Yarmouth's Main Street, looking east, in June 2010
|Motto: Our Latchstring Always Out|
|Incorporated||August 8, 1849|
|• Total||22.94 sq mi (59.41 km2)|
|• Land||13.35 sq mi (34.58 km2)|
|• Water||9.59 sq mi (24.84 km2)|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||8,431|
|• Density||625.4/sq mi (241.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0582831|
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.94 square miles (59.41 km2), of which, 13.35 square miles (34.58 km2) of it is land and 9.59 square miles (24.84 km2) is water.
Yarmouth is nearly square in form, and is bisected by the Royal River. The Cousins River separates it from Freeport to the northeast. Freeport and Pownal bound it to the east, North Yarmouth to the north, Cumberland to the west and Casco Bay to the south. Also included as part of the town are Cousins Island, Lanes Island, Great and Little Moshier islands, and Littlejohn Island. One great attraction can be found on East Elm Street, Andy's Handy Store. This may be the most popular hangout spot for kids in Yarmouth.
As of the census of 2010, there were 8,349 people, 3,522 households, and 2,317 families residing in the town. The population density was 625.4 inhabitants per square mile (241.5 /km2). There were 3,819 housing units at an average density of 286.1 per square mile (110.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.
There were 3,522 households of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.87.
The median age in the town was 45.9 years. 22.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20% were from 25 to 44; 34.9% were from 45 to 64; and 16.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,360 people, 3,432 households, and 2,306 families residing in the town. The population density was 626.7 people per square mile (242.0/km²). There were 3,704 housing units at an average density of 277.7 per square mile (107.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.49% White, 0.37% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.
There were 3,432 households out of which 33% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the town the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $58,030, and the median income for a family was $73,234. Males had a median income of $48,456 versus $34,075 for females. The per capita income for the town was $34,317. About 4.0% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
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 are believed to have existed in the area.
When settlers arrived at Yarmouth's site around 1636, they found a fort already built. The fort had for some time been occupied by George Felt, who had in turn purchased it from John Phillips, a Welshman. In 1646, William Royall purchased a farm on the river which has ever-since borne his last 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.) John Cousins 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.
In 1674, the first sawmill was built at the Royal River's first waterfalls. There are three other falls in Yarmouth: the second (which is actually a dam) is just north of the Sparhawk Mill, on Bridge Street; the third, a paper mill (owned by The Forest Paper Company) whose remnants can still be seen, is within the bounds of Royal River Park; and the fourth is another dam, near the intersection of East Elm Street and Melissa Drive.
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. Around the same time, saw and gristmills at the first falls were rebuilt.
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. North Yarmouth held its first town meeting on May 14, 1733. The structural frame of the first meeting house was raised in 1729, and nine years later the first school was built.
Once resettlement began, the town's population began to grow rapidly. 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 and Lower Falls, the split roughly located around the present-day U.S. Route 1 overpass.
Among the new proprietors at the time were descendants of the Plymouth Pilgrims. Until after the year 1756 the Indians were again very troublesome. In 1725, William and Matthew Scales and Joseph Felt were killed, and the wife and children of the latter was carried into captivity. A grandson of Felt, Joseph Weare, 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, who came upon them. This was the last act of resistance by the indigenous people to occur within the limits of the town.
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.
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. 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. The final large sailing vessel was built in 1890. Almost three hundred vessels were launched by Yarmouth's shipyards in the century between 1790 and 1890.
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, and the town grew from 4,854 residents in 1970 to 8,300 thirty-five years later.
19th- and 20th-century business that existed on Main Street in Yarmouth's Lower Falls section included Coombs (now Goffs hardware store); Rufus York's general store (located in the brick building now occupied by Runge's Oriental Rug store at the western corner of Main and Portland Streets; then Vaughan's Pharmacy from 1945 to 1963, later William H. Rowe's, then Melville Merrill's, and finally Frank Bucknam's drugstores); James Parsons' grocery store (located next to the then-post office); Cornelius Shaw's Cash Market; Leon Doughty's stove and hardware store, L.A. Doughty & Co. (located across from Shaws' but eventually moved onto Shaws' side of the street, into the building occupied today by Goffs, when his business expanded); William Freeman's hairdressing salon (located above Doughty's); Cyrus Curtis' Saturday Evening Post publishers; and Susan Kinghorn's millinery shop (located at the eastern corner of Main and Portland Streets).
