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Yarmouth, Maine

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Yarmouth, Maine

Yarmouth, Maine
Yarmouth's Main Street, looking east, in June 2010
Yarmouth's Main Street, looking east, in June 2010
Official seal of Yarmouth, Maine
Motto: Our Latchstring Always Out
Yarmouth is located in Maine
Location within the state of Maine
Country United States
State Maine
County Cumberland
Settled 1636
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)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,349
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 8,431
 • Density 625.4/sq mi (241.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 04096
Area code(s) 207
FIPS code 23-87845
GNIS feature ID 0582831

Yarmouth is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, located approximately ten to fifteen miles north of Portland. Its population was 8,349 in the 2010 census.

Yarmouth is part of the Portland–South Portland-Biddeford Metropolitan Statistical Area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.94 square miles (59.41 km2), of which, 13.35 square miles (34.58 km2) of it is land and 9.59 square miles (24.84 km2) is water.[1]

Yarmouth is nearly square in form, and is bisected by the Royal River. The Cousins River separates it from Freeport to the northeast. Freeport and Pownal bound it to the east, North Yarmouth to the north, Cumberland to the west and Casco Bay to the south. Also included as part of the town are Cousins Island, Lanes Island, Great and Little Moshier islands, and Littlejohn Island.


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,349 people, 3,522 households, and 2,317 families residing in the town. The population density was 625.4 inhabitants per square mile (241.5/km2). There were 3,819 housing units at an average density of 286.1 per square mile (110.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 3,522 households of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the town was 45.9 years. 22.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20% were from 25 to 44; 34.9% were from 45 to 64; and 16.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 8,360 people, 3,432 households, and 2,306 families residing in the town. The population density was 626.7 people per square mile (242.0/km²). There were 3,704 housing units at an average density of 277.7 per square mile (107.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.49% White, 0.37% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.

There were 3,432 households out of which 33% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the town the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,030, and the median income for a family was $73,234. Males had a median income of $48,456 versus $34,075 for females. The per capita income for the town was $34,317. About 4.0% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.


Traces of human occupation in the Yarmouth area date to about 2,000 BC. During the years prior to the arrival of the Europeans, many Native American cultures are believed to have existed in the area.[8]

An old cotton mill, Sparhawk Mill, on Bridge Street, is now home to several small businesses. The original structure was built in the 1840s, but was rebuilt after a fire.

When settlers arrived at Yarmouth's site around 1636, they found a fort already built. The fort had for some time been occupied by George Felt, who had in turn purchased it from John Phillips, a Welshman. In 1646, William Royall purchased a farm on the river which has ever-since borne his last name (minus the second L). This stream and its vicinity were called by the Indians "Westcustogo" — a name that, until the early 1990s, was preserved by an inn of the same name on Princes Point Road at its intersection with Lafayette Street.[9] (The building remains, but it is now occupied by another business.) There is also a Westcustogo Park in North Yarmouth. John Cousins had arrived a year or more earlier than Royall, occupying the neck of land between the branches of the stream which has since been called Cousins River, and owning the island now bearing his name.

In 1674, the first sawmill was built at the Royal River's first waterfalls.[8] There are three other falls in Yarmouth: the second (which is actually a dam) is just north of the Sparhawk Mill, on Bridge Street; the third, a paper mill (owned by The Forest Paper Company) whose remnants can still be seen, is within the bounds of Royal River Park; and the fourth is another dam, near the intersection of East Elm Street and Melissa Drive.

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.[8]

Some settlers returned to their dwellings in 1679, and within twelve months the region became incorporated as North Yarmouth, the eighth town of the province of Maine. Around the same time, saw and gristmills at the first falls were rebuilt.[8]

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 Royal River rushing by the mill en route to the first falls.

The unrest kept the area deserted for many years, but by 1715 settlers revisited their homes, by which point they found their fields and the sites of their habitations covered by a young growth of trees. In 1722, a "Committee for the Resettlement of North Yarmouth" was formed in Boston, Massachusetts. North Yarmouth held its first town meeting on May 14, 1733. The structural frame of the first meeting house was raised in 1729, and nine years later the first school was built.

Once resettlement began, the town's population began to grow rapidly. By 1764, 1,098 individuals lived in 154 houses. By 1810, the population was 3,295. During a time of peace, settlement began to relocate along the coast and inland.[8]

The town's Main Street gradually became divided into the Upper Village and Lower Falls, the split roughly located around the present-day U.S. Route 1 overpass. In 2014, the overpass, which was built in the 1950s, became a source of discussion after the Maine Department of Transportation told the town that it either needs renovated or torn down. MDOT originally offered six options: two featuring a roundabout, a two-lane bridge, a four-lane bridge, and two ideas for removing the bridge and creating intersections at Main Street. The town, in turn, narrowed the choices down to a two-lane bridge and the smaller of the two intersection options.[10] A decision is planned for June 2015.

