These Are the Oldest Businesses in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire
As I pulled into Tendercrop Farm in Dover, New Hampshire, this morning, which I have done hundreds of times, I noticed something for the first time.
The building looked familiar to me. I did not know why. But I had seen the big red barn that is Tendercrop Farm somewhere before.
Then it clicked. I saw it as a social media post listed as the oldest business in New Hampshire.
I did a little digging, and it was true. Tendercrop Farm, in Dover New Hampshire, used to be known as Tuttle's Red Barn, and it is the oldest business in New Hampshire.
According to an AG Classroom article:
In 1632, John Tuttle set sail from England to Dover, New Hampshire. There he set up a farm on seven acres of land. From those humble beginnings the Tuttle family story became America's story. As the Tuttle's passed down the farm, along the way they witnessed the settlement and expansion of New England; they fought in the American Revolution; they helped runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad and sold maple syrup to Abraham Lincoln; they bought the first Model T in Dover; and they transformed the old barn into the thriving country store it is today.
Now knowing the oldest business in New Hampshire, I wanted to know the oldest business in Maine and Massachusetts.
For Massachusetts, we need to go back to 1642, which is wild.
"Barker’s Farm was established in 1642 and has been run by 10 generations of the family, making it the oldest continuously owned and operated family farm in the United States," according to a Salem Witch Museum article.
Maine's longest-running business, similar to Barker's Farm, is still open.
The longest business there is The Seaside Inn & Cottages on Kennebunk Beach, Maine. Still to this day, it "is the only lodging in the area to be located directly on the beach and to be open regardless of whether it's "in" beach season or "out" of beach season," according to a Distracted Wanderer article.
The Gooch Family - for whom the beach in front of the inn is named - have been innkeepers in Kennebunk for nine generations while they can trace their history in the area back twelve generations to John Gooch, an early settler from Gloucester, England who came to Maine (which was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820 when it voted to secede) in 1637. In the 1650s, Gooch was asked by Fernando Gorges, agent for King Charles II, to reside on the oceanfront peninsula at the mouth of the Kennebunk River in order to ferry travelers across. Gooch took on the task of ferryman and as those travelers often also needed to spend a night or two before their crossing, Gooch offered them rooms and meals creating the area's first inn.
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