room mansion at 233 West Main became the headquarters of Maine Preservation.

Broad Cove

The area surrounding Broad Cove, at Yarmouth's southern extremity, contains several historic homes amongst newer builds. Gilman Road, which was laid out in 1780 to give access to Larrabee's Landing, is named for the Reverend Tristram Gilman a New Hampshire native who was the fourth pastor of the nearby Old Ledge Church, serving for forty years from 1769.
The garrison number 60, built circa 1730 and directly opposite the Pioneer Cemetery, was the former home of the Ledge Church's first minister, Reverend Ammi Ruhamah Cutter (b. 1705, d. 1746). (Cutter was succeeded in the role by Nicholas Loring (b. 1711, d. 1763), who is buried in the Ledge cemetery.) Between 1940 and 2001, it was home to Charles and Anita Stickney.
Moving east, crossing Princes Point Road, eight historic homes exist in the stretch leading up to Cousins Island. The first house on the left (number 146) is formerly that of Captain Joseph Drinkwater (b. 1802, d. 1867) and his wife, Anna (b. 1805, d. 1892). Next, on the right, is 161. Further down, on the left at 210, opposite the entrance to the Fels-Groves Preserve, is a circa-1817 brick house once inhabited by Captain Reuben Prince (b. 1792, d. 1870) and his wife, Deborah Price (nee Drinkwater; b. 1794, d. 1878). Upon Reuben's death, the house passed to his son, Harlan, and remained in his family until his death in 1899. Arthur and Josie Fels bought the homestead in 1907.

Larrabee's Landing

Three homes exist around the Gilman and Larrabee's Landing Road triangle, including that of New Hampshire natives Nelson and Fannie Burbank (b. 1874, d. 1927), for whom the adjacent Burbank Lane is named. They owned and operated Burbank Farm from 1913 to 1936. The original part of their home, on Larrabee's Landing Road, dates from 1835 and is believed to have been built by William Bucknam. The house of Charles Bucknam (b. 1813, d. 1884) also stands here.
The next road, at the apex of the curve, is Royall Point Road. The only house originally on this road was the farmhouse at the current number 70. Nearby Callen Point was where Captain Walter Gendall was shot while taking supplies to his troops building a fort on the northern side of the river. There was a wharf on Callen Point which served the farm.
At the end of Barn Road, which is off Highland Farms Road, is Parker Point (formerly Mann's Point), named for Yarmouth's first inn owner, James Parker (b. 1689, d. 1732). This was home to one of the garrisons set up to protect against Native Indian attacks.

Princes Point

In the early 1880s, Princes Point began to develop as a summer colony. For several years it had become a favorite camping spot for the villagers and the inhabitants of the inland parts of the town who came here for clam bakes and picnics. The town road ended at the John Drinkwater barn, and here a large gate opened into the pasture which included the two points now known as Princes and Sunset Points. Captain John Cleaves fenced off a spot on his farm for the same purpose.
The first cottage was built in 1884. It was later known as Battery Point Cottage. Others soon built nearby, including Doctor Herbert A. Merrill, Leone R. Cook, George H. Jeffords, Thomas and Nellie Johnston and Wilfred W. Dunn (b. 1861, d. 1955). The first to take up a lot on the western promontory now known as Sunset Point was Samuel O. Carruthers.
In 1894 a wharf was built, and the steamer Madeline made two trips daily from Portland, stopping off at the Cumberland and Falmouth Foresides. The short-lived electric railroad running the same route forced the discontinuation of the service.
In 1899, a four-story hotel of about thirty rooms, named Gem of the Bay, was built on Princes Point by Cornelius Harris (b. 1846, d. 1920). It was destroyed by fire in October 1900 after two seasons in business.


  • White Cove

  • Broad Cove (from west of Sunset Point due east to Route 88)

National Register of Historic Places

Cousins Island Chapel

from Wikipedia by NewTestLeper79 CC BY-SA 4.0

Twelve properties in Yarmouth are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest dates from 1785; the "newest" (the Grand Trunk Railway Station) was built in 1906, replacing a structure built in 1848. They are ranked in chronological order below: