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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 |
|• Density||625.4/sq mi (241.5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0582831|
Yarmouth is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, located twelve miles north of the state's largest city, Portland. The town was settled, while a district of Massachusetts, in 1636 and incorporated in 1849, 29 years after its admittance to the Union. Its population was 8,349 in the 2010 census. As of 2018's estimation of 8,518, this is about 0.6% of Maine's total population. Five islands (most notably Cousins Island and Littlejohn Island) are part of the town.
The town's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and its location on the banks of the Royal River, which empties into Casco Bay less than a mile away, means it is a prime location as a harbor. Ships were built in the harbor mainly between 1818 and the 1870s, at which point demand declined dramatically. Meanwhile, the Royal River's four waterfalls within Yarmouth, whose Main Street sits about 80 feet above sea level, resulted in the foundation of almost sixty mills between 1674 and 1931.
The annual Yarmouth Clam Festival attracts around 120,000 people (around fourteen times its population) over the course of the three-day weekend.
Today, Yarmouth is a popular dining destination, with (as of June 2019) fourteen sit-down restaurants. This equates to an average of just over one restaurant per square mile of land area.
While State Route 115 (whose eastern terminus is at the Marina Road and Lafayette Street intersection) is the town's Main Street, it extends as West Main Street into North Yarmouth (still part of SR 115) and as East Main Street (Route 88) from Lower Falls to Granite Street, two miles away.
Yarmouth has been designated a Tree City USA community every year since 1979 .
- 1 Geography
- 2 Demographics
- 3 History
- 3.1 People and places
- 3.1.1 Lower Falls
- 3.1.2 Brickyard Hollow
- 3.1.3 Upper Village
- 3.1.4 Broad Cove
- 3.1.5 Larrabee's Landing
- 3.1.6 Princes Point
- 3.1.7 Drinkwater Point
- 3.2 National Register of Historic Places
- 3.1 People and places
- 4 Economy
- 5 Education
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Recreation
- 8 Churches
- 9 Media
- 10 Yarmouth Clam Festival
- 11 "Herbie"
- 12 Crime
- 13 Notable people
- 14 Gallery
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
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) (58%) is land and 9.59 square miles (24.84 km2) (42%) is water.
Yarmouth is nearly square in form and is bisected by the Royal River (formerly Yarmouth River). The Cousins River separates it from Freeport to the north; North Yarmouth to the northeast; 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.
The Royal River appealed to settlers because its four waterfalls and 45-foot rise within a mile of navigable water each provided potential waterpower sites. In October 1674, the first sawmill, of Englishman Henry Sayward (b. 1627, d. 1679) and Colonel Bartholomew Gedney (b. 1640, d. 1697), was built on the eastern (East Main Street) side of the First Falls, by present-day Route 88. (It was abandoned two years later, however, due to conflicts with the Native Americans.) The Second Falls are just above the Sparhawk Mill, on Bridge Street; the Third Falls are within the bounds of Royal River Park; and the Fourth Falls, near the intersection of East Elm Street and Melissa Drive.
Since 1674, 57 mills (grain, lumber, pulp and cotton) and several factories (paper production, shoe- and brick-making and, in 1908, Yarmouth Electric Company) have stood on the banks of the river.
The First Falls
The Native Americans called the First Falls (or Lower Falls) Pumgustuk, which means head of tide. (The town's early firefighters were called Pumgustuk Fire Company. Their eponymous pumper was purchased in 1856 and retired in 1928.) In addition to the 1674 sawmill (which became Walter Gendall's Casco Mill in 1681), this was the site of the first grist mill — Lower Grist Mills — built in 1813 and whose foundations support the overlook of today's Grist Mill Park. The mill, which was in business for 36 years, ground wheat and corn into flour using power generated by the water turbines set in the fast-flowing river below. Between 1870 and 1885, it was the site of Ansel Loring's second mill, named Yarmouth Flour Mill. His first mill, up at the Fourth Falls, burned down in 1870.
In 1720, Massachusetts native Gilbert Winslow (b. 1704, d. 1777) erected a saw mill on Atwell's Creek (which became known colloquially as Folly Creek, due to this venture, which was expected to fail). The creek was "a considerable watercourse then"; now, though, it is nothing more than a tidal inlet. Winslow married another Massachusetts native, namely Patience Seabury (b. 1710, d. 1763), a daughter of Samuel Seabury, Jr. (b. 1666, d. 1763).
The first bridge carrying East Main Street was erected, above the falls, in 1748. It was rebuilt in 1800 "below the dam." By 1874, it was flanked by a grist mill, saw mill, a store and a carpenter's shop that took care of the needs of ships built in the harbor on the other side of the bridge. In 1911, Yarmouth Manufacturing Company's electric power plant was built on the site of James Craig's (b. 1740, d. 1797) sawmill. Later businesses on this side included a fishing, hunting and camping equipment store and Industrial Wood Products. In the present-day building, at 1 Main Street, are F.M. Beck, C.A. White & Associates and Maine Environmental Laboratory. The building was moved here in 1898 from Pleasant Street.
The Second Falls
A variety of mills have used power from the Second Falls. A cotton rag paper mill, run by Massachusetts natives William Hawes (b. 1772, d. 1842) and father-and-son due Henry and George Cox, operated on the falls (western) side of the bridge and the eastern side of the river from 1816 until 1821, at which point it was purchased by William Reed Stockbridge (b. 1782, d. 1850) and Calvin Stockbridge (b. 1784, d. 1833), brothers who successfully operated it for twenty years as W.R. & C. Stockbridge paper company.
In 1836 it was incorporated as Yarmouth Paper Manufacturing Company, but when advancements in machinery and processes arrived, competition became too difficult and the mill closed. On its site, Philip Kimball later operated a mahogany mill.
The first mill of note to stand where the current Sparhawk Mill looms large was North Yarmouth Manufacturing Company. It was founded in 1847 by Eleazer Burbank (b. 1793, d. 1867). The mill produced cotton yarn and cloth. Built in 1840, the brick-made mill replaced a wooden mill dating to 1817.
In 1855, the top half of the mill was rebuilt after a fire, but also to accommodate the Royal River Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1857. It was one of the leading industries in Yarmouth, spinning coarse and fine yarn and seamless grain bags, of which it produced up to 1,000 per day. The mill was under the management of brothers Francis Orville Libby (b. 1814, d. 1873) and Hosea J. Libby (b. 1831, d. 1894) until Barnabas Freeman (b. 1814, d. 1894) took over in 1869. Two years later, Freeman joined forces with Lorenzo L. Shaw (b. 1825, d. 1907) to start up a cotton mill. After Freeman retired in 1888, Shaw ran the mill on his own until his death in 1907, during which time the mill's tower was completed.
An iron bridge was in place around 1900, replacing an earlier 1846 structure.
In 1953, Yale Cordage, owned by Oliver Sherman Yale (b. 1911, d. 1988), occupied it. They remained tenants for the next 39 years, until 1992, when the decision was made to divide the mill's interior up into multiple business for extra revenue. The mill got its current name in the early 1950s, when Old Sparhawk Mills Company moved into the building from South Portland. The building is now owned by Sparhawk Group. While their headquarters are in the mill, they have regional offices in Faneuil Hall, Boston, and in New York City.
The mill's electric turbines still function, having been revitalized in 1986.
The Third Falls
The Third (or Baker) Falls were, by far, the most industrious of the four. The first buildings — Jeremiah Baker's grist mill, a carding mill and a nail mill — went up in 1805 between Bridge Street and East Elm Street on the eastern side of the river. On the western (or town) side of the river was a scythe and axe factory owned by Joseph C. Batchelder (b. 1812, d. 1889). Benjamin Gooch's (b. 1784, d. 1858) fulling mill followed in 1830, but it later moved to the Fourth Falls.
