Royal River Cabins

1 Spring St Yarmouth

Yarmouth: Harbor History/Royal River Cabins
Yarmouth Historical Society
Written By Yarmouth Historical Society

Our mission is to collect, preserve, and educate the public about the history of the town of Yarmouth and the area of ancient North Yarmouth. Yarmouth Historical Society has one of the finest local history collections in Maine. The Society exhibits this collection at the Yarmouth History Center at 118 East Elm Street, Yarmouth, Maine. At the Center, visitors can view some of the collection’s thousands of objects, archives, and photographs that document our heritage from the early history to yesterday.

Royal River Cabins

As you walk along East Main Street, please use the sidewalk. The houses on this part of the walking tour are privately owned; please be respectful!

Adaline Crockett, owner of the nearby Royal River Inn at 51 East Main Street, expanded her hospitality business with a complex of tourist cabins, coffee shop, and other amenities at the intersection of East Main and Spring Streets. These Royal River Cabins operated from about 1930 until 1951, a time when automobile travel boomed and the main tourist thoroughfare followed the path of today's Route 88 (formerly Route One). According to contemporary advertising materials, the 14 cabins could accommodate about 80 guests and boasted amenities like electric lights, running water, electric ranges, showers, and flush toilets. A small coffee shop was on site. Also within easy reach were opportunities to fish, swim, boat, and golf. Indeed, the aerial view above shows the prime riverside location which would have been close to other roadside attractions, shops, and restaurants. Accommodation at the cabins was available for about $1 per person per night.

When the business closed in the 1950s, this area had already undergone significant changes. Route One had been relocated to its present path in the late 1940s, diverting a lot of tourist traffic away from Yarmouth's harbor area. Some of the cabins were repurposed as homes that still stand in this area today. A few were moved offsite to other locations and some were likely razed.

A Special Guest

The Royal River Cabins made the news in 1946 when Eleanor Roosevelt and her dog Fala spent the night. Roosevelt, on her way to Campobello to dedicate a memorial to Franklin Roosevelt, had booked a room at the Eastland Hotel in Portland, but declined to stay when hotel staff informed her that Fala would not be allowed in the room and could instead stay in a kennel in the hotel garage. The two continued on their way and found accommodation in Yarmouth instead. In her syndicated newspaper column for August 6, 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt recounted:

Some of the papers in the Maine area made a good deal of the fact that, on my trip up to Campobello Island, I could not stay overnight at a hotel in Portland because I had Fala with me. Since it was a hotel rule, the clerk was quite right to stick to it and I had no complaint. I did not know of the rule because I had never stayed in that hotel before, and I would not have telegraphed for rooms there if I had not forgotten the name of the hotel where I usually stay. I remembered this hotel because my son had stayed there when he made a speech in Portland last spring. The fault was mine, since I had not mentioned that I would have a dog with me. And it made no difference because, when I stopped for supper in Yarmouth, I asked if there were any cabins nearby that would take me in with a dog, and I found a place at once and had a very comfortable night.

Yarmouth: Harbor History

Royal River Cabins

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