Views of Central Square, 1895 & 1900 – 333 Central Ave
The larger photo shows Central (Lower) Square ca 1895 at the corner where Central Avenue and Washington Street merge. In the dormered wooden building curving around the corner are, among others, Michael Sherry’s hair dresser shop, James Demerritt’s Dover Grocery Company and Kerwin and McGrail’s apothecary shop (“open after the theatre for hot and cold sodas”). The taller brick building at the left is the Strafford Banks building (ca 1847) and it was the bank’s expansion that forever changed the look of Central Square. Shortly after this photo was taken, the wooden building was razed and the large granite Strafford Banks building was erected in its place. Called the “Fortress of Finance” it can be seen nearly unchanged to this day, in the smaller photo which dates from about 1900.
Also in the smaller photo are the electrified cars of the Dover, Somersworth and Rochester Railway, owned at the time by Henry Burgett, proprietor of Burgett’s (later called Central) Park in Somersworth on Willand Pond. A large fleet of seven closed cars, eleven open, and three snowplows ran from Sawyer’s Mills to the amusement/recreation area at the Dover-Somersworth line. The streetcars changed names and owners several times, terminating in 1926 as Dover, Somersworth and Rochester Railway. The DS&R was also known as Damn Slow and Rough!
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