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School Days

 

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The Eddy School,

Edgecomb School District No. 1

Once having been called “Longfellow School”

 

Eddy school in the snow sepia

 

     The April 1819 Town Meeting voted to merge school districts No. 1 and No. 13, established in the late 18th century, into one new School District No. 1. It was voted to raise $360.00 for the construction of a new school building on land owned by John S. Wright on what we know as the Cross Point Road. This was completed that August. Meeting in the new school house, the Town voted to auction off the old school house, located at the corner of Mason and Eddy Roads; for a bid of $10.75, it was sold to Abraham Kimball. On November 10, William Clifford sold for $7.00 to the inhabitants of the School District No.1 a parcel of land which filled out the grounds of the new School.

     In 1856 this building was burned, apparently by a disgruntled neighbor who left a threatening note to William C. Decker when he offered to re-build the District 1 school and provide additional land at the same site. Nonetheless, the building was opened for classes in 1857, and formed the nucleus of the longest serving school of Edgecomb.       With a sizeable addition built in the 1950s, the Eddy School became the sole school for Edgecomb children, after the closings of the City and Salt Marsh Schools. School District No. 1 entered history when the Eddy School closed in December, 2002, on the opening of the present Edgecomb Eddy School.

 

The City School, School

Edgecomb School District No. 3

 

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      In June of 1833, Edgecomb yeoman Joses Jenness “in consideration of the sum of ten Dollars paid me by the Inhabitants of School District No. Three in Edgecomb” sold a small piece of land bounded on the southeast by “the County road leading to Boothbay,” the present State Route 27. An 1887 map shows a schoolhouse on the west side of the Boothbay Road, immediately south of the Mill Road intersection. It was a one-story wooden structure. This came to be known as The City School, since during that time Edgecomb’s population was at its most dense in this area.

       During the 1930s, the City School's attendance averaged 17 pupils. For a while, in the 1950s, it served 7th and 8th graders only, but in 1954 the Town voted to close it, along with the Salt Marsh School, since the Eddy School's building had been enlarged to serve all Edgecomb’s children. At present it forms part of the Edgecomb Potters complex.

 

The Salt Marsh School

Edgecomb School District No. 4

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     On January 5, 1846, Betsy Williams, widow of Henry Williams, sold for $8.00 to the inhabitants of School District No. 4 a small piece of land incorporating much ledge on the east side of the Damariscotta River Road in East Edgecomb.

     School in place in 1850 since “two inhabitants claim they should not have been taxed for they were not in District 4 when the tax was set for the new school house.”

     Details from the District 4 School Agent’s record books show that on May 4, 1878, the District voted against iron seats for the students, and by May 18, chairs and desks of spruce lumber were being supplied, with an additional row of seats in front of the first row of desks.

These were for a given class to recite their lessons while the other classes worked at their desks.

Also in 1878 it was voted to buy a new stove. In April 1885, it was voted to build a chimney. At some point, the walls of the school were remodeled to allow for four windows.

     In the June 6, 1954 issue of the Lincoln County News appeared a public notice by the Selectmen of Edgecomb that the Salt Marsh School and the City School were available under sealed bid, to be opened July 1. Shortly after, the Salt Marsh school building passed into private ownership.

 

THE DODGE SCHOOL

Edgecomb School District No. 6

sometimes known as The Brick School

This is our school, ‘tis made of brick,

Its walls are strong and warm and thick.

It has a flag – and flagpole, too.

‘Twas built in 1872.

     So wrote Helen Leadbetter, the teacher at the Dodge School during the 1920s and ‘30s, in a light-hearted end of school song for her 1922 classes.

     But certainly in the 1850s there was an earlier school in the general area of School District No. 6. Local historians tell us that the No. 6 school was first located across Dodge Road from the home of Luke Walton, owned in 1986 by Douglas Cowan. Attendance records for December 1852 show 81 scholars in District No. 6. In April 1870, the District voted that the Ladies Sewing Society of North Edgecomb and South Newcastle build a vestry under said school house as a foundation.

