Our Community

The Five Towns – A Brief History

somersworth area chamber of commerce: five towns

Somersworth, Rollinsford, Berwick, South Berwick and North Berwick. These five communities are each within close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and have shared one of America’s oldest regional histories for nearly four centuries. The Salmon Falls River that delineates the boundary between the States of New Hampshire and Maine attracted early European settlers to the region in the 17th century, and these five communities have been intertwined and bound together by the river, their history, commerce, and culture ever since that time.

Somersworth and Rollinsford are located in Strafford County, New Hampshire while Berwick, South Berwick, and North Berwick are located in York County, Maine. Each of these communities still retains the spirit and rural attractiveness of a typical, small New England village. The combined population of the five towns is just about 30,000 though Somersworth, incorporated as a city, makes up more than a third of that population.

The culture shared by these communities is rooted in a rich, proud, Old Yankee spirit born out of the early struggles to survive tough, harsh winters. The region is still home to descendants of the early shipbuilders, fishermen, farmers, and the mill workers of the boom-time eras of the textile and shoe industries. Many of the mill buildings still remain along the Salmon Falls River and the Great Works River.

We hope visitors to the area enjoy the simple, natural beauty of these Old Yankee villages on the Southeast Maine/New Hampshire border.