Tate & Foss | Sotheby's International Realty Logo

Search

Properties

Back To Blog

Featured Lifestyle: Rye Beach Village

LIVE Rye Beach Village

Rye Beach Village, known as 'the precinct' to locals, is regarded as one of the Seacoast's finest neighborhoods...it's an enclave of pristine homes, from sprawling estates to cottage-style summer mansions, on commanding tree-lined roads surrounded by the stunning grounds of Abenaqui Country Club and sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. When visitors drive through the precinct, they immediately sense something special about it.

Precinct native and Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty founder Ned Tate sat down with us a few years ago to share his unique knowledge of the neighborhood.

Rye Beach Precinct Map Map of Rye Beach Village District, outlined in red


A BIT OF HISTORY

Rye Beach Village District consists of one square mile or so at the southern end of the Town of Rye. It was chartered by the state of NH in 1905 as a semi-autonomous government and has its own independent Planning Board, Board of Adjustment and 3 commissioners. The precinct even has its own zip code (03871)! In 1922, the Rye Beach Precinct building was constructed on Central Road the Post Office* was and still is on the first floor, a meeting hall was upstairs and there was additional space for storing firefighting equipment. *Tate remembers, as a boy, counting 22 chauffeur-driven cars lined up to collect the 5:00 mail for wealthy summer residents!

You might ask, why was Rye Beach Village District formed? The area had become a very popular place for tourists to come and spend a week or two by the sea it was a bustling, densely developed Victorian summer resort. Residents who ran the tourist accommodations wanted to make it a viable place to visit and felt that it was important to have sidewalks, street lights and town water for fire protection.

THE TOURISM ERA

Tourists traveled on the Boston-Maine Railroad and disembarked at the old train station in North Hampton (across from Joe's Meat Shoppe today). From there, they took Concord Coaches and later electric trolleys (owned by the railroad) to arrive in Rye Beach Village. The trolley service was decommissioned in 1923 or so and replaced by buses, which also provided service to Portsmouth.

Tate recalled fondly:

"You could pick up the bus at Rye Beach Post Office, for 10 cents, and catch a ride to Portsmouth to see a movie. An O Henry bar was only 5 cents at the theater back then."

Today's Beach Club was called Lockes Pavilion...it was a 'go-to' place with a tea room, soda fountain and hot saltwater baths. You could rent a bathing suit and purchase deck privileges for a day, week or month. Sawyers Bathhouse was next door, where locker rentals were available by the hour or day.

Abenaqui Country Club, a private club with an 18-hole championship golf course, has always been the nucleus of Rye Beach Village. It was established at the turn of the 19th century by George L. Allen of St Louis, Missouri, and thrived as a summer resort facility. Around this time, Rye Beach was known as the 'St. Louis of the East' with most of its summer residents coming from major Midwest cities, and many others from the Northeast. And there was a fairway that ran all the way down Sea Road to a boarding house at the corner of Ocean Boulevard.

Burkes Pond, adjacent to the Abenaqui clubhouse, was once home to a local industry that thrived on tourism. Huge ice houses lined the pond where ice was harvested by hand, sawed, stacked on pallets, lined with straw/sawdust and sold to the boarding houses, hotels and wealthy homes. As a youngster, Tate and a friend ran a tonic stand at Abenaqui's 13th tee and recalled purchasing blocks of ice for 25 cents a piece.

The summer episcopal chapel, St Andrews by the Sea, was constructed (c.1876) with rocks taken from 'Rye Ledge' directly off of Ocean Boulevard. Many rooming house guests were chapel patrons...to this day, the bells still ring twice before services (at 10:45 and 10:55) to forewarn hotel guests!

Stoneleigh Manor, Rye Beach NH Stoneleigh Manor, Rye Beach

BOARDING HOUSES + HOTELS

Some of the best known Rye Beach Village boarding houses and hotels included:

  • The Atlantic House, which became the Farragut Hotel (located in what is a vacant field today where Central and Church Roads meet Ocean Boulevard);
  • Drake House (still standing today as an apartment building, where South and Sea Roads meet Ocean Boulevard);
  • Sea View House (located on the present site of St Theresa Church on Central Road); and
  • Stoneleigh Manor, which has a particularly interesting history.

