Frank E. Swasey (born mid-1860s, died 1936) owned this house on Nealley Street in South Berwick, Maine. He, was a "shoe operator" according to census records. Family members believe he was born in Massachusetts, but he seems to have grown up on Pond Road, South Berwick, in a house occupied by his father, Charles W. Swasey, shown on the Atlas of York County map of 1872. Charles lived 1828-1910 and was associated with the railroad and South Berwick Junction.
Frank E. Swasey also operated Quamphegan Park, the amusement park associated with the trolley system that ran from 1903-1923. He may have even owned the park.
His daughter, Cora Currier, told an interviewer near the end of her life that her father moved the entire family to live at the amusement park every summer during the 1910s. Cora’s brothers “sold popcorn during the entertaining bandstand concerts,” the interviewer recounted. “Mr. Swasey's wife, Cora's mother, cooked at the restaurant where hot dogs and hamburgers were sold. Every Sunday, Mrs. Swasey would make a fish chowder complete with pickles and crackers. Price was 25 cents."
Frank E. Swasey apparently built the Swasey-Currier house as a duplex. A town survey of 1904 seems to indicate it was standing by that date. The document lists this family on Nealley Street: Frank E. Swasey, shoe operator; Elizabeth A. (Goddard) Swasey, housework; Fred H. Swasey, student; and Henry C. Swasey. Fred and Henry's sister, Cora Elizabeth Swasey, was born in 1906 according to Vital Records of South Berwick. The 1904 census also lists Frank E. Swasey's in-laws as living on Nealley: James Goddard, mill operator; his wife Lavina (Needham) Goddard, housework; Elizabeth A. Goddard, housework (presumably this is Mrs. Swasey, accidentally counted in both families); and Adam Goddard, hotel clerk, who is indicated as actually living and working in Boston. It seems likely all these relatives were living under one roof.
If so, the extended Swasey-Goddard family would have been living in this duplex -- three generations from Goddard grandparents to Swasey grandchildren -- and it was perhaps built with this in mind. The Goddard couple would have been in their 60s, the Swaseys in their 40s. Vital records indicate Mrs. Goddard died in 1907 at age 67, and James in 1916 at age 80.
Fred Swasey married Rosie Rivers in 1915 at St. Michael’s Church (the building that became South Berwick Library), with Rev. Fr. Denis J. O'Brien officiating. They had a son, Fred H. Swasey, born in 1918.
On the multi-generational use of the Swasey house apparently continued in the 1930s and 40s, when the family also raised chickens in the yard. Great-granddaughter Liz Hoyt said, "The family from great-grandfather to great-granddaughter lived in the house." Cemetery records show Frank E. Swasey lived till 1936 and his wife Elizabeth till 1943. William Currier had a son William in 1941. Henry Swasey married in 1932.
(This summary, from archives at the Counting House Museum, was updated December 2020.)