Businesses in the Upper Village and the area around the intersection of Main and Elm Street, which officially became known as Yarmouthville in 1882, included William Marston's dry goods store; L.R. Cook's drugstore; J.O. Durgan's daguerreotype salon (located just to the west of the Yarmouth Crossing on the northern side of the street; later Gad Hitchcock's coffin and casket showroom); Coombs Bros. (Albert and George) candy and grocery store (located at the corner of Main and South Streets); Elmer Ring's "washerette" (he also ran a hardware store, a heating and plumbing service, and a coal yard); Harold "Snap" Moxcey's barbershop; John A. Griffin's hardware store; Andy's Handy Store (original proprietor Leland "Andy" Anderson's business, which he set up in 1935, still exists today; formerly a nail mill, then Arthur and Harry Storer's hardware store, Storer Bros.); Sam York's grocery store; George Jefford's harness shop; Isaac Johnson's barbershop (located above Jefford's); Adelaide Abbott's millinery shop; Jeremiah Mitchell's tavern (a site now occupied by Latchstring Park); and Joel Brooks' pottery.
The section of town between the Upper Village and Lower Falls was known as Brickyard Hollow, named for John Collins' brickyard. A post office also existed, to the east of the present-day American Legion Hall.
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.
Modern-day Yarmouth is mostly residential in character, with commercial development scattered throughout the town, particularly along Route 1 and Main Street (State Route 115).
The town has four schools: two elementary (William H. Rowe School, built 1955, and rebuilt in 2003, Yarmouth Elementary School, built 1968 and named Yarmouth Intermediate School until 1992); one middle school (Harrison Middle School, built 1992); and one high school (Yarmouth High School, built 1961, and rebuilt in 2002), as well as North Yarmouth Academy (commonly abbreviated to "N.Y.A."), a private college preparatory school established in 1814. On October 17, 1998, the academy's ice arena was renamed the "Travis Roy Arena" in honor of Travis Roy, an alumnus of NYA, who was rendered a quadriplegic after an injury he sustained while playing for Boston University men's ice hockey team in 1995.
Yarmouth's two elementary schools are unique in that the William H. Rowe School caters to students in kindergarten and the first grade, while Yarmouth Elementary educates second through fourth graders. Yarmouth High School was named #297 in the 1,000 Best High Schools in the US by Newsweek in 2005 and #289 in 2006. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked Yarmouth High School second in Maine and 198th in the country.
Interstate 295 runs elevated through Yarmouth and has two exits (15 and 17) in the town. Route 1 and State Routes 88 and 115 also run through the town. The town also has two railroad junctions: Royal Junction (midway along Greely Road) and Yarmouth Junction (to the west of East Elm Street). The two railroads passing through the town are Guilford Rail System's Maine Central Railroad and the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (formerly Grand Trunk Railway). The Brunswick Branch of the Maine Central Railroad received a new lease of life in November 2012 when a northern extension of the Downeaster line was opened, carrying passengers three times a day to and from Brunswick's Maine Street Station via Freeport. On the southbound journeys, two trains terminate in Boston; one in Portland. The trains pass under two roads and over two crossings on their way through Yarmouth. They are (from south to north) West Main Street, Sligo Road, East Elm Street (just after Yarmouth Junction) and North Road. They pass through northbound at 6.20 AM, 11.55 AM and 7.45 PM (8:35 PM on weekends), and southbound at 7.30 AM, 6.20 PM and 8.55 PM (9:35 PM on weekends).
The Beth Condon Memorial Pathway is a pedestrian and bicycle path that originates on the western side of the Portland Street and Route 1 intersection and is named after a Yarmouth High School sophomore who was killed by a drunk driver in August 1993. It runs parallel to Route 1, connects to the Royal River Park, which is also home to a recreational path, and finishes at Forest Falls Drive.
