The John Hancock Wharf and Marshall Store - York, ME
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
N 43° 08.212 W 070° 39.452
19T E 365196 N 4777347
Quick Description: Here is an open museum where one can wander among the real-life displays in the old warehouse along the York River, and visit the art museum in the 1870 G.A. Marshall store. This marker gives background history of commerce on the York River.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 4/5/2012 12:27:17 AM
Waymark Code: WME56G
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 2

Long Description:

The John Hancock Wharf
and Marshall House

The John Hancock Wharf is the earliest surviving wharf and warehouse from York's period as a colonial port, dating from the 1870s. Used as the town's first customshouse after the Revolution, it is named for the Boston patriot John Hancock, who briefly owned it in the 1790s.

Next to the warehouse and fronting on Lindsay Road is the circa 1870 George Marshall Store. This structure was a center for mercantile activity along the York River for close to a century, selling not only a "general line" of goods, but also wood and coal, all unloaded at the wharf behind the building.

York River waterfront in a view taken about 1910. At the left is shown the Marshall Store with the Hancock Warehouse just behind and to the right. This rare image documents the twilight of the river trade with schooners docked and unloading goods at the Marshall Wharf. Within a few years, railroads would supercede water borne vessels for the transportation of goods and this age old method of trade would be eclipsed, leaving wharves empty and silent. Photograph collection of Old York Historical Society.




John Hancock Warehouse
York, Maine


On our visit, the warehouse was just open, allowing visitors to wander through the building that has been wonderfully restored with period artifacts so that one has the complete illusion of stepping 300 years into the past. The nearby Marshall House is now an art museum and gift shop.




Here is the description of this site from the Old York Historical Society which maintains it along with eight other museums.

The John Hancock Warehouse and George Marshall Store document three hundred years of commercial life along the York River. Of the many wharves and warehouses which fronted the river and York Harbor in the 18th century, the John Hancock Warehouse is the only remaining commercial building from the Colonial period in York. The York River was the town's major "highway" and played a significant role in York history. The river shaped the daily lives of townspeople in the 18th century and gave York a more cosmopolitan outlook and influence than most inland communities of that time.

The exact construction date of the warehouse is not known, but it is thought to date from the 1740s. Local historians cite Thomas Donnell as first owner of the wharf and builder of the warehouse. The Warehouse was later sold to Daniel Bragdon who came into financial difficulties during the Revolutionary War and was forced to borrow from Boston patriot John Hancock, mortgaging his warehouse interest in 1787. When Bragdon died four years later, the property passed to Hancock. John Hancock owned Bragdon's share of the property until his death in 1793.

The warehouse acted as a store and was likely used as the Customs House for the District Port of York. The customs collector collected taxes on ships coming into harbor loaded with china, fabrics, silver, furniture, and tea by way of London and Boston. Coasters that traded at ports from Nova Scotia to Georgia carried mail, grain, and furs. Barrel staves and hoops, tallow, apples and potatoes were exported from York to the West Indies.

Address and /or location:
John Hancock Wharf Lindsay Road York, Maine


Who put it there (Sponsor): Old York Historic Society

Date (Erected or Dediated): Undated

Visit Instructions:
1) A new photo taken by you. Make it a quality one. You do not have to be in it, nor your hand held.
2) Some new insight to the history, and/or your personal experience finding the site.
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