Maine Irish Heritage Trail

South Portland Site Number 10
by Matthew Jude Barker

James and Annie Rowe Home
596 Westbrook Street
South Portland, Maine

James Rowe homeJames and Annie R. Dunn Rowe were the parents of a prominent Portland-South Portland Irish Catholic family who excelled in many fields. James Rowe (1853-1939) was born in Maitland, Nova Scotia, the son of Robert Rowe, a native of Co. Waterford, and Margaret Deighan, a native of Co. Armagh who died in Portland in 1905. A ship carpenter, James came to Portland in the early 1880s where he married Annie Dunn, a native of Halifax. They soon returned to Canada, but came back to Portland in the early 1890s. James operated a successful livery stable at 11 Silver Street until 1906; his brother-in-law James A. Dunn was his business partner for several years. In 1906, he and Annie removed their family of ten children to 596 Westbrook Street in South Portland, where James was a contractor and carpenter until he retired about 1932 at the age of 79. His son Larry opened a golf course on his land in 1931.

Mary Alice Rowe (1886-1977) was a teacher at the Westbrook, Knightville, and Cash Corner public schools from 1908 until 1914, when she married local attorney James H. "Harry" McCann. Her sisters Ruth and Gertrude were also local teachers; the latter taught at the Broadway school until her marriage in 1920.

The Rowe sons were all successful. David Leo Rowe became an attorney, but died in his late thirties from tuberculosis. Edwin F. was a clerk and stenographer for the American Express Company and moved to Boston. William J. Rowe was a machinist and auto repairer before moving to New Hampshire. Raymond B. Rowe was a clerk before becoming manager of the Westbrook Garage on the corner of Main Street and Stevens Avenue in the early 1920s. Lawrence V. "Larry" Rowe was a golf instructor, golf pro, and operated Larry Rowe's Golf Course on his father's property until the 1970s, when it became South Portland Municipal Golf Course.

Lt. Col. Raymond Bernard Rowe (1896-1948), a veteran of both world wars, was a graduate of South Portland High School and Shaw's Business College in Portland. After various occupations, he started Rowe Motors Inc., at 609-611 Main Street, Westbrook, where he was president, treasurer, and manager until his untimely death in May 1948. The auto business, which is known today as Rowe Ford, was taken over by his brother Larry. For many years Raymond's sister Dorothy Rowe Beach was the company's office manager. Lt. Col. Rowe was the first chairman of the first South Portland City Council under its city manager form of government.

RELATED SITES: Larry Rowe's Golf Course, Rowe Ford (Westbrook)

Acknowledgements by Matthew Jude Barker

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