Round Pond, at its height in the mid to late 1800’s, was the economic powerhouse of the Pemaquid peninsula. The village surrounds a protected harbor which made it a busy port and shipbuilding town with a fishing industry, ‘pogey’ factories for extracting fertilizer and oils, farming, dairying, lumber, and granite quarries. Tourists arrived by steamship. Rooming houses were filled with single men, mostly first-generation Americans working the quarries. Most Round Pond granite sailed to New York and Boston.
Today, it’s a quiet village with a charming main street, noted for its 4th of July parade and its many mansard roofed houses. About 1870, a local builder/architect by the name of Ruben A. Brown, built a small mansard roofed office for himself (the little house across from Granite Hall) as a commercial sample. Soon, mansard roofed houses were being built all over town, and roof lines were raised on several of the older houses. This practical roof line added an extra floor to a house and allowed rental income from boarders.
Marketing was done at the King Ro Market with its potbellied stove and gossip, or at its competitor, Martin’s, with its ice cooled meat room, now the Round Pond Realty. Two churches were built competitively in 1855 – the Little Brown Church, and across the street, the white Methodist church. Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias were social centers, but probably the main social center was the Granite Hall. Nicknamed ‘the saloon’, it included a bar, tobacco goods, fruit and confectionery, barbershop, and billiard room. Upstairs there was a stage, roller skating rink and dance hall, and in later years, a screen and piano from the nickelodeon days of silent films. In front of Granite Hall, at the ‘Y’ in the road, was a ginger-breaded band stand for summer band concerts.