The Yarmouth Paper Company, which produced paper pulp, was built in 1864. The main access road to it was an extended version of today's Mill Street, off Main Street. The original building burned in 1870. Two years later, a soda pulp mill — named C.D. Brown Paper Company — was built, to which Samuel Dennis Warren (b. 1817, d. 1888) and George Warren Hammond (b. 1833, d. 1908) bought the rights in 1874 and renamed it the Forest Paper Company. Beginning with a single wooden building, the facility expanded to ten buildings covering as many acres, including a span over the river to Factory Island. Two bridges to it were also constructed. In 1909, it was the largest such mill in the world, employing 275 people. The mill used 15,000 cords of poplar each year, which meant mounds of logs were constantly in view beside Mill Street. Six railroad spurs extended from the tracks running behind Main Street to the Forest Paper Company, traversing today's Royal River Park. Rail cars delivered logs, coal, soda and chlorine to the mill and carried pulp away. The mill closed in 1923, when import restrictions on pulp were lifted and Swedish pulp became a cheaper option. The mill burned in 1931, leaving charred remains on the site until the development of the Royal River Park in the early 1980s. In 1971, the Marine Corps Reserve tore down the old factory, before a Navy demolition team used fourteen cases of dynamite to raze the remains. Most of the remaining debris was crushed and used as fill for the park but several remnants of the building are still visible today.
The Fourth Falls
Also known as Upper Falls or Gooch's Falls.
An iron refinery, the Forest Forge, occupied a spot nearby as early as 1753. After its demise, a large double sawmill was built on the dam by a company composed of Gooches, Pratts, Sargents, Cutters and Bakers, which was a prosperous establishment for many years.
Patches of snow still dotted the ground when 20-year-old Maren Madsen arrived by train at Yarmouth Junction in May 1892.
She had just returned from visiting family in her native Denmark. At the depot north of town, she set out walking along the tracks, suitcase in hand, her eyes locked on the smokestacks of the sprawling Forest Paper Co. mill complex on the Royal River.
Just above Fourth Falls, she crossed the narrow planks of the train trestle on her hands and knees, fearful of the deep water swirling below. She was eager to get back to work and see old friends.
"That's what I was aiming for," Maren Madsen Christensen wrote in her memoir, From Jutland’s Brown Heather to the Land Across the Sea. Christensen died in 1965, aged about 93. She is buried in Yarmouth's Riverside Cemetery alongside her husband, Christian (b. 1869, d. 1936), and two of their four children — son Einar (b. 1898, d. 1986) and Gloria E. (b. 1923, d. 2004). (Einar served in the United States Army; Gloria in the U.S. Navy.) Another, daughter Marie, is buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery in North Yarmouth alongside her husband, Ernest Hayes Allen. Another daughter, Thora (b. 1901, d. 1981), married Sidney Maurice Hamilton. They are at rest in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.
The Yarmouth History Center, run by Yarmouth Historical Society, is located beside the train trestle above, having moved from the third floor of the Merrill Memorial Library in 2013.
In 1892, a small steamer named the Hoyt ferried guests from the calm water above the falls to a mineral springs hotel in North Yarmouth that was owned by Giles Loring.
Here at the northern end of the Royal River Park once stood Charles H. Weston's machine shop and foundry, which, from 1876 to 1892, manufactured equipment for cotton and woolen mills, turbine water wheels, steam engines and a wide variety of machinery for customers all over the world. (In 1887, Weston was one of the incorporators of Pumgustuk Water Company. This became Yarmouth Water Company in 1895, and Yarmouth Water District in 1923.) The stone wall inside the History Center is original to the Water District building. A water tower with a tank capacity of a quarter of a million gallons was erected off West Elm Street. Its functionality was replaced in 1964 with a million-gallon standpipe.
Later, a large building housed, in turn, a tannery, three shoe-manufacturing companies and a poultry-processing plant. These business took advantage of the Fourth Falls' water supply directly behind the building to provide power.
Joseph Hodsdon (b. 1836, d. 1901) arrived in Yarmouth in 1880 and took over the Farris tannery. Hodsdon Brothers & Company (1880–1901) made ladies' and misses' boots and shoes. The Sportocasin Company occupied it between 1923 and 1927. Fifty employees made shoes with completely twistable soles to follow a golfer's foot in any direction. The company was later bought by the Morrison and Bennett Shoe Company and reorganized as the Abbott Company. That company manufactured the ski shoes used on Commander Richard E. Byrd's first Antarctic expedition.
Glick Brothers Poultry Processing Plant began in 1940 and ran for 25 years. In 1952, it was the largest employer in Yarmouth, having sixty people on its payroll.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Raymond H. Fogler Library
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% European American, 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 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 31-year-old Englishman, George Felt (b. c. 1609, d. 1693), who had emigrated to Charlestown, Massachusetts, eleven years earlier, purchased 300 acres of land at Broad Cove from John Phillips (b. 1607, d. c. 1667), a Welshman, and in 1643 became one of the first European settlers in Yarmouth. (His family in Bedfordshire, England, went by the family name Felce. He called himself George Felch, however, when he moved to America. He began to be known as George Felt in his later years.)
In 1630, Felt married 29-year-old Elizabeth Wilkinson (b. 1601, d. 1694), with whom he had six children: Elizabeth (b. circa 1635), George Jr. (b. 1638, d. 1676), Mary (b. 1639, d. 1725), Moses I (b. 1641, d. 1650), Aaron and Moses II (b. 1651, d. 1733). Around 1649, the family moved back to Malden, Massachusetts, just as it was being incorporated into a city. They returned to Casco Bay in 1667, shortly after which Felt bought 2,000 more acres of land from Phillips. In 1684, Felt moved back to Massachusetts. He died in Malden, aged about 84, with Elizabeth surviving him by only on year. The couple had become the first citizens of Malden to receive town aid, such was their fall from wealth during the latter stages of their time in Maine.
Englishman William Royall (b. circa 1595, d. 1676) emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, in July 1629, aboard the Lyon's Whelp. He was a servant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Company, and after serving his seven years, he was provided with a land grant in the Casco Bay area of Maine. In 1636, he purchased a farm at what is now the upscale Lambert Point, next to Redding Creek, at the southern tip of Lambert Road, where he lived with his wife, County Durham native Phoebe Green (b. 1620, d. 1678). They had thirteen children together between 1639 and 1657, the first being son William Jr. (b. 1639, d. 1724).
The Royal River has ever-since borne Royall Sr.'s name, minus the second L, though two streets off Gilman Road — Royall Meadow Road and Royall Point Road — carry the original spelling. 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's family moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1675, a year before William Sr.'s death. (He was able to see Isaac, son of William Jr. and one of his four grandchildren, born in 1672 before they moved south.) Following in his grandfather's footsteps, some eighty years after the fact, Isaac's brother, Sam Royall (b. 1696, d. 1784), moved to Yarmouth sometime after 1724. He died in the town in 1784. His son, Elijah (b. 1724, d. 1790), followed six years later.
John Cousins (b. circa 1596, d. 1682), a native of Wiltshire, England, had arrived a year or more earlier than Royall, with his wife, Mary (b. c. 1598), occupying the neck of land between the branches of the stream which has since been called Cousins River, and owning the island now also bearing his name. Their son, Isaac (b. c. 1613, d. 1702), emigrated from Wiltshire in 1647, aged about 34, arriving with his new wife, Elizabeth (b. c. 1625, d. 1656). A year after Elizabeth's death at the age of around 31, Isaac remarried, to Ann Hunt. Ann died in 1660, aged about 45, after only three years of marriage. Isaac married a third time, seventeen years later, to Martha Priest.
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. John Cousins was injured and went to York, Maine, to receive treatment. He died in Cider Hill, York County, in 1682, aged 86. He deeded his real estate in Casco Bay to his wife.
