In the town’s early years, Berlin consisted of two villages set on the Androscoggin: Berlin Mills Village — the more northerly area of town adjacent to the various parts of Berlin (Winslow) Mills — and Berlin Falls, the more southerly area closer to the Dead River. In between these two villages there was little development. “The narrows” (an area where the road narrowed due to a ledge outcropping) was the dividing line between the two areas;everything north of it was considered part of the Berlin Mills Village.
Although Berlin Mills sold lots in the area prior to this, a plat for the area was drawn up in October 1881 (below). The area included the west side of Main Street on either side of Berlin Mill. Streets off of Main were numbered 1st Street through 7th Street. (Thus later Berlin Mills was referred to as “the Streets” — in contrast to “the Avenues” neighborhood which had numbered “avenues” versus “streets.”) In December 1893, Berlin Mills Village Addition #1 expanded the original area to include the north/south part of Maple Street. Berlin Mills Village Addition #2 (1896) was Norwegian Village.
Downtown Berlin was originally known as Berlin Falls. In 1888, a writer described his impression upon arriving in Berlin in 1867, “What is now Main Street, was then a very poor road through a poorer country. Nothing but mud underfoot, rain overhead, a few shabby buildings on one side, and the most uninviting collection of bushes and rocks imaginable on the other. . . It scarcely seems possible that at that time there were only thirty-six buildings in what is now the two villages, including the stores, mills and dwellings (Berlin Independent 4/11/1888).