Town House Corners, now considered the sleepy side of Kennebunkport, was at one time the hub of its agriculture, government, religion and transportation. This interesting panoramic shot owned by the Kennebunkport Historical Society shows one side of that historic triangle. It includes, from left to right, The Farmers Club or Grange Hall, The Drown House later Wink’s Place, The “new” Town Hall and the Poor Farm at the far right.
The Kennebunkport Farmer’s Club was founded in 1883. The members built their own clubhouse, barely seen at the far left of the panorama, in 1910. Kennebunkport artist, Abbott Graves organized a fair at the clubhouse to help pay off the mortgage for the building in 1912. The club was dissolved in 1922 and the building became The Arundel Grange.
The original Town House School stood in the churchyard of the First Congregational Church as early as 1764. The second Town House School was across North St from where the schoolhouse now stands. It was a tiny little building that appeared on both the 1856 and the 1872 maps. In 1899, the town voted to build the new Town House School that now belongs to the Kennebunkport Historical Society. The tiny old Town House School was sold to Atlantic Shore Railway to be used as a trolley waiting room. The Drown house stood very near the old schoolhouse so the Trolley company had it moved across to where it stands now. An addition to the Drown house was used as Wink’s Place until recently.
In 1902, a new 40’x80′ Town Hall, designed by artist, Abbott Graves, was built by Octavious Hutchins, next door to the Drown House for $2569.84. When North Kennebunkport broke off from Kennebunkport in 1916 Kennebunkport Town Offices were moved to the second floor of Village Fire Station. The town continued to use the 1902 Town Hall for meetings until 1952 when the new Consolidated School could accommodate crowds. The 1902 Town Hall building was purchased at auction by Wesley Boynton and Morse Haithwaite as a new home for Arundel Opera Theatre in 1953. The building was dismantled and rebuilt as a 500-seat theatre on North St between West and Lock streets, by Arthur Hendrick’s Construction Company. The Opera Company performed there until it was dissolved in 1963. St Martha’s Catholic Church occupied the building next until the Town of Kennebunkport bought it back in 1997. It was torn down to make way for the new Village Fire Station.
The first Kennebunkport Poor Farm occupied the federal house at the corner of West St. and North St. The next Poor Farm was in the blue house now at the corner of North St and Wesmore Lane. The Poor Farm in the panoramic photo located at the corner of Sinnott Road and North St. was first used as such in 1849. When North Kennebunkport broke off from Kennebunkport in 1916 a pretty complex boundary line between the towns had to be negotiated in that area. The Town of Kennebunkport voted to sell the old Poor Farm in January 1968. It was purchased in 1970 by Thomas Brigham who donated the potters’ field to the town in 1976.