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New Portland: Bridging the Past to the Future

East New Portland Village Schools

Text by Pete Bearor
With Images from New Portland Historical Society

The East Village of New Portland was known for five different schools at one point in time. The three schools listed here as well as two schools that information is very scarce. The two schools that no written documentation is available for are the Red Schoolhouse and the New Portland Hill School. There are pictures available of both schools though.

Pines School, East New Portland, 1942
Pines School, East New Portland, 1942

Item Contributed by
New Portland Historical Society

The Pines School was built in 1896. Students had attended the Red Schoolhouse until that year. A parade of students with their books marched from the old school to the new Pine School.

East New Portland Central High School
East New Portland Central High School

The original Central High School was built in 1921, as the product of over a year's worth of town vote and debate. The building was erected in East New Portland on the site known as the Chas. Holbrook. Consolidation of the two New Portland high schools had been discussed several years before, as a Class "A" high school would be needed in order to fulfill state requirements. This high school was well-liked as it provided for all of the students who wished to attend, and the school stood until 1939, when it was lost to a fire.

Parsons or Elder Neighborhood School, New Portland, ca. 1930
Parsons or Elder Neighborhood School, New Portland, ca. 1930

Item Contributed by
New Portland Historical Society

The Parsons School or Elder Neighborhood School, as it was also known as, was located on the Middle Road. This school was built around 1875 and had a woodshed, boys and girls outhouse and an entryway. The Parsons School closed in June of 1943 and reverted to the Dyer family who had previously owned the land.
Old school records show that Eleanor Wendell Taylor taught at the Parson's School, 1935, 1936, 1939, and 1940-1942. In the autumn of 1937 Ethel Cobb came to the Record farm on the middle road, she had been assigned to teach at the Parsons School. She was her own janitor and kept the fire going in the winter as I'm sure that Eleanor Wendell Taylor also had to do. During mud season the school had to be closed until the roads were dry enough to travel on. I'm sure that there were other teachers that taught at the Parsons School but these were two of the well known New Portland teachers.
On June 24, 2006 the Parsons School burned and apparently the fire was of suspicious origin. Gene Dyer, the owner of the building and his brother, Bertrand were in the process of having the school put on the National Register of historic places and the Maine preservation when the fire happened.
The old school records show that in 1942 there were four Dyer children attending the Parsons School, Alfred, Bertrand, Norman and Bertice.

Pictures of the New Portland Hill School and the Red Schoolhouse with it's plaque

Red School New Portland Hill
Red School New Portland Hill
Plaque from the Red Schoolhouse
Plaque from the Red Schoolhouse
The Elder Neighborhood, or Parson's Schoolhouse
The Elder Neighborhood, or Parson's Schoolhouse