Also in 1676, Mussel Cove resident George Felt Jr. was killed on Peaks Island during the conflicts. Felt's wife of fourteen years, Londoner Phillippa Andrews, moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where she married twice (to Samuel Platt in 1682 and Thomas Nelson in 1690) before her death in 1709. She had emigrated to America with her parents in 1635.
In 1684, a developer named Walter Gendall claimed to own all of Felt's two thousand acres in Casco Bay. He had purchased one hundred acres from him a few years earlier.
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. The mills at the First Falls were rebuilt first.
In 1725, Massachusetts natives William (b. 1682, d. 1725) and Matthew Scales (b. 1685, d. 1725) were killed at the hands of the Indians. William's wife and daughter (b. 1708, d. 1782), both named Susannah, survived. His daughter married James Buxton (b. 1698, d. 1790) the same year. They are both buried in the Ledge Cemetery.
Joseph Felt (b. circa 1677), son of Moses Felt II, also perished. His wife, Sarah (Mills) (b. 1676, d. 1768), and children were taken into captivity for five years. One of the captors remarked to 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 and George Felt's great-granddaughter, Sarah (b. 1701, d. 1768), married in 1720 Captain Peter Weare (b. 1695, d. 1743), who recovered the family in some woods near Quebec. He later drowned while crossing the river near his home. The captain's son and Joseph Felt's brother-in-law, Joseph Weare (b. 1737, d. after 1774), became a noted scout, pursuing the Native Americans at every opportunity until his death during a trip to Boston sometime after 1774. His widow, Mary Noyes (b. 1729, d. c. 1821), remarried, to Humphrey Merrill (b. 1718, d. 1815) of Falmouth.
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 northwestern corner of the Princes Point Road intersection.
North Yarmouth held its first town meeting on May 14, 1733.
Up until 1756, the Indians were again very troublesome. 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 35-year-old Philip Greely (b. 1711, d. 1746), whose barking dog blew their cover. His wife was Hannah (b. 1722, d. 1779). Their son, Captain Jonathan Greeley, died in an engagement with a British frigate off Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1781. He was 39. Hannah remarried, to Jonathan Underwood (b. 1716, d. 1794).
Joseph Burnell (b. c. 1716, d. 1751) was the only inhabitant of the town to be killed at the hands of the Indians in 1751. He had been on horseback near the Presumpscot River falls when he was ambushed and shot. He was found scalped, with his steed lying nearby, having been shot four times. He left behind a wife and 14-year-old daughter, both named Sarah.
In 1756, Indians attacked the Means family, who lived at Flying Point. The family consisted of Thomas (b. 1722), his wife Alice (b. 1728, d. 1807), daughters Alice (b. 1752, d. 1822) and Jane, an infant son, Robert, and Molly Finney, sister of the patriarch and aged about sixteen. The family was dragged out of their home. Thomas was shot and scalped. Mother and baby ran back into the house and barricaded the door. One of the attackers shot through a hole in the wall, killing the infant and puncturing his mother's breast. John Martin, who had been sleeping in another room, fired at them, causing them to flee. They took with them Molly, whom they made follow them through the woods to Canada. Upon her arrival in Quebec, she was sold as a slave. A few months later, Captain William McLellan, of Falmouth, was in Quebec in charge of a group of prisoners for exchange. He had known Molly before her capture and secretly arranged for her escape. He came below her window and threw her a rope which she slid down. McLellan brought her back to Falmouth on his vessel. They married shortly afterwards. Alice remarried, to Colonel George Rogers (b. 1729, d. 1780). Thomas is interred in Freeport's First Parish Cemetery, alongside his son. His wife is buried with her second husband in Flying Point Cemetery. His daughter Alice is buried at Old Harpswell Common Burying Ground, alongside her husband, Clement Skolfield (b. 1740, d. 1796), whom she married in 1773.
The Means massacre was the last act of resistance by the indigenous people to occur within the limits of the town.
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.
- 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 1823, aged about 61) 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, receiving his MD in 1847. He returned to Yarmouth and entered general practice. He married Elizabeth Richardson Banks, who died in 1869. (Their infant daughter died in 1873.) Two years later, he married Alice Noyes Thompson (b. 1848, d. 1938). Three years after Augustus died, Alice, in turn, remarried, to Charles Torrey. He died in 1918 while they were living in Plymouth, Massachusetts, after which Alice returned to Yarmouth, where she died twenty years later, aged about 90. She is buried alongside her first husband in Riverside Cemetery. Augustus was an early president of North Yarmouth Academy, while Charles Chesley Springer was a principal; their friendship resulted in the two families sharing a plot at Riverside Cemetery
- 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 Warren Hammond. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York, designed the landscape for the exterior.
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. A 1975 replica now stands just beyond the brick schools on West Main Street.
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.
In 1849 there were nine districts in Yarmouth, designated by numbers: Number One: (Cousins) Island; Number Two: Ledge; Number Three: (Lower) Falls; Number Four: Corner; Number Five: (Princes) Point; Number Six: Greely Road; Number Seven: Pratt; Number Eight: Sweetser; and Number Nine: East (Main). By 1874, however, efforts were made to abolish this setup due its being seen as "unfair" in terms of fund distribution.
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. 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 on Union Wharf. Lyman Fessenden Walker's 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 (formerly Union Wharf; 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.
Yarmouth's "town system" went into effect in April 1889. Three of the former districts were discontinued because they were small and had dilapidated buildings. These were Princes Point, Greely Road and the Sweetser district – the last of which was on the Sodom Road (now Granite Street) and the Freeport line.
Electricity came to Yarmouth in 1893.
Another, more menacing fire occurred in April 1900 when the corn-canning factory of Asa York (b. 1840, d. 1913) 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 1923, town historian William H. Rowe announced that a history of Yarmouth was in the works. The project took thirteen more years to complete, but it was "so thorough that it is still in print". Rowe died in 1955, aged about 73.
In 1949, Yarmouth celebrated its centenary with a parade.
Rapid growth was experienced again around 1948 when Route 1 was put through the town. 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
19th- and 20th-century homes and business that existed on Main Street in Yarmouth's Lower Falls (also Falls Village or The Falls) section included (roughly from east to west):
- Nicholas Grant built the Greek Revival house at 37 Main Street, on the hill down to the harbor, around 1844
- Henry Rowe (b. 1812, d. 1870) was the architect of the pink Gothic Revival house at 49 Main Street. Rowe also designed The Gothic House in Portland
- 50 Main Street, the old Hose No. 2 at the Main Street and Marina Road split, was built for the fire department around 1889
- Back on the northern side of the street, number 57 was built around 1813
- Next door, number 63, was built around 1849
- 76 Main Street, set back from the road, adjacent to Torrey Court, was built in 1792. The home has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and sits on 1.6 acres
- 73 Main Street was once the home of Jacob G. Loring (b. 1800, d. 1856)
- In the building at 82-84 Main Street was W.N. Richards & Co. (owned by William Richards (b. 1819, d. 1892)); in the 1960s Vining's delicatessen and, beside it to the west, George Soule's ice cream shop and pool hall
- Across the street, in the brick building at 85 Main Street, is Svetlana. The building was erected around 1848
- 90 Main Street was Barbour's hardware store; later Goffs hardware (1969–2015)
- Manley E. Bishop's (b. 1875, d. 1964) grocery store stood to the east of the present-day Goffs building
- Englishman James Parsons' grocery store, "a two-story building standing on the lot adjoining that where stood for so many years the little old post office". It was here that "dignified citizens like Doctor Bates, L.L. Shaw and Barnabas Freeman often assembled for an evening's chat" Parsons arrived in town around 1860 and married a very wealthy local woman
- Post office. The first postmaster was Payne Elwell (b. 1744, d. 1820) in 1793. (He lived in the building that is now 162 Main Street, which stands on the former site of the Knights of Pythias Hall.) He was succeeded in 1803 by Samuel P. Russell, David Drinkwater in 1804, John Hale in 1810, Daniel Mitchell in 1816, James C. Hill (b. 1792, d. 1864) in 1834, Jacob G. Loring (b. 1800, d. 1856) in 1842 and Reuben Cutter (b. 1800, d. 1864) in 1845. When the town split occurred, the office name was changed in 1852 to Yarmouth from North Yarmouth. Reuben Cutter resumed the role, and was followed by Otis Briggs Pratt (b. 1821, d. 1866) in 1861 and Nicholas Drinkwater in 1866. Lucy V. Groves was appointed in 1868, becoming the first woman named or elected to an official position in the town of Yarmouth. Lucy Q. Cutter (b. 1844, d. 1904) succeeded her in 1887, Melville C. Merrill in 1898, Frank Howard Drinkwater (b. 1877, d. 1976) in 1911, Frank O. Wellcome (b. 1862, d. 1943) in 1914 and Ernest C. Libby in 1936.
