Friday, April 29, 2011

New Use Sought for Historic House

With the departure of South Berwick Public Library expected next year, the Jewett Eastman Memorial Committee is now exploring the future of the Jewett-Eastman House.
The property has been a community center since the death of Theodore Eastman, Sarah Orne Jewett’s nephew, in 1931. The author herself had lived here more than half her life, writing over 140 stories, novels and poems during the 33 years before she moved to the Jewett House, her birthplace next door, in 1887.
After the Jewett Eastman House was bequeathed to Historic New England, it was at different times a tea room, a gathering place for bridal showers and other festivities, and a meeting hall for such organizations as the South Berwick Rotary, the South Berwick Woman’s Club, and even a 1950’s group called the Sarah Orne Jewett Garden Club. In 1971, volunteers organized the South Berwick Public Library on the first floor.
Community organizations who would be interested in occupying this local landmark, either as a renter or an owner, are invited to contact the JEM Committee with proposals by August 1. The current use is to house the 1,500 square foot library and an apartment on the second floor.
The committee expects to make a decision within the next nine months. The JEM Committee can be reached at PO Box 35, South Berwick, ME 03908, or at
Photo caption: The Jewett Eastman Memorial Committee, owner of the Jewett Eastman House, is seeking proposals for a new use for the building now that it is being vacated by South Berwick Public Library. The building has been a community center since 1931. It was built by the family of author Sarah Orne Jewett and served as her home. (Courtesy photo)