Edgecomb was originally settled in 1744 by Samuel Trask and others, in "several places," who for ten years occupied the land under an Indian deed of questionable validity. The settlement was known as Freetown until its incorporation as part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1774. Absorbing Jeremy Squam (Westport Island) it took a new name after Lord Edgecomb, “a friend of the Colonies.” Initial development was recorded in an early 1752 map showing long narrow lots stretching eastward from the Sheepscot River, many of which are still recognizable on the current Land Use Map. The earliest public structures were animal pounds followed by 13 schools, and after nearly twenty years of deliberation and planning, the town hall was completed in 1794. The Congregational Church, Free Baptist Church and the Methodist Chapel were constructed during the 19th century. Gradually, roads were established set back from the rivers followed by inland connectors.
Edgecomb’s only “Government” building, Fort Edgecomb, sits as silent testimony to this country’s military history during its early formative years.
Early settlement dating to the mid-to-late 18th through early 19th centuries is evidenced by theremaining period structures scattered throughout town. While a few clusters of early buildings or homes built fairly close to one another do exist, most early settlement in Edgecomb seems to have been widely separated.
A number of buildings constructed during the late Colonial period remain in Edgecomb. The 19th century brought, in addition to some Federal “high style” houses, the Greek Revival cape, which continued to be built throughout the late 19th century and into the 20th century and can be found along most Edgecomb roads—all or most beginning as family farms.
In the 1880s, the flamboyant architectural styles of the Romantic decades were countered by the Shingle Style, in which the building was viewed as a simple, organic, flowing form. These buildings heralded the shift that was to follow in the 20th century, the gentle inclusion for Edgecomb of a summer population.
During the first half of the 20th century many of the houses built represent a subtle change in Edgecomb. In the early 20th century, as the quiet, rural, river-bounded countryside of Edgecomb attracted summer residents from the cities to the south, dwellings representing a more seasonal life style began to take their place among the traditional dwellings of the previous decades. In the first decade of the 20th century, the simple Four-Square appeared with its hip roof, forthright simple presentation and link to the more basic architecture of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
As Edgecomb’s seasonal community grew, simple buildings such as the Craftsman or Arts and Crafts cottage, the Bungalow, as well as the simple Maine cottage begin to edge the shores of both the Damariscotta and Sheepscot rivers.
A complete inventory with photographs of 230 Edgecomb buildings over fifty years old is on file at the town and through the Edgecomb Historical Society.
Typical of the 18th through the 19th century New England custom of moving buildings, a number of Edgecomb structures have begun life in other locations. On Eddy Road, tradition holds that 147 Eddy Road, known as “The Marie Antoinette House,” was moved from Jeremy Squam.
The re-use of buildings was typical of prudent New England during the 18th through the 19th centuries, and continues today (On Board Fabrics, 205A Boothbay Road, the transformation of a former farm building to a commercial space for the sale of retail textiles; Woodsong, 42 Cross Point Road, the conversion of a Second Empire dwelling to a bed and breakfast inn; the Eddy School, 31 Cross Point Road, converted to senior housing; and the Eddy Marina building, 152 Eddy Road, the conversion of a possible storage building once part of a demolished store).