- Cornelius Shaw's Cash Market (1899).
- Today's 91 Main Street: Captain Thomas Chase Store, built around 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). Freeman lived on Lafayette Street. He had at least two children: William and Jennie
- 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 Hutchinson 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). York ran the general store with his wife, Zoa (b. 1822, d. 1907)
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). Elizabeth married Alfred Drinkwater (b. 1881, d. 1931), who died just before their daughter, Alfreda, was born. 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 brick building at 89 Main Street, now occupied by Plumb-It et al, to the east of Snip 'N Clip. It was built around 1845 by Bradbury True, whose sons owned the neighboring houses. On the other side of the Universalist church, just to the east of where Old Sloop (later known as Union Hall) once stood, is a house that was formerly the home of Edward J. Stubbs, one of Yarmouth's most prolific and successful shipbuilders.
Lyman Walker (b. 1814, d. 1906) and his son, Lyman Fessenden Walker (b. 1836, d. 1920), owned a general wood and coal business in the lower village.
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 (number 34) 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 (b. 1934, d. 2015), the grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, also lived here until his death at the age of 80. 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, at number 115, is a three-story Federal-style building that was once a tavern, built, around 1810, by Colonel Seth Mitchell (b. 1770, d. 1821). Early in the 20th century, Ralph Redfern (b 1877, d. 1942) used the property for a dairy that became known as Old Tavern Farm. Just north of this, at number 61 (near the intersection with High Street), is the 1833 Federal-style cape that was owned by Davis Moxcey (b. 1806, d. 1870), a local shipwright in the early years of shipbuilding.
A video of a drive, filmed in 2018, from the northern end of Portland Street to Lower Falls can be viewed here.
- 17 Bridge Street was built in 1852 and used as the parsonage for the First Parish Church between 1862 and 1997
- 21 Bridge Street was built as a duplex for mill owners Mitchell and Loring
- 43 Bridge Street was part of Royal River Manufacturing Company in 1871
- Crossing the river, directly across from the Sparhawk Mill tower is 80 Bridge Street, which was built as the office for the above business in the early 1880s. Its architect was Francis Fassett (b. 1823, d. 1908)
- The former home of George G. Loring stands on the hill overlooking the falls at 100 Bridge Street
- Mill-owner Philip Kimball built the house at 125 Bridge, which is today's Charron residence
- The run-down building at 148 Bridge (the corner of Willow Street) has been vacant since the early 2000s. It was built in 1826
East Main Street
- 38 East Main Street was built by shipbuilder Albion Seabury (b. 1806, d. 1881)
- Directly opposite, number 43 was originally owned by Jonathan True (d. 1855), a clothier who owned a store at Lower Falls. Later associated with Dr. David Jones (b. 1748, d. 1822)
- 48 East Main was moved there in 1817 by Major Daniel Mitchell and expanded by Daniel L. Mitchell
- Once the home of William Stockbridge, a prominent merchant, ship owner and town treasurer. Operated as the main building of the Royal River Cabins until the 1940s
- Number 56 was likely built by clockmaker Lebbeus Bailey (b. 1763, d. 1827). Also associated with Albion Seabury
- Next door at 64 East Main is a home built by Augustus True (d. 1916)
- Number 68, at the corner of East Main and Yankee Drive, was built by Peter Weare, a sawmill and gristmill owner. It has also served as a tavern, a general store and, between 1900 and 1907, a girls’ school
- Close to the East Main and Spring Street split, number 96 was likely built by Samuel Buxton and later occupied by Nathaniel True
- 100 East Main Street was Asa Bisbee’s (b. 1789, d. 1865) blacksmith shop around 1830
- Next door, number 112, was built by Jacob Jones around 1818
- Just beyond the junction with Willow Street stands number 129, which was built by Madison Northey (b. 1837, d. 1922) around 1865
- Near the Bayview Street junction stands number 149, where Samuel Kinney lived around 1813
- Shipbuilder Elbridge Hutchins lived at 5 High Street
- 73 High Street, built in 1868, was the home of John R. Gooding
- 85 High Street was built by Solomon Sawyer (b. 1839, d. 1896) and remained in his family until 1984
- 28 Lafayette Street, which stands beside the stone marker honoring Walter Gendall, was built in 1750 according to one source or, according to another, in the 1920s
- Reed's Machine Shop, the brick building at 33 Lafayette Street, was built between 1920 and 1940. It has been owned since 1973 by Stephen Welch
- At the apex of the Pleasant Street corner is Gooding's End, named for the family involved in shipbuilding down at the harbor. Henry Gooding (b. 1845, d. 1883) lived at number 7
- Number 25 was originally part of the Royal River Cabins on Route 88. It is believed this cabin was the one Eleanor Roosevelt stayed in when in Yarmouth in the 1940s
The section of town between the Upper Village and Lower Falls was known as Brickyard Hollow, named for the brick-making business that was located across the street from the Masonic Hall (now the restaurant Gather), which was built in the 1870s.
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 1889, Dr. Herbert Merrill (b. 1855, d. 1926) 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 1890, Yarmouth built a large new school building on the site of the present, 1975-built 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 1903, six years before his death at the age of 76, Joseph Edward Merrill (b. 1832, d. 1909) 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, 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 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.
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 (b. 1891, d. 1918) and Edwin Mayberry (b. 1895, d. 1918), 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.
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. (b. 1786, d. 1869) 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):
- A house that stood at the corner of Main and East Elm was moved to 45 Baker Street around 1890
- 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 W. Dunn's (b. 1861, d. 1955) 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 (b. 1764, 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, at 366, although since widened, formerly housed a pool hall, then Harriman's IGA Foodliner
- Sam York's (b. 1863, d. 1922) grocery store (located to the east of the Parsons residence in the late 1800s; both now gone)
- Edgar Read Smith's (b. 1863, d. 1925) grocery store, which became Turner's Television sales and service business
- Adelaide Abbott's (b. 1875, d. 1913) millinery shop (located to the east of York's)
- Post office (located to the east of Abbott's), opened in May 1882. Its first postmistress was W.L. Haskell, followed by Joseph Raynes (b. 1843, d. 1939) in 1886. He remained in the position for 28 years, leaving the post in 1914 to Beecher True Lane (b. 1878, d. 1960). Anna Tibbetts Douglass (b. 1881, d. 1933) followed in 1919. This branch was closed in 1928, and a village carrier system began at the central office
- George H. Jefferd's harness shop (located to the east of the post office)
- Isaac Johnson's barbershop (located above Jefferd'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 incarnation was given its name.) In 1891, what was then Nathaniel Foster's (b. 1781, d. 1853) 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 (b. 1838, d. 1905) 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 Roy "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. The building was moved around 1990 and now stands on the property of 463 Lafayette Street, across from the Ledge Cemetery. 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 (formerly known as Woodbury's Lane) 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. It was used by the fire department until 2004. 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 (b. 1878, d. 1967) and his wife, Catherine (b. 1890, d. 1977), 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 He reopened the store in a new location across the street
- 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. 1791, d. 1859; he previously lived at what is now 35 East Main Street, overlooking his shipyard, between 1857 and around 1871). It was the first of several name changes, including Royal River Hotel (when owned by O.E. Lowell in the late 19th century), U.S. House, Westcustogo House and Yarmouth Hotel. The expected tourists never materialized, and the hotel burned down in 1926 Grange Hall stood behind the hotel. Lowell Hall was in the second story of the stable
- 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 (b. 1896, d. 1993) jewelry shop (at what was then 73 Main Street; formerly Sidney Bennett's (b. 1847, d. 1901) 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, having moved to 73-75 Cumberland Street, but it is turned sideways to the street.
