Home to some of the most interesting artifacts and documentation that still survives to chronicle the history of the coastal areas of New Hampshire and Maine, The Counting House Museum is itself a valuable piece of the area’s history.
The building – which did operate as a real counting house – is the last surviving remnant of a huge mill – The Portsmouth Manufacturing Cotton Mill – that at its height of production processed 1300 bales of cotton every year – mostly shipped to the area from Southern plantations – producing 2 million yards of sheeting annually.
The Counting House not only housed the mill’s accountants but it also served as the center of much of the community’s social lives, especially when the “Lighting Up Ball” was held every August in the ballroom located on the upper floor of the building.
The Ballroom is also still in existence and operation and it plays host to the annual meeting of the Old Berwick Historical Society membership.
The mill finally closed its doors in 1893 and all the buildings were torn down, with the exception of the Counting House which since 1962 has been preserved and maintained by the volunteer members of the Old Berwick Historical Society.
Over the years the Society have amassed an impressive collection of archives and artifacts and have used them to create both permanent and temporary exhibits that chronicle the history of the area and the lives of the people who lived and worked there centuries ago.