York history

Explore York History

A coastal
cultural Gem

York is also known for its history, as the first chartered English city in North America in 1641.Sites to explore include the Old Gaol, Jefferd’s Tavern and The Old School House.

Cape Neddick Light 1879

A 41′ white cast-iron conical tower on the summit of Cape Neddick, a small offshore rocky islet. Located off Route 1A, in York Beach. Affectionately referred to by the locals as The Nubble Light, and proud to be listed as the “most photographed” lighthouse.

Boon Island Light 1811/1855

133′ gray granite conical tower, located offshore 6 miles east of York Beach.

Whaleback Light 1831/1872

75′ gray granite conical tower on a reef. Outer entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, Piscataqua River entrance. View from Fort Foster, Kittery.

The Old Gaol

Old Gaol This colonial jail was built in 1719 from the remnants of York’s original jail which was built in 1656. The jail housed prisoners as well as the gaoler and his family. Recognized as the oldest jail in the United States, visitors can visit the cells and dungeon seasonally.

Jefferd’s Tavern

Built in 1754, this tavern was on the King’s Highway from Boston to Falmouth, Maine and was relocated to York in the early ‘40s. This colonial tavern offered travelers a welcome beverage as they travelled through Maine.

The Old School House

Built in the early 1800s, the one room school house offers a glimpse into York’s educational past. Don’t miss the graffiti on the horsehair plaster walls from the school children, especially the depictions of the sailing ships!


For more information check out the seasonal tours through the York Historical Society. http://oldyork.org/visit.html

Local events

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