Boys at Quamphegan Landing, South Berwick, ca. 1900

Contributed by Old Berwick Historical Society

Boys at Quamphegan Landing, South Berwick, ca. 1900

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The Salmon Falls River separates Maine and New Hampshire at South Berwick, in this view looking upstream and northward toward the falls, marking the limit of navigation. For many years, the bridge in the distance carried stagecoaches into Maine.

Before European settlement, Abenaki fishermen named this part of the river "Quamphegan," meaning “a place for fishing with dip nets.” A deed from 1650 recorded the sale of the site by the Abenaki leader Sagamore Rowls to settler Thomas Spencer.

The shallow water of the landing was reached only by gundalows, canoes and other small boats bringing cargoes upstream on the tide. Boats reaching Quamphegan from the Atlantic moored against heavy granite walls and brought ashore such goods as seafood, rum, and manufactured products from afar, as well as cotton for the mill. Heading downstream, vessels laden with lumber and cotton processed by water power had a route via the Piscataqua River to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the sea.

Between 1834 and 1917, Quamphegan Landing was the site of the Portsmouth Company cotton mill, at right in the background. The factory employed about 200 workers and became one of the county's largest industries before closing in 1894.

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About This Item

  • Title: Boys at Quamphegan Landing, South Berwick, ca. 1900
  • Creation Date: circa 1900
  • Subject Date: circa 1900
  • Local Name: Quamphegan Landing
  • Town: South Berwick
  • County: York
  • State: ME
  • Media: Photographic print
  • Dimensions: 8.4 cm x 8.7 cm
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Old Berwick Historical Society
P.O. Box 296; Corner of Main and Liberty Streets, South Berwick, ME 03908
(207) 384-0000

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