Oldest Brick Residence in Biddeford
Respectfully submitted by Paul McDonough, Board Member of the Biddeford Historical Society
With the conclusion of the American Revolution and the increase in economic prosperity for people across New England, Biddeford can be noted as a true boom town. Before the Revolution roads were pathways, private residences were under construction made from the natural resources afforded them, and industry was limited to those incorporating simple machines into the production process. The new York Manufacturing Company’s brick cotton mill on “Indian – Factory Island” set the stage for things to come. The two major areas of population density were “Winter Harbor” or “The Pool” and the “Falls Village”. The greatest development of our “town” was near the great falls of the Saco River.
By 1830 Biddeford’s population had risen to about 1,300 citizens. Three quarters of them lived in the Falls Village. White’s Wharf, White’s Bridge, the Shipyard and a nail factory on Indian Island (Saco Island) dominated the lower portion of the village. There was no Main St., but Nason’s Hill, Water St. and a number of sights we would be familiar with today were in place.
During the decade between 1830 and 1840 change was taking place with great rapidity. External investment would remold the Falls Village into a production super power. Bricks and mortar replaced the timber and planking, marking the massive need for more supplies in the construction of the rising mills. Brickyards emerged as a valuable entity to the building industry. The clay was procured upriver along the banks of the Saco. Mixed with sand and water, then baked in ovens, these bricks numbered in the millions. Not relegated to just industrial purposes they were also used in a number of new home construction projects. The façade of Biddeford would be drastically altered in a twenty-year period.
The first home constructed of bricks in Biddeford was at 1 Stone St. off of Lincoln St in 1831. The owner was David Stone (hence the name Stone St.) It was a gracious hip roofed mansion for the time. David Stone was a proprietor of a prosperous tannery located on the present site of the Bangor Savings Bank today. In the 20th century the home was purchased and modified into the Sansoucy-Blais Funeral Parlor. Upon its closure in the late 1970s it was purchased and converted by the government supported Head Start program and continues to be so. Located in the very heart of Biddeford if this building could talk …oh the tales she could spin.