A Shipbuilder's Home
It is hard to visualize this today, but the mouth of the Royal River, just down the hill from 35 East Main Street, was once the site of a thriving shipbuilding industry. The protected harbor was an ideal location for shipbuilding and at the industry’s peak between 1850 and 1875. Four shipyards, two on each side of the river, were building a range of boats including trade‑sloops, schooners, brigantines, barks, and barkentines. By 1871, the area surrounding the harbor was a complete town with many houses, numerous shops, mills, and a brickyard. Today, the industry is gone and only a few businesses remain. The streets of historic houses are lined with tall trees and the setting is peaceful.
35 East Main Street is known as the Jeremiah Baker House after its builder. The house was built about 1848, and overlooked the shipyards of its first owner, Jeremiah Baker. In addition to his shipyard and wharf on the east side of the Royal River, Baker owned various other businesses including a carding mill, a tannery, a plaster mill and a brickyard. He also served as a Town selectman from 1850 through 1853 and may have had his office on the ground floor of the house. Baker and his family are buried nearby in the local Baptist cemetery.