     At the same time the Inhabitants of School District No. 6 voted "to locate the new school house on the place selected and voted at a former meeting" and to sell the old school house. The new two and a half story brick building was erected on land acquired in August 1870 from Jacob and Lydia Dodge at the junction of Dodge Road, on its south side, and the east side of Middle Road, for the sum of $25.00.

     In 1878 the District #6 Agent’s report includes paying teacher Mary Haggett $40.00, and $20.00 to Frank Dodge for her board; also, C.F. Man, Teacher $106.80. By 1898 the Dodge School was one of eight districts in the Town of Edgecomb. In 1929, the building received a new roof and wallpaper and was considered “one of the best looking schools, inside and out, to be found anywhere.”

     The State closed the doors of the Brick (Dodge) School June 2, 1939, since only five pupils were enrolled. The building was torn down for the bricks in 1940. Alice Boardway, whose husband Walker was the first park ranger for the Fort Edgecomb State Park, remembers collecting some of those bricks for the family’s lobster steaming concession.

 

Other Edgecomb Schools and School Districts

     In 1897 there were seven schools listed: District No. 1: Eddy; No. 3, City; No. 4, Salt Marsh; No.5, River Street; No. 6, Dodge School; No. 7, High Street (Mt. Hunger); No. 8, Cross Street. The origin of these several districts is very interesting. Put yourselves into the late 18th century, brand new nation, and concerned about the future. Even before the Revolution, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had required its far-flung territory to regularize its educational system. So, on June 28, 1774, everyone gathered at Nathan Gove’s house to raise 20 Pounds for school expenses. They set up four districts, elected agents and officers who conducted the entire business of running the schools, including building and staffing them. Records show one of these early schools was on “the island of Squam.” At one time, Westport Island was included in the Town of Edgecomb.

     In a (presumably) eighteenth century deed there was mention of a school house located at what is now the corner of Mason Road and Eddy Road. When the first Eddy School building was erected, the old building was sold to Abraham Kimball. It is possible that the oldest part of the present little grey house on that corner was the old school building, although no records of it have been found.

.   So where was District No. 2?   A stretch of the Cross Point Road was for a long time called School House Hill, although no record of any school building has ever been found there.

     The 1897 list numbers District No. 5 as “River Street.” At one time another school building did stand on the River Road, just north of the Merry Island Road. No trace of it remains unless there is a foundation under some newer dwelling place. Like the Dodge Road School and the Salt Marsh School, the building was brick.

     Only a tantalizing wisp of memory remains of the High Street School, District No. 7, which was destroyed during the great fire of 1928 that turned that area of Edgecomb into Mount Hunger. However, historians note that the school buildings for Districts No. 5 and No. 7 had been burned down in 1904 “by some incendiary who ought to be looked after.”

     The District No. 8 school building was located near the former Clarence Dodge home on Cross Road. Om 1887, Woodbridge Greenleaf accepted $1.00 from the Agent for School District No. 8 for the lot of land on which the school building already stood, “Provided the said school house be burned or removed, the said lot of land shall come back to the said Woodbridge Greenleaf or his heirs.”   The Cross Street School was closed around 1902; remains of its flagpole supports have been found. The building was sold, moved and re-erected at Chase’s Point as a summer cottage.  

     An 1857 map of Edgecomb shows an “S.H.” just across from the Parsons Point Road entrance, very close to the 1833 City School. To date, no information has been found about it.   A map of 1887 Edgecomb shows a school on the Mill Road itself, the north side of the road at Parsons Creek.

Taken from a display which hangs in the new Edgecomb Eddy School south corridor

This display was presented to the Edgecomb Eddy School in May, 2004

Gift of the Edgecomb Historical Society and

Supported by the Maro F. Hammond Memorial Fund.

The information provided in this display has come from present and former Edgecomb residents Dot Hathorne, Veula Reed, Olive McKay Wright, Marguerite Dodge, Ruth Bryant and Faith Redden Jones as well as from Kathryn Chase Owen’s Early Edgecomb, Maine, volumes 1 and 2 (1986, 1988), and from early deeds recorded in the Lincoln County Courthouse, Wiscasset. These notes have been compiled by Joanna M. Cameron, 2004. Photo finishing and layout by Suzanne Carlson.

 

 

 

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