A large wooden building located where the at the intersection of West Main Street and Sligo Road, next to the old brick schools, 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.
A video of a drive, filmed in 2018, from West Elm Street to Lower Village can be viewed here.
- John (b. 1818, d. 1899) and Julia Dunn (b. 1817, d. 1897) ran a store at 3 Church Street
- Reuben Byram (b. 1782, d. 1872) built the building at 6 Church Street in 1804
- It is believed that Otis Briggs Pratt built the house at 14 Church Street, on land owned by Silas Merrill, between 1807 and 1812. It also served as the homestead for the potter Nathaniel Foster and remained in the family until 1910
- An 1804 Federal-style house stands at 21 Church
- Reverend Thomas Green (b. 1761, d. 1814), the first pastor at the nearby Baptist church, lived at 40 Church
- Captain Joseph Bucknam lived at 3 Cumberland Street, a home built by Jeremiah Loring (b. 1802, d. 1884)
East Elm Street
- 92 East Elm Street was formerly a mill workers’ boarding house, then a maternity hospital
- 48 Hillside was built in 1858, according to one source, while another places it in the 1810s
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 (b. 1735, d. 1809), a New Hampshire native who was the fourth pastor of the nearby Old Ledge Church for forty years – from 1769 until his death. He was the original 1771 occupant of the Gilman Manse house at 463 Lafayette Street, later the home of Merrill Haskell (b. 1834, d. 1885). John Calvin Stevens was hired to undertake the 1905 renovation of the property.
Captain Francis E. Young (b. 1829, d. 1856) lived between the two cemeteries. He is buried in the Ledge Cemetery.
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 Englishman Nicholas Loring (b. 1711, d. 1763), who is buried in the Ledge cemetery.) Perez B. Loring (b. 1811, d. 1889) lived there in the mid-19th century. For the second half of the 20th century, it was home to Charles and Anita Stickney, who purchased it from Henry P. Frank. Charles Stickney bought his father's company, Deering Ice Cream, in 1956. It had twenty locations in three states in its peak years. He died in 2008 at the age of 89; Anita died eight years later, aged 90.
120 Gilman Road, near the northeastern corner of the intersection, was built in 1773. Its barn is mid-19th century.
Moving east, crossing Princes Point Road, eight historic homes exist in the stretch leading up to Cousins Island. On the left (number 146) is formerly that of Captain Joseph Drinkwater (b. 1802, d. 1867) and his wife, Anna (b. 1805, d. 1892). The house was built in 1844, and his family owned it until 1873. Captain Sumner Drinkwater purchased it in 1902, and it remained in his family until 1979, ending 107 consecutive years of Drinkwater ownership. Next, on the right, is 161, once the home of Samuel Allen Prince (b. 1820, d. 1907). 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 Prince (nee Drinkwater; b. 1794, d. 1878), the parents of neighbor Samuel Allen. Upon Reuben's death, the house passed to his son, Harlan (b. 1837, d. 1899), and remained in his family until his death. Arthur and Josie Fels bought the homestead in 1907.
Three homes exist around the Gilman and Larrabee's Landing Road triangle. First, an 1817-built house on the left, is formerly that of Mrs. Drinkwater. Next, beyond Burbank Lane, at 38 Larrabee's Landing Road, is the former home of Mrs. Bucknam. The original part of the house dates from 1835 and is believed to have been expanded by William Bucknam (b. 1844, d. 1914) for his mother. It later became the home of New Hampshire natives Nelson (b. 1863, d. 1937) and Fannie Burbank (b. 1874, d. 1927), for whom Burbank Lane was built. They owned and operated Burbank Farm from 1913 to 1936. The house of Charles Bucknam (b. 1813, d. 1884), at number 68, is the final home before Royall Point Road. It was built in 1835.
The only house originally on Royall Point Road was the farmhouse at the current number 70. Nearby Callen Point was where Captain Walter Gendall (d. 1688), an Englishman, was shot while taking supplies to his troops building a fort on the eastern side of the river. There was a wharf which served the farm.
At the end of Barn Road, which is off Highland Farms Road (formerly Vaill Point Road), is Parker Point's (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.
The 1831-built home at 420 Princes Point Road, a couple of hundred yards before the Morton Road intersection, is the former residence of Captain Nicholas Drinkwater, Sr. (b. 1794, d. 1847). Captain Sumner Drinkwater (b. 1859, d. 1942) was born in this house.
Mrs. Snell lived at the southeastern corner of the Old Town Landing Road and Morton Road intersection. Morton Road is named for Harry Newbert Morton (b. 1896, d. 1985), who built the first house on the street. Morton, a lobsterman, moved to Yarmouth in 1929 and remained there until his death at the age of 89.
A 1944 map shows Bucknam Point Road and the unnamed road slightly to the west that Umpire Way connects to. These are both off Morton Road.
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 Allen Drinkwater (b. 1866, d. 1952) barn, and here a large gate opened into the pasture which included the two points now known as Princes and Sunset Points. Captain Rotheus Drinkwater (b. 1791, d. 1866) also had a home a stone's throw away. Captain John Cleaves (b. 1843, d. 1908) fenced off a spot on his farm, at today's number 581, 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. Jefferds, Thomas and Nellie Johnston and Wilfred W. Dunn. 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.
Named for Captain Theophilus Drinkwater (b. 1792, d. 1872), son of Allen and Hannah Drinkwater. His house, built in 1791 by his grandfather, Nicholas Drinkwater, stood at the southern end of the road bearing his name. Theophilus was married to Louisa Drinkwater (b. 1796, d. 1878). They had three children — Cornelia Amanda (b. 1823, d. 1901), Hannah Gray (b. circa 1829) and Ferdinand (b. 1833, d. 1907).
Captain James Munroe Bucknam's (b. 1818, d. 1905) 115-acre farm extended west to where Bucknam Point Road is today. His house is today's number 215, which was built in 1740 and later became the main building of the Homewood Inn development, whose property extended to the north and west. Bucknam wed Caroline Pierce Drinkwater (b. 1823, d. 1869) in 1843 and they had five children together — Nicholas (b. 1847, d. 1930), Clarence Leland (b. 1844, d. 1846), Caroline Augusta (b. and d. 1846), Clarence Loraine (b. 1850, d. 1932) and James M., Jr. (b. 1861, d. 1901). They were married for 26 years, until 1869, Caroline's death. He married for a second time the following year, to Abbie Frances Twombly (b. 1849, d. 1886), with whom he had another two children — Caroline Prince Bucknam (b. 1862) and Albion Levi (b. 1874, d. 1920). Nine years after Abbie's death, he married for a third time, to Edna A. Marston (b. 1843, d. 1922), widow of William.