Among the new proprietors at the time were descendants of the Plymouth Pilgrims. Until after the year 1756 the Indians were again very troublesome. In 1725, William and Matthew Scales and Joseph Felt were killed, and the wife and children of the latter was carried into captivity. A grandson of Felt, Joseph Weare, became a noted scout, pursuing the Native Americans at every opportunity. In August 1746, a party of thirty-two Indians secreted themselves near the lower falls for the apparent purpose of surprising Weare's garrison, in the process killing Philip Greely, who came upon them. This was the last act of resistance by the indigenous people to occur within the limits of the town.

Looking west toward Main Street's Route 1 overpass and Brickyard Hollow. The future of the overpass became a subject of discussion in 2014.
Wooden plaques provided by Yarmouth Historical Society adorn notable buildings in the town.

Yarmouth constituted the eastern part of North Yarmouth until 1849, when it was set off and incorporated as an independent town. The split occurred due to bickering between the inland, farming-based contingent and the coastal maritime-oriented community. Unable to resolve this difference, the two halves of the town separated into present-day Yarmouth and North Yarmouth.[8]

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. [8]

Maritime activities were important from the beginning of the third settlement. Lumber from inland areas was shipped out from the harbor. Vessels were being built by 1740, and by 1818 shipbuilding in the area was in full swing, though Yarmouth's industry peaked in the 1870s, and declined rapidly shortly thereafter. The final large sailing vessel was built in 1890.[8] Almost three hundred vessels were launched by Yarmouth's shipyards in the century between 1790 and 1890.[11]

Rapid growth was experienced again around 1948 when Route 1 was constructed. Two years later, there were 2,699 inhabitants of the town. Interstate 295 was built through the harbor in 1961, and the town grew from 4,854 residents in 1970 to 8,300 thirty-five years later.


Lower Falls

The intersection of Main and Portland Streets. Rufus York's general store used to occupy the red-brick building. The site of Susan Kinghorn's millinery is now a Rosemont Bakery. The steeple belongs to the First Parish Congregational Church.

19th- and 20th-century business that existed on Main Street in Yarmouth's Lower Falls section included:[11]

  • Coombs (now Goffs hardware store)
  • Rufus York's general store (located in the brick building now occupied by Runge's Oriental Rug store at the western corner of Main and Portland Streets; then Vaughan's Rexall Pharmacy from 1945 to 1963, later William H. Rowe's, then Melville Merrill's, and finally Frank Bucknam's drugstores)
  • James Parsons' grocery store (located next to the then-post office)
  • Cornelius Shaw's Cash Market
  • Leon Doughty's stove and hardware store, L.A. Doughty & Co. (located across from Shaws' but eventually moved onto Shaws' side of the street, into the building occupied today by Goffs, when his business expanded)
  • William Freeman's hairdressing salon (located above Doughty's)
  • Cyrus Curtis' Saturday Evening Post publishers
  • Susan Kinghorn's millinery shop (located at the eastern corner of Main and Portland Streets)

Upper Village

Andy's Handy Store, at the corner of Main and East Elm Streets in the Upper Village. Known locally as Handy Andy's, it was the location of the first phone call between Yarmouth and Portland.[12]

Businesses in the Upper Village and the area around the intersection of Main and Elm Street, which officially became known as Yarmouthville in 1882, included:

  • William Marston's dry goods store
  • L.R. Cook's drugstore
  • J.O. Durgan's daguerreotype salon (located just to the west of the Yarmouth Crossing on the northern side of the street; later Gad Hitchcock's coffin and casket showroom)
  • (Albert and George) Coombs Bros. candy and grocery store (located at the corner of Main and South Streets)
  • Elmer Ring's "washerette" (he also ran a hardware store, a heating and plumbing service, and a coal yard)
  • Harold "Snap" Moxcey's barbershop
  • John A. Griffin's hardware store
  • Andy's Handy Store (original proprietor Leland "Andy" Anderson's business, which he set up in 1935, still exists today; formerly a nail mill, then Arthur and Harry Storer's hardware store, Storer Bros.)
  • Sam York's grocery store
  • George Jefford's harness shop
  • Isaac Johnson's barbershop (located above Jefford's)
  • Adelaide Abbott's millinery shop
  • Jeremiah Mitchell's tavern (a site now occupied by Latchstring Park)
  • Joel Brooks' pottery

The section of town between the Upper Village and Lower Falls was known as Brickyard Hollow, named for John Collins' brickyard. A post office also existed, to the east of the present-day American Legion Hall.[11]

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.[13] 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.[14] The building was replaced in 2008 and several businesses have moved in.

As of the early 2010s Yarmouth is mostly residential in character, with commercial development scattered throughout the town, particularly along Route 1 and Main Street (State Route 115).


Yarmouth is home of 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.[15]


North Yarmouth Academy.

The town has four schools:

  • William H. Rowe (Elementary) School (built 1955 and rebuilt in 2003)
  • Yarmouth Elementary School (built 1968 and named Yarmouth Intermediate School until 1992)
  • Frank H. Harrison Middle School (built 1992)
  • Yarmouth High School (built 1961 and 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 second in Maine and 198th in the country.[16]

The I-295 overpass on Lafayette Street (State Route 88).

