In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

New Portland: Bridging the Past to the Future

West New Portland Village Schools

Text by Marilyn Gorman and Dianne Pease
With Images from New Portland Historical Society

Great Works School in West New Portland
Great Works School in West New Portland

West New Portland was only known to have two different schools. One of the schools was a primary, grammar, and high school at certain points in time. The other school, the Great Works school does not have any documentation, only a picture.

West New Portland Schoolhouse, ca. 1900
West New Portland Schoolhouse, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
New Portland Historical Society

West New Portland Primary and Grammar School was established in 1897 (as far back as records go). Students from grades sub-primary to eighth grade attended this school from 1897-19 . Two teachers were responsible for their education. Most of the teachers were women but one male is listed for the year 1909 and beginning in the mid 1930’s several male teachers are noted. According to two 1940 elementary school registers 25 students (seventeen boys and eight girls) were listed. Grade 4 had seven students. Grade 5 had nine students. Grade 6 had nine students. Their teacher was Rudolph M. Quint who held a non-professional degree. He earned 17 dollars a week. School started on September 5th and closed June 7th for a total of 180 days. 16 students were registered in grades sub-primary, 1, 2, and 3. Sub-primary had six students. Grade 1 had four students. Grade 2 had two students. Grade 3 had four students. Two teachers, Geraldine Testa taught the first term and Thelma Davis finished the year, both held professional certificates. Testa earned 17 dollars a week and Davis earned 15 dollars a week. According to the register the classrooms were well equipped.

West New Portland also operated their own high school from 1897 to 1920. In 1920 at the annual town meeting article 21 asked the citizens of New Portland to locate, build, and equip a central high school. This issue came to the forefront due to a fire at the North village grammar school and the state of Maine no longer accepted class C schools. The town would not receive state equalization funds if it continued to operate two high schools. The citizens decided after much debate to approve article 21. Central High School was built on the Chas. Holbrook lot in East New Portland. Students from all three villages attended high school there until it burned in 1939.