- White's Cove (north of Cousins Island's Snodgrass Bridge). Named for Nicholas White, the cove was once the home of Captain Frank L. Oakes (b. 1850, d. 1912)
- Broad Cove (from west of Sunset Point due east to Route 88)
National Register of Historic Places
Twelve properties in Yarmouth are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest (the Cushing and Hannah Prince House) 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:
- Cushing and Hannah Prince House, 189 Greely Road
- North Yarmouth and Freeport Baptist Meeting House, 3 Hillside Street
- Ammi Mitchell House, 333 Main Street
- Russell Hall, North Yarmouth Academy, 129 Main Street
- Academy Hall, North Yarmouth Academy, 129 Main Street
- Captain S.C. Blanchard House, 317 Main Street
- Captain Reuben Merrill House, 233 West Main Street
- First Universalist Church, 97 Main Street
- First Parish Congregational Church, 116 Main Street
- Camp Hammond, 275 Main Street
- Cousins Island Chapel, Cousins Street, Cousins Island
- Grand Trunk Railway Station, 288 Main Street
Yarmouth is home to DeLorme, the large map-making company, with its headquarters, located on Route 1 to the north of the town, housing the world's largest revolving and rotating globe. In 2016, DeLorme was purchased by Garmin.
As of June 2019, the town is home to fourteen restaurants (only sit-down service counted). They are:
- On Route 1 (south to north)
- Bistro 233
- Romeo's Pizza
- All Star Sports Bar
- Chopstick Sushi
- Pat's Pizza
- Binga's Winga's
- Muddy Rudder (so named after Clarence "Mitt" Collins, b. 1900, d. 1985, brought the 1902 tug Portland up the Cousins River to make a restaurant near the highway, but "a harsh nor’easter besieged the boat at its mooring and strong winds grounded and overturned her here." The current restaurant opened in 1976)
- On Forest Falls Drive
- WOODHULL Public House
- On Route 88
- On Main Street (east to west)
- Gather (in the former home of the Masonic Lodge)
- Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company
- Owl & Elm Village Pub
- The Nook at Handy’s
- OTTO (inside Handy’s)
Brickyard Hollow became the town's first-ever brew pub when it opened in June 2018.
A notable former establishment was Bill's Home Style Sandwiches, which stood where Binga's Winga's is today. It was a lunchtime mainstay for many locals for 35 years (from 1974 to 2009), run by Bill Kinsman (b. 1942, d. 2017).
The oil-powered Wyman Power Station, located on the southwest tip of Cousins Island, is part of Central Maine Power (CMP). Built in 1957, it is named for CMP president William F. Wyman. Owned by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, it has four steam turbine units, the most recent of which, with its 421-foot chimney, went online in 1978. Because it burns costly Number 6 residual fuel, the plant has largely been used on an on-call basis for years, fired up only when another big plant goes offline, or when very hot or cold weather spikes the region's demand for energy. With $2-million in annual revenue for the town, it is Yarmouth's largest property taxpayer. In the 1980s, it paid half of the town's tax burden; now, however, it covers less than 8%.
Yarmouth has no hotel or motel accommodation. The last one, the Down East Village Motel, was demolished in 2017 to make way for a Patriot Insurance building. The Down East was, in 1950, the second motel built in Maine and eventually became the oldest.
The Royal River Cabins flourished between 1934 and 1950 on the ocean side of Spring Street, at its split with East Main Street. The enterprise began as an inn in the property, at 51 East Main Street, that now houses W.M. Schwind Antiques. Eleanor Roosevelt and her entourage once stayed in a cabin here because the Eastland Park Hotel in Portland banished her dog, Fala. The president's wife chose to dine at the Westcustogo Inn. Also at this fork in the road once stood Jim Brewer Dennison's (b. 1839, d. 1914) blacksmith shop, which he set up in 1863. His son, William (b. 1869, d. 1947), worked with him. Adjacent to the forge was Florence Sewing Machines repair shop.
A drive-in theater once stood where the Hannaford plaza now is.
The town has four public schools:
- William H. Rowe (Elementary) School (built 1955; rebuilt in 2003)
- Yarmouth Elementary School (built 1968; named Yarmouth Intermediate School until 1992)
- Frank H. Harrison Middle School (built 1992)
- Yarmouth High School (built 1961; rebuilt in 2002)
Three of the four schools are located within half a mile of each other: Yarmouth Elementary and Harrison Middle are both on McCartney Street, while the high school is located across the adjoining West Elm Street. Rowe is located about two miles to the north east.
The 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 first in Maine and 198th in the country.
On the southern side of Main Street, near its junction with Bridge Street, is North Yarmouth Academy (NYA), a private college preparatory school established in 1814. Across the street stand, in the Greek Revival style, Russell Hall (1841) and Academy Hall (1847). They are built of brick with granite and wood trim. Russell Hall was originally a dormitory and Academy Hall a classroom; they are now both of the latter use. By the early 1930s, the academy expanded into new facilities across the street. The original wooden 1811 NYA school building was removed to the adjacent Bridge Street, "just below the residence of the late Charles O. Rowe (b. 1851, d. 1928; the father of William Hutchinson Rowe), where the middle of the three houses on the northern side of upper Bridge Street is today.
NYA became a private school in 1961, when Yarmouth High School was built on West Elm Street.
On October 17, 1998, the academy's ice arena was renamed the "Travis Roy Arena" in honor 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.
A former school, District Number 3, still stands at 12 Portland Street. It is now a business.
In 1727, five local men — Samuel Seabury, James Parker, Jacob Mitchell, Gershom Rice and Phineas Jones — were tasked with the management of the new town. Their affairs included laying out the highways. Roads (or, at least, routes) that appeared on subsequent maps are as follows (with today's names):
In 1738, "a good road was built over the ledge from the meeting-house to the mills at the first falls which, although it was abandoned about 1800 for a less hilly course, may still be easily traced."
A 1741 map of Yarmouth can be seen here. Atlantic Highway (now State Route 88; which took a left onto Pleasant Street), Gilman Road, Princes Point Road, Highlands Farm Road (leading to Parker's Point), Drinkwater Point Road (which led to two wharves), Morton Road and Old Town Landing Road (which led to another wharf). Large lot owners at the time included Walter Gendall, whose farm incorporated Duck Cove, beyond Town Landing Road in today's Cumberland Foreside (Cumberland was not incorporated as its own town until 1821). Its dry stone boundary is still intact. Welshman John Powell (b. c. 1669, d. 1742) had a farm where today's Schooner Ridge Road is. John Dabney's 60-acre lot abutted this to the east. Dabney was a town selectman in 1737. Felt had a lot at the foot of the northern end of Pleasant Street, adjacent to Stony Brook. Royall's farm, meanwhile, occupied the entire area bisected by Bayview Street.
Smith Street became an uninterrupted offshoot from Pleasant Street, eventually leading to Riverside Cemetery when it was established in 1869, until the Lafayette Street hill was built in the early 19th century.
In 1756, "to accommodate the teams hauling lumber from the great pine forests inland to the seaboard, a new more convenient way was laid out by the way of Walnut Hill and the road constructed."
In 1761, then-Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin ordered milestones placed along the 1673-established route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Machias, Maine, as a northern extension of King's Highway. It was established to address the need for a reliable route between New York and Boston initially, and later between Boston and northern locations. There are six of these stones within Cumberland County, two of which are in Yarmouth: one on Route 88, just south of Ravine Drive on the northern side of the road, and one "1.1 miles" away, outside 148 Pleasant Street. The local section of King's Highway was (heading north) today's Middle Road in Cumberland, then a right onto Tuttle Road, left onto Foreside Road (where a short section of road preserves the name of the original route), then a left onto Pleasant Street, before continuing its way north to Machias.
In 1813, down at the First Falls, "the old road which clambered laboriously over the crest of the hill was replaced by a new street along the head of the wharves below the hill". This is today's Lafayette Street hill. (It was named Lafayette Street in honor of General Lafayette, who once stayed in the three-story building at 51 East Main Street.)