North Yarmouth Academy (commonly abbreviated to "NYA"), meanwhile, is a private college preparatory school established in 1814. On October 17, 1998, the academy's ice arena was renamed the "Travis Roy Arena"[17] 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.


Yarmouth Crossing, where Main Street traverses the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, looking north.

Interstate 295 runs elevated through Yarmouth and has two exits (15 and 17) in the town. Route 1 (at grade and also a bridge over Main Street) and State Routes 88 and 115 also run through the town. The town also has two railroad junctions: Royal Junction (midway along Greely Road) and Yarmouth Junction (to the west of East Elm Street). The two railroads passing through the town are Guilford Rail System's Maine Central Railroad and the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (formerly Grand Trunk Railway). The Brunswick Branch of the Maine Central Railroad received a new lease of life in November 2012 when a northern extension of the Downeaster line was opened, carrying passengers three times a day to and from Brunswick's Maine Street Station via Freeport. On the southbound journeys, two trains terminate in Boston; one in Portland. The trains pass under two roads and over two crossings on their way through Yarmouth. They are (from south to north) West Main Street, Sligo Road, East Elm Street (just after Yarmouth Junction) and North Road. They pass through northbound at 6.20 AM, 11.55 AM and 7.45 PM (8:35 PM on weekends), and southbound at 7.30 AM, 6.20 PM and 8.55 PM (9:35 PM on weekends).

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.[18]

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.[18] This original part runs 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.[19] In 1998, an extension was added to the pathway that took it, in an unmarked fashion, 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.[20] It would bring the total length of the pathway to 1.7 miles;[18] 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".[18] The two-lane southbound side of the road was permanently reduced to one at the same time.[18] 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.


First Parish Congregational Church.

There are five churches in Yarmouth. Four of these are located on Main Street. They are (from east to west):

St. Bartholomew's Episcopal is on Gilman Road, heading towards Cousins Island.

The First Parish Congregational was originally known as the Meeting House Under the Ledge and was located facing dedicated the following year. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.[21] 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 Old Baptist Meeting House, on Hillside Street, was built in 1796. 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.[22]

The Church of the Nazarene on Route 1 became inactive in June 2012.


Yarmouth news is reported regularly in a number of different newspapers including the Portland Press Herald, The Notes, and The Falmouth Forecaster (Northern Edition).

The town is home to one radio station: WYAR, which broadcasts from Cousins Island.

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" stood on present-day East Main Street (State Route 88) at its intersection with Yankee Drive. This photograph taken prior to its spread being reduced in 2008. The tree succumbed to Dutch elm disease and was removed in January 2010.


"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.[23] At 110 feet in height, it was, between 1997 and the date of its felling,[24] the oldest[11] and largest[25] of its kind in New England.[26] 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.[26]

Frank Knight, Herbie's "warden", died in May 2012 at the age of 103. He looked after the tree for over fifty years.[27]

Notable people


See also


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "Minor Civil Division Population Search Results". University of Maine. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Yarmouth Historical Society, via the Yarmouth/North Yarmouth Community Guide, Portland Press Herald, Summer 2007
  9. ^ Westcustogo Inn
  10. ^ "Yarmouth to tackle future of Route 1 overpass" - The Forecaster, November 19 2014
  11. ^ a b c d Images of America: Yarmouth, Hall, Alan M., Arcadia (2002)
  12. ^ According to a plaque inside the store
  13. ^ "Arsonist could get 20 years in prison" - Portland Press Herald, November 12, 2009
  14. ^ "Arsonist to serve 11 years, pay $3.7M to businesses displaced in Yarmouth, York" - The Forecaster, November 12, 2009
  15. ^ - "Eartha, The World’s Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe"
  16. ^ U.S. News and World Report, Best High School Rankings, Yarmouth, Maine
  17. ^ Travis Roy Arena at
  18. ^ a b c d e "Pathway with a purpose in Yarmouth: Improvements continue 20 years after Beth Condon's death" - The Forecaster, August 7, 2013
  19. ^ "Condon garden to be rededicated in Yarmouth" - The Forecaster, July 30, 2014
  20. ^ "Yarmouth may finish pathway" - Portland Press Herald, August 15 2011
  21. ^ Our History - First Parish Congregational Church
  22. ^ "Steeplejacks nail high spire act" - Portland Press Herald, September 22 2011
  23. ^ Joseph's College Magazine"Will elm trees make their way back?" - St.
  24. ^ According to the plaque on its trunk.
  25. ^ "Yarmouth braces for Herbie's demise" - Portland Press Herald, August 10, 2009
  26. ^ a b The National Register of Big Trees: 2000-01
  27. ^ "Frank Knight Dead: 'Herbie' The Elm Tree Caretaker Dies At 103" - Huffington Post, May 14, 2012
  28. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  29. ^ F. Lee Bailey Story

External links

  • Town of Yarmouth official website
  • Yarmouth news on
  • Maine Genealogy: Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Maine

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