History

Prior to 1800 Berlin was called Stevenson’s Crossroads, for the Stevenson family who were local landowners. The principal part of the town is built on a tract of land called Burley, patented in 1677 by William Tomkins. Because Burley had an inn, it was a popular crossroads between Salisbury and Trappe, also Philadelphia and Cape Charles, and became known as Burley Inn. This was later shortened to Berlin (accent on the first syllable).

The downtown area had three devastating fires in 1895, 1902 and 1904. This area is now a National Register Historic District. Some of the older buildings in town include Burley Manor and Burley Cottage, located on South Main Street and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, “Robins Nest” on West Street, the Chandler House on North Main Street across from the Museum, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Church Street (1825).

Stephen Decatur was born here in 1779. For more information on Stephen Decatur, click here.

Some of the most successful industries here were Harrison Nurseries, the Berlin Milling Company and Phillips Cannery.

The first school here, Buckingham Academy, a boys’ boarding school, was established in 1765 by Rev. Charles Tennent, a Presbyterian minister whose grave site is in Buckingham Cemetery.

Thanks to the Taylor House Museum for providing the above information.