There are seven churches in Yarmouth. Four of these are located on Main Street; they are (from east to west): the First Universalist, the First Parish Congregational, Sacred Heart Catholic, and the First Baptist. The other three are White Pine Community, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal, and Nazarene.
The First Parish Congregational was originally known as Ledge Church and was located facing Casco Bay at the intersection of Route 88 and Gilman Road. That structure, which was founded on November 18, 1730, was torn down in 1836, sixteen years after it was abandoned by the Parish. The second, larger church was built in 1818, at the western corner of Main and Bridge Streets, but it was abandoned in 1868 and torn down in 1879. The present church, designed by Portland architect George N. Harding, was built on the other side of Main Street in 1867 and dedicated the following year. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. A plaque commemorating the 275th anniversary of the church was laid on November 18, 2005. The church's steeple is illuminated every night, sometimes in honor of a member or a relative.
Yarmouth news is reported regularly in a number of different newspapers including the Portland Press Herald, The Notes, and The Falmouth Forecaster (Northern Edition).
Yarmouth Clam Festival
Established in 1965, the Yarmouth Clam Festival is an annual three-day event which takes place in the town during the third weekend in July, attracting around 120,000 people. The festival features a parade, food, carnival rides, crafts, a clam-shucking contest, a five-mile run, and a world-class bike race.
"Herbie" was an elm tree that stood by present-day East Main Street (Route 88), at its intersection with Yankee Drive, between 1793 and 2010. At 110 feet in height, it was, between 1997 and the date of its felling, the oldest and largest of its kind in New England. The tree, which partially stood in the front yard of a private residence, also had a 20-foot circumference and (until mid-2008) a 93-foot crown spread.
Frank Knight, Herbie's "warden", died in May 2012 at the age of 103. He looked after the tree for over fifty years.
- Charles Augustus Aiken, clergyman and academic
- F. Lee Bailey, famous lawyer in the OJ case
- Hanley Denning, founder of Safe Passage
- Leon Gorman, former president and current Chairman of the Board of L.L.Bean
- Pat LaMarche, Green Party politician
- James B. Longley, Jr., US congressmen
- Eric Weinrich, defenseman with the American Hockey League
Andy's Handy Store, at the corner of Main and East Elm Streets in the Upper Village. Known locally as Handy Andy's, it was the location of the first phone call between Yarmouth and Portland.
East Main Street (State Route 88) crossing the Royal River by Lower Falls' Grist Mill Park. Interstate 295 passes just out of view to the left, crossing the western edge of the town's harbor.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Yarmouth Historical Society, via the Yarmouth/North Yarmouth Community Guide, Portland Press Herald, Summer 2007
- Westcustogo Inn
- Images of America: Yarmouth, Hall, Alan M., Arcadia (2002)
- "Arsonist could get 20 years in prison" - Portland Press Herald, November 12, 2009
- "Arsonist to serve 11 years, pay $3.7M to businesses displaced in Yarmouth, York" - The Forecaster, November 12, 2009
- DeLorme.com - "Eartha, The World’s Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe"
- Travis Roy Arena at NYA.org
- U.S. News and World Report, Best High School Rankings, Yarmouth, Maine
- The Yarmouth Community Services website
- Our History - First Parish Congregational Church
- "Will elm trees make their way back?" - St. Joseph's College Magazine
- According to the plaque on its trunk.
- "Yarmouth braces for Herbie's demise" - Portland Press Herald, August 10, 2009
- The National Register of Big Trees: 2000-01
- "Frank Knight Dead: 'Herbie' The Elm Tree Caretaker Dies At 103" - Huffington Post, May 14, 2012
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- F. Lee Bailey Story
- According to a plaque inside the store
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yarmouth, Maine.|
- Town of Yarmouth official website
- Yarmouth news on MyMaineToday.com
- Yarmouth School District
- Yarmouth High School
- Harrison Middle School
- Yarmouth Elementary School
- William H. Rowe School
- Maine Genealogy: Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Maine