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South Berwick, Maine facts for kids

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South Berwick, Maine
Central Square c. 1910
Central Square c. 1910
The Berwicks
South Berwick, Maine is located in Maine
South Berwick, Maine
South Berwick, Maine
Location in Maine
Country United States
State Maine
County York
Settled 1631
Incorporated 1814
Villages South Berwick
Emerys Bridge
Great Works
 • Type Town Council
 • Total 32.64 sq mi (84.54 km2)
 • Land 32.13 sq mi (83.22 km2)
 • Water 0.51 sq mi (1.32 km2)
43 ft (31 m)
 • Total 7,467
 • Density 232/sq mi (89.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-70030
GNIS feature ID 0582732

South Berwick is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 7,467 at the 2020 census. South Berwick is home to Berwick Academy, a private, co-educational university-preparatory day school founded in 1791.

The town was set off from Berwick in 1814, followed by North Berwick in 1831. It is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. The primary village in the town is the South Berwick census-designated place.


The area was called Newichawannock by the Abenaki Indians, meaning "river with many falls," a reference to the Salmon Falls River. It was first settled by Europeans about 1631 as a part of Kittery known as Kittery North Parish. Near the confluence with the Great Works River, Ambrose Gibbons built the Great House at Newichawannock, a palisaded trading post, to exchange goods with the Indians.

In 1634, William Chadbourne, James Wall, and John Goddard arrived from England aboard the ship Pied Cow to build a sawmill and gristmill at Assabumbadoc Falls. The first houses built in South Berwick were built by Chadbourne and Wall. Chadbourne's house was in the northwesterly angle of Brattle Street and Dow Highway (Rt. 236). Richard Leader, an engineer, rebuilt the sawmill in 1651 to handle up to 20 saws. The factory became known as the "Great mill workes," from which the Great Works River derives its name. It was run by 25 Scottish prisoners of war captured by Oliver Cromwell's forces at the 1650 Battle of Dunbar, then transported aboard a vessel called Unity to Massachusetts. They were sold as slaves whose labor would earn them freedom. The community was dubbed the Parish of Unity after the boat.

The village was attacked in 1675 during King Philip's War, then raided again in 1690-1691 during King William's War by Indians under the command of officers from New France, who burned the Parish of Unity to the ground. It was abandoned, but resettled in 1703 under its Abenaki name, Newichawannock. The Massachusetts General Court incorporated it in 1713 as Berwick, the 9th oldest town in Maine. It was named after Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town of mixed allegiances on the Anglo-Scottish border. On February 12, 1814, South Berwick was set off and incorporated.

During the 19th century, various mills were erected at the rivers to utilize their water power. At the head of navigation, Quampheagan Falls on the Salmon Falls River became the site of the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company. Established in 1831, the cotton textile mill had 7000 spindles and 216 looms, which by 1868 produced 2 million yards of sheeting per year. The mill closed in 1893, and most of its brick buildings were razed about 1917, but the Greek Revival counting house is now the Old Berwick Historical Society Museum. South Berwick also made woolens, shoes, plows, and cultivators, as well as sawn and planed lumber. The town was noted for its apple orchards. Some inhabitants worked across the bridge in Rollinsford, New Hampshire at the Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company, which closed in 1927. The village center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

In 1901, local author Sarah Orne Jewett set her historical romance The Tory Lover at the Hamilton House in South Berwick. Built about 1785, the Federal style mansion is now a museum operated by Historic New England, which also owns the Sarah Orne Jewett House, built in 1774 overlooking Central Square.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 32.64 square miles (84.54 km2), of which, 32.13 square miles (83.22 km2) of it is land and 0.51 square miles (1.32 km2) is water. Located beside the New Hampshire border, South Berwick is drained by the Great Works River and Salmon Falls River. Welch Hill, elevation 370 feet (112.8 m) above sea level, is the town's highest point. The lowest elevation, which is sea level, is located along the Salmon Falls River from the small hydroelectric dam next to the Route 4 bridge south to where the town borders Eliot.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,475
1830 1,577 6.9%
1840 2,314 46.7%
1850 2,592 12.0%
1860 2,624 1.2%
1870 2,510 −4.3%
1880 2,677 6.7%
1890 3,434 28.3%
1900 3,188 −7.2%
1910 2,935 −7.9%
1920 2,955 0.7%
1930 2,650 −10.3%
1940 2,546 −3.9%
1950 2,646 3.9%
1960 3,112 17.6%
1970 3,488 12.1%
1980 4,046 16.0%
1990 5,877 45.3%
2000 6,671 13.5%
2010 7,220 8.2%
2020 7,467 3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,220 people, 2,729 households, and 1,979 families residing in the town. The population density was 224.7 inhabitants per square mile (86.8/km2). There were 2,911 housing units at an average density of 90.6 per square mile (35.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.5% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 2,729 households, of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.5% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the town was 40.5 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 32.4% were from 45 to 64; and 10.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.

Strawberry Festival

Since 1976, South Berwick has hosted a Strawberry Festival on the last Saturday in June. Originally organized to celebrate the United States Bicentennial, its popularity has convinced the festival's organizers to hold it each year since. It includes shops, food, games and rides for children and trolley rides. The festival is held on the grounds of Central School, the primary elementary school for the town of South Berwick.

Sites of interest

Notable people

  • Nicholson Baker (born 1957), novelist and non-fiction writer
  • John H. Burleigh (1822–1877), U.S. congressman
  • William Burleigh (1785–1827), U.S. congressman
  • Slaid Cleaves (born 1964), singer-songwriter
  • John Noble Goodwin (1824–1887), attorney, politician, and U.S. congressman
  • John Hubbard (1849–1932), United States Navy rear admiral
  • Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909), novelist
  • J. Harold Murray(1891–1940), singer and film actor
  • Rod Picott (born 1964), singer-songwriter
  • Robert M. Pirsig (1928–2017), writer, philosopher
  • Deanna Rix (born 1987), wrestler
  • Charles Sleeper (1856–1924), physician, state legislator, and Collector of the Port of Portland, Maine
  • Luther C. Tibbets (1820–1902), founded California citrus industry with wife Eliza Tibbets

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: South Berwick para niños

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