Original Beach History
Higgins Beach as we normally view it starts at the head of Ocean Avenue and heads to the water. The original Higgins family farm was in an area at the top of Pearl Street and behind what is now the public parking lot.
Hiram Higgins was the patriarch of the family, and when he died without a will, the court ordered that an assignment of dower be made in favor of his widow, Maria Higgins. The exact wording set forth by the judge was as follows:
"When you have completed the appraisement and ascertained the annual income of the whole Estate, you are to assign and set out to Maria Higgins the widow of said deceased, such part of said Real Estate as will yield her one third part of the annual rents and profits of the same, and you are to assign the same equally and impartially and without favor and affection as conveniently as may be in one or more parcels as shall be most for the interest of the parties if it can be done without prejudice to the whole estate, the same to be possessed by her during her natural life."
In addition to Maria, the other benefiting family members were identified as the Higgins children, Alice Thompson, Walter Higgins and Edward Higgins.
The three individuals charged with this assignment were Charles Dunn, Edward Winslow and Albion Little, all of Portland. In their report to the judge, they assigned a value of the property to be $15,000 with additional rents and profits to be $900.
A plot of the original land sold by Samuel Higgins to Hiram Higgins for $5,000 is shown below:
The two brothers, Walter and Edward, ended up with approximately all the land from the East side of Houghton Street to the Spurwink River. Alice Thompson ended up with a plot of land along the western beachfront from what we know today as Cliff Street to Forest Street. When the three Higgins children appeared before the judge to accept the division report, Alice's share was valued at $1,666.66 and 2/3 while the land given to Walter and Edward was valued at $3,333.33 and 1/3.