Stoneleigh Manor, an 85-room hotel, was built at Central and South Roads in 1919 by the Drake family of Chicago. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression led to the eventual failure of this hotel. It became Stoneleigh College, a women's junior college, which closed during World War II, reopening as Atlantic Air Academy. Tate remembered seeing students marching the streets of Rye Beach with false wooden rifles! The academy lasted 3 years until it became insolvent and the building sat vacant for 3 or 4 years until it was purchased by the Franciscan Order. It then became St Francis College and subsequently St Francis Retreat House until it was torn down in 1996 and replaced with private homes. 

Green Gables, Rye Beach NH Green Gables, Rye Beach

PROMINENT SUMMER RESIDENCES

Green Gables is a magnificent turn-of-the-century 'cottage' style manor house built in 1906 by Marshall Field, the Chicago department store mogul, as a wedding present to his sister. The residence is complemented in style and character by its adjacent carriage house. Set back approximately 300' from the road, Green Gables sits in the middle of one of the largest undeveloped acreages (approximately 14 acres) in the precinct. Listed and sold by Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty.

Allen Mansion, built by successful St Louis businessman and Abenaqui Country Club founder George L. Allen the home still stands at the corner of Sea and Central Roads and remains in the Allen family to this day.

Armstrong House (directly across the street from the Allen House), the former summer home of Maj. Edwin Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio. The property is known for its magnificent horse chestnut trees.

18 Sea Road was once the summer home of E. Lansing Ray, publisher(and heir of one of the founders) of the St Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper. Ray was one of the nine major sponsors of Charles Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight.

Balsam Drive at South Road, former summer home of Missouri Governor David Francis, a Wilsonian Democrat and ambassador to Russia who was instrumental in the St Louis Worlds Fair. The 'Lodge Gallery,' as it was known, was built as a hunting lodge and poker palace in 1910. Francis entertained many visitors here, and as word spread of the area's delights, people flocked to Rye Beach to escape the St Louis summer heat.

RYE BEACH VILLAGE TODAY

There are over 200 properties in Rye Beach Village today. Sea Road (along with New Castle's Wild Rose Lane) is one of the most distinctive and expensive streets in the Seacoast area.

Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty Principal Broker Tony Jalbert, who lived in the precinct for over 20 years, shares his thoughts on the lifestyle:

"The neighborhood has a great sense of community...the sidewalk-lined streets make it a safe area to walk around and down to the beach. It's easy to get to know your neighbors. The Abenaqui is truly the social hub of the precinct. It offers a stunning park-like setting, with golf and tennis in the summer, and year-round dining at the clubhouse. It's a very unique and desirable place to live."

2595 Ocean Boulevard, Rye Beach2595 Ocean Boulevard, Rye Beach

NOTABLE SALES + STATISTICS

From January 2019 through December 2021, there were 30 single-family home sales in Rye Beach Village, with an average price of $1,922,486; of these transactions, nearly half were successfully closed by Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty. The average selling price for our listings was $2,172,000, a quarter-million dollars above the average precinct price

Our team's notable sales included Green Gables at 210 South Road (twice in 2020: $3,250,000 and $3,499,000), the former Studebaker Estate at 2595 Ocean Boulevard (2019: $3,600,000), 2330 Ocean Boulevard (2021: $2,900,000) and 805 Central Road (2022: $6,400,000)

 805 Central Road, Rye Beach

Curious to know what's currently For Sale throughout Rye NH? Click here. Or more insight on market trends, demographics and schools? Click here. For more information about Living in Rye Beach Village, please Contact a member of our real estate sales team. At Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty, we pride ourselves on having in-depth knowledge of our market area. We'd like to share that knowledge with you.

Add Comment

Comments are moderated. Please be patient if your comment does not appear immediately. Thank you.

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

placeholder
ocean sunset background
Tate & Foss SIR

Contact Us