What is the “Foreside”?

Recently someone asked me, “What is the Foreside”? I responded by spouting off the streets in this area. They countered, “No, what IS the Foreside”?

Dictionary.com defines “Foreside” as the front or upper side/land extending along the sea. As I pondered the definition, I realized what a forgotten part the Working Waterfront is to Kittery’s Foreside. Fishing, lobstering, trade and travel have all contributed to the economy here for hundreds of years.

Fishing is one of the industries that Kittery was built on. Fish shanties and wharfs still dot the bank just feet from the Foreside. Obvious from the Piscataqua River, they are almost unseen from the street. Kittery foreside wharf

In the early days cod, haddock and  mackeral were abundant. My Great Aunt remembers “the Foyes that lived behind the Second Congregational Church. They had a wharf there. They would salt the fish that they caught and sell it.”

Lobstering has been a staple industry here also. Traps can be seen stacked high on boats and piers along the back channel. Warren Wurm ran a wholesale lobster business and in 1941 opened the dining room on his lobster pier, still known today as “Warren’s”.

Trade along the river was a booming enterprise. Boulter Coal was one of the best examples of this. Coal would come by schooner to the dock. It could then be transported to the train that ran through town.   The Foreside was the perfect solution for the transportation of goods.My beautiful picturePiscataqua View of Boulter Coal

One hundred years ago, before the Memorial Bridge, the way across the river was the ferry. The ferry landing was on Badger’s Island. From there you could ride the trolly, it ran down Government Street, Wallingford Square on to Wentworth Street then out to the resorts in Kittery Point and York Beach. If you needed to traveled to Portsmouth, perhaps to shop or see a vaudeville show  you could get there by ferry for a nickel.Ferry from Kittery to PortsmouthWhen the Foreside is mentioned most of us think of the restaurants, the old post office, shops or library that has occupied this area over the years. So next time you are here consider beyond the sidewalks and gaze out at the land that extends to the sea.

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Images from Today’s Public Forum: The Kittery Grange & Foreside Project

On Sunday, thirty people gathered at the Grange to share stories about the Grange and the Foreside.  Some great memories and presentations were bantered back and forth.  Below are some images of the event.

Ursula & Dick dance to the jazz that filled the hall before the start of the meeting.

Ursula & Dick dance to the jazz that filled the hall before the start of the meeting.

Kim shares her considerable knowledge of the Foreside’s History at the registration desk.

Kim shares her considerable knowledge of the Foreside’s History at the registration desk.

An enthusiastic public arrives at the Dance Hall, Kittery.

An enthusiastic public arrives at the Dance Hall, Kittery.

Jackson discusses the project with Foreside residents.
Jackson discusses the project with Foreside residents.

The table of historic photos of Foreside landmarks was a huge success.

The table of historic photos of Foreside landmarks was a huge success.

 

Drika of the Dance Hall, Kittery opens the forum and explains the project.

Drika of the Dance Hall, Kittery opens the forum and explains the project.

 

 Kim provides an overview of Foreside landmarks and history.


Kim provides an overview of Foreside landmarks and history.

Cathy provides information on how people can participate in the project.

Cathy provides information on how people can participate in the project.

People’s memories on the map. Guest were invited to share there Foreside memories and place them on a map to show where they happened.

People’s memories on the map. Guest were invited to share there Foreside memories and place them on a map to show where they happened.