Did you ever wonder why Spring Street in Kennebunkport is so named? It was the way to the freshwater spring that stood along Mast Cove between The Village Baptist Church and the White Columned Nott House. Its location is clearly indicated on both the 1856 map and the 1872 map of Kennebunkport. That spring was in use long before the town of Kennebunkport fashioned a town water system. In fact, residents of Kennebunkport were already relying on the spring for drinking water before the Village Baptist Church was built in 1838. When Captain Eliphalet Perkins conveyed the lot to the Village Baptist Society, upon which to build their village church, he reserved a six-foot-wide right of way to provide village residents continued access to the Mast Cove freshwater spring. The conveyance stipulated that the path to the spring was never to be fenced in.
We also had the Spring Hotel in Kennebunkport on Elm Street where the Kennebunkport Town Offices now stand. A fascinating description of Kennebunkport Village in the 1840s called Dissolving Views appeared in the August 1, 1913 issue of the Kennebunkport summer paper, The Sea Shell. One of the final paragraphs of the article explains how the Spring Hotel got its name.
“Shall we stop for a little at the famed Spring Hotel? It used to be called “The Tavern,” and was an old house a hundred years ago. It got its name of Spring Hotel, by which it will always be remembered, from the custom of its patrons to take their pitchers after supper and go up to the spring back of the Baptist church to fill them with drinking water, which; was a little better than from any other source.”
Residents of the North Street neighborhoods used a barrel spring accessed from a platform that extended out from the bridge over Mast Cove. A picture of the North Street spring appeared in 1901 book Ropes Ends written by Annie Peabody Brooks. I have shared the picture, probably taken in 1888, here today.
Cecil Benson, Sr., who was born in 1905 and lived on North St for many years was interviewed for an oral history project in 1978 at the Kennebunkport Historical Society. He did not remember the platform, but he did remember the barrel which 7 or 8 feet was high and out from the bridge at the end of a 10 to 12 foot platform. He and his friends used to stop on the bridge on their way home from school to toss rocks in the barrel. Arthur Lombard was also interviewed. He born in 1902. His father-in-law, who owned and ran the Grist Mill, told Lombard that the people who lived near the North St bridge used to use the spring standing on the platform to dip up water from it in a bucket. Lombard remembers seeing the platform and the barrel but has no memory of the spring actually being used in his time.
1856 Map shows the spring at the end of Spring Street and the location of the Spring Hotel on Elm St. The Spring Hotel burned in the massive Skating Rink Fire of 1887.
1872 Map shows the spring at the end of Spring Street and the location of the Spring Hotel on Elm St., which in 1872 was owned and operated by Ivory Goodwin. The Spring Hotel burned in the massive Skating Rink Fire of 1887.