By 1847, Portland Street was in full swing, including the Elm Street offshoot that headed directly into the Upper Village. Main Street was, by now, well established.
Roswell P. Greeley (b. 1847, d. 1903) established an express service between Portland and Yarmouth, employing a span of horses and large wagons. Azel Kingsley (b. 1860, d. 1948) ran a supplemental service minus the horses. It ran two services in each direction: southbound at 7.30 and 11.30 AM and northbound at 3.00 and 5.00 PM.
For an 1894 map of Yarmouth, see here.
"Paved roads and automobiles came to Yarmouth in 1914," wrote Alan M. Hall. "The new federal highway from Portland to Bath included four miles from Pleasant Street to the Freeport line."
A 1944 map of Yarmouth (and surrounding towns) can be seen here.
Route 88, meanwhile, follows the course of Route 1's predecessor, the Atlantic Highway. A 1944 map shows Atlantic, coming through town, aligning with what became Route 88 up to the point they meet at the end of Spring Street. Prior to the installation of U.S. Route 1, today's curve of Route 88 as it passes Cumberland Farms instead continued directly north-east towards Cousins River. The section of Atlantic Highway that runs from Princes Point Road to the northern end of Pleasant Street was laid in the late 1920s.
In 1961, the Yarmouth section of Interstate 295 was built. It runs elevated through town (including, in controversial fashion, over the harborside at Lower Falls). It has two exits (15 and 17) in the town. Exit 15 became a four-ramp intersection in July 2013, when a northbound on-ramp was added. Exit 17 remains a two-ramp intersection.
The town has two railroad junctions: Royal Junction (midway along Greely Road) and Yarmouth Junction (to the west of East Elm Street at Depot Road; its station is now gone). The two railroads passing through the town are the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (formerly Grand Trunk Railway; arrived in 1848) and Guilford Rail System's Kennebec & Portland (later Maine Central Railroad; 1849). A train wreck occurred on the morning of February 15, 1912, near Dunn's Corner (the North Road and Route 9 intersection). A westbound freight train was backing its 25 cars into a siding when a Portland-bound freight train ignored orders to slow down. The collision "drove both engines thirty feet into the air" and ignited tons of wheat and wooden boxcars. There were three fatalities and several injuries. Despite this, Yarmouth was the last stretch of the Grand Trunk to receive automatic block signals in 1924.
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 five times a day (four on weekends) to and from Brunswick's Maine Street Station. The trains pass under two roads and over three crossings on their way through Yarmouth. They are (from south to north) West Main Street (overpass, just after Royal Junction), Sligo Road (road crossing), East Elm Street (road crossing, just after Yarmouth Junction), North Road (road crossing) and Granite Street (overpass).
On weekdays, the trains pass through northbound at 12.03 PM (#681), 4.03 PM (#683), 7.53 PM (#685), 9.18 PM (#687) and 1.23 AM (#689). On weekends, they pass through at 1.23 PM (#691), 7.43 PM (#695), 10.23 PM (#697) and 1.23 AM (#699).
Southbound weekday times: 4.50 AM (#680), 7.50 AM (#682), 11.30 AM (#684), 1.50 PM (#686) and 5.45 PM (#688). Weekend: 6.20 AM (#690), 7.50 AM (#692), 11.40 AM (#694) and 6.25 PM (#698).
Trolley cars of the Portland and Yarmouth Electric Railway Company used to run, every fifteen minutes, from Portland, through Falmouth Foreside, up and down Pleasant Street and onto Main Street between 1898 and 1933, when the advent of the automobile made rail travel a less convenient option. Underwood Spring Park in Falmouth Foreside, with its open-air theater, casino and gazebo, was a popular gathering spot serviced by the trolley cars. The theater only existed for eight years, burning down in 1907. In 1906, a bridge was built over the Royal River, connecting the Brunswick and Portland trolleys at the Grand Trunk depot in town. The tracks ran down what is today's walkers' path to the Rowe School. The pedestrian bridge in the Royal River Park is built on old abutments for a trolley line which ran between Yarmouth and Freeport between 1906 and 1933.
The only bus route that services the town is Greater Portland Metro’s BREEZ. It has eleven southbound services to Portland and twelve northbound services to Brunswick on weekdays and an abbreviated Saturday schedule. There is no service on Sundays.
On weekdays, the first southbound service arrives in Yarmouth at around 6.20 AM and the last one at around 8.45 PM. The first northbound service arrives at around 6.45 AM and the last one at around 9.50 PM.
On weekends, the first of six southbound services arrives at around 9.45 AM and the last one at around 8.55 PM. The first of seven northbound services arrives at around 8.30 AM and the last one at around 10.00 PM.
There are three bus stop locations: the park and ride lot at the southbound exit 15 ramp of I-295, on Main Street in front of Yarmouth Town Hall, and on either side of Route 1 at Hannaford.
- Grist Mill Park, East Main Street
- Village Green Park, Main Street
- Latchstring Park, Main Street and West Elm Street
- Royal River Park
- Pratt's Brook Park, North Road
Open spaces and conservation land
- Grist Mill Lane Field (formerly an intervale owned by Edward Russell before 1836)
- Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, Bayview Street
- Fels-Groves Farm Preserve, Gilman Road
- Larrabee's Landing, Burbank Lane
- Frank Knight Forest, East Main Street
- Barker Preserve, between East Elm Street and Royal River
- Sligo Road Property
- Sweetsir Farm, Old Field Road
- Camp SOCI, Sandy Point Road, Cousins Island (established in 1957)
- Sandy Point Beach, Cousins Street, Cousins Island
- Katherine Tinker Preserve, Seal Lane, Cousins Island
- Littlejohn Island Preserve, Pemasong Lane, Littlejohn Island
Beth Condon Memorial Pathway
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. It is named after 15-year-old Yarmouth High School sophomore Elizabeth Ann "Beth" Condon, who was killed by drunk driver Martha Burke on August 28, 1993, as she walked along Route 1 with her boyfriend, James Young, having just been to a video store in Yarmouth Marketplace. Burke's car swerved into the breakdown lane, and while Young managed to avoid the car, Condon was hit and thrown 65 feet over the guardrail and down an embankment. Burke pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to twelve years, with eight years suspended.
The first section of the pathway was begun in 1997 and cost $100,000. 80% of this was funded by the Maine Department of Transportation. This original part runs north from Lane's Crossing parallel to Route 1 and ends at the parking lot of the town hall. It is at this juncture, where Condon died, that a butterfly garden was built in her honor. It was rededicated on August 2, 2014, a few weeks before the 21st anniversary of her death. In 1998, an extension was added to the pathway that took it onto Cleaves Street, School Street and into the Royal River Park, where it intersects with a recreational path. A pedestrian bridge carries it over the Royal River en route to Forest Falls Drive. In 2006, a third phase added a section that took it up to the Hannaford plaza and, after an almost 500-yard gap, a ramp connecting Route 1 up the hill to East Main Street. Talk of bridging this gap, part of which goes beneath the East Main Street bridge, began in 2011, with a planned start date of 2013. It would bring the total length of the pathway to 1.7 miles; however, the traffic cones that were set out along the route on July 22, 2013, remained in place until September 2014, despite a statement that the original plan to monitor traffic flow was to take "several weeks". The two-lane southbound side of the road was permanently reduced to one at the same time. The project was completed the following month.
In 2000, the pathway was integrated as part of the East Coast Greenway, a project to create a nearly 3,000-mile (4,800-km) urban path linking the major cities of the Atlantic coast, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, for non-motorized human transportation.
There are six churches in Yarmouth. Four of these are located on Main Street. They are (from east to west):
- First Universalist, 97 Main Street (built 1860). Designed by Thomas Holt for an Orthodox Congregational parish; became its current denomination in 1886. The site was formerly occupied by Jenks's Tavern
- First Parish Congregational, 116 Main Street (built 1867). Designed by Portland architect George M. Harding. The third incarnation of churches built for the town's Congregationalists. Charles Augustus Aiken was ordained a pastor here in 1854
- Sacred Heart Catholic (built 1929 from granite quarried in North Yarmouth)
- First Baptist (built 1889; designed by John Calvin Stevens)
The First Parish Congregational was originally known as the Meeting House Under the Ledge and was located facing Casco Bay at the intersection of Route 88 and Gilman Road. It was built from material floated down the Royal River from the First Falls and hauled up by oxen from Larrabee's Landing (named for Benjamin and Thomas Larrabee, two brothers who settled there in the 1720s), further down Gilman Road towards Cousins Island. The path down to the water still exists. The landing was one of the most important in Yarmouth up until the late 1870s, when erosion caused the whole thing to slide into the channel. The Ledge church, which was founded on November 18, 1730, was torn down in 1836, sixteen years after it was abandoned by the Parish. Yarmouth's early Calvinists fired one minister because he suggested that many people are worthy of salvation. Reverend Tristram Gilman, on the other hand, declared in a sermon that Thomas Jefferson was the Antichrist. Of a settlement that originally contained a school, a tavern and a cemetery of Indian fighters, only the cemetery and the ledge doorstep of the church remain. The weathervane, which was the final addition to the steeple, was mounted in 1838 as a shipping guide on an iron rod atop the ledge overlooking the "Old Ledge" Meeting House by a group of Yarmouth residents. They had raised funds to buy the weathervane from Solomon Winslow, who had removed it from the site after the building's demolition. The weathervane is now on display at the Yarmouth History Center, but its old supports still exist up in the woods beside Route 88. They are passed by the West Side Trail. A second, larger cemetery, known as Ledge Cemetery, was established in 1770.
Tristram Gilman died in 1809. Francis Brown (b. 1784, d. 1820), an 1805 graduate of Dartmouth College and later its president, was invited to preach before the Congregational church. Brown accepted the position of pastor, with the proviso that the church, which had been in use for nearly eighty years, be discontinued. The second church (known as Old Sloop) was built in 1818, at the eastern corner of Main and Bridge Streets (at present-day 121 Main Street), but it was abandoned in 1868 and torn down in 1879. (Lorenzo L. Shaw later lived here in a carriage house, but it burned down in a fire in 1967.) Brown married Elizabeth Gilman (b. 1776, d. 1851), the eldest daughter of his predecessor. Their son was Samuel Gilman Brown. Samuel's son, another Francis Brown, was a theologian.
Those who were against the building of the new church incorporated themselves as the Chapel Religious Society.
The present church 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.
The North Yarmouth and Freeport Baptist Meeting House (known locally as the Meetinghouse on the Hill) on Hillside Street (formerly Brimstone Hill or Byram's Hill) was built in 1796. It has been twice altered: by Samuel Melcher in 1825 and by Anthony Raymond twelve years later. It ceased being used as a church in 1889, when its congregation moved to the structure now on Main Street. The 1805 bell was transferred to the new home. The meeting house was unused for less than a year. It was purchased for $1,000 and converted into the town's first library and antiquarian society and known as Yarmouth Memorial Hall. It was donated to the town in 1910 and used for town meetings until 1946, at which point they were moved to the Log Cabin on Main Street. During World War II, the belfry was used an airplane-spotting outlook post in the Civil Defense System. Twelve townsfolk per day manned the tower in two-hour shifts. In 1946, the Village Improvement Society (founded in 1911) agreed to maintain the interior of the meeting house. In 2001, the town and the society restored the building, from its granite foundation to the barrel-vaulted ceiling. A non-denominational church service is held here during the town's Clam Festival. The building is owned by the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society.
The Church of the Nazarene on Route 1 became inactive in June 2012 and was demolished in the spring of 2015.
Graveyards and cemeteries
The only graveyard (that is, a burial ground associated with a church) in Yarmouth is located beside the Meeting House on Hillside Street. It is known as the Old Baptist Cemetery.
Two cemeteries are located near the former site of the "Old Ledge" Meeting House on Gilman Road: a 1731 Pioneer burial ground (also known as the Indian Fighters cemetery), which was the first public burial place in Old North Yarmouth, and the 1770 Ledge cemetery (some headstones bear dates earlier than 1770, for many bodies were removed from the older cemetery). The family of Captain Nicholas Drinkwater, Jr. (b. 1825, d. 1908) is buried in the latter location, in a communal plot also containing his wife, Margaret (b. 1830, d. 1914), his son, Joshua (b. 1860, d. 1951), and Joshua's wife and Boston native, Harriet (b. 1856, d. 1929). Their daughter, Elizabeth (b. 1902, d. 1977), is interred in Riverside Cemetery with her husband, Alfred, and daughter, Alfreda.
Two other cemeteries in town — Riverside and Holy Cross — are located adjacent to each other, at the eastern end of Smith Street. It is in the 1869-founded Riverside Cemetery that several prominent early business owners and other townspeople are buried, including Ansel Loring (b. 1830, d. 1916), William Marston (b. 1827, d. 1894), Rufus H. McQuillan (b. 1844, d. 1896), Cornelius Shaw (b. 1864, d. 1939), William Hutchinson Rowe (b. 1882, d. 1955), Harry (b. 1870, d. 1956) and Arthur Storer (b. 1869, d. 1948), Frank Knight (b. 1908, d. 2012) and Leon Gorman (b. 1934, d. 2015). Holy Cross, a Catholic-denomination cemetery, is affiliated with Falmouth's Parish of the Holy Eucharist. The Jacob Mitchell garrison was located at the rear of Holy Cross. The dirt path that looks like it leads to the water is actually the original stage road. Mitchell's family lived in the house between around 1729 and 1799. It then became the home of the Whitcombs. It was demolished about 1900 and the farm land was purchased in 1916 to become Holy Cross cemetery.
Davis Cemetery is located on the section of Granite Street to the south of East Main Street and Old County Road, an area known as Sodom historically. John Davis (b. 1754, d. 1798) is the oldest known burial in the cemetery.
Cousins Island Cemetery is located at the corner of Cousins Street and Hillcrest Avenue on the island. There are around eighteen unmarked graves of early settlers here. There is also a small cemetery, known as Hill Cemetery, within the confines of the adjacent Tinker Preserve.
An early town newspaper was the Eastern Gazette, which was first printed by E.G. Crabtree in July 1886. His office was in the second story of the Vining store. Financial support was not forthcoming, however, and its life was short.
Yarmouth news is now reported regularly in a number of different newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, The Notes, and The 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.
Pownal native Frank Knight, Herbie's "warden", died in May 2012 at the age of 103. He looked after the tree for over fifty years. Frank Knight Forest, on East Main Street, was named in his honor.
Yarmouth is safer than 79% of U.S. cities. Violent crime is well below the national average for all communities of all population sizes.
On the evening of September 28, 1981, John Condon murdered Maureen and James Austin — his sister and brother-in-law — and their 12-year-old son, Douglas, in their Yarmouth home, at 21 Seaborne Drive. The adult couple sustained multiple stab wounds and the child's throat was slashed twice. A fire was set in an upstairs bedroom.
Later that night, Condon was stopped by South Portland police when he was suspected of operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He passed a sobriety test but was arrested for driving without a license.
On October 7, a Cumberland County grand jury returned an indictment charging Condon with three counts of murder, one count of arson and two counts of theft. Condon plead not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
A jury trial two years later resulted in convictions on all counts.
In 2018, Condon, then 69 years old, claimed he was treated unfairly by the Maine State Prison. He waged a legal battle in federal court, seeking money for being moved outside Maine.
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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yarmouth, Maine.|
- Town of Yarmouth official website
- Maine Genealogy: Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Maine
- Yarmouth Historical Society and the Yarmouth History Center