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Otisfield's One-Room Schoolhouses

Scribner Hill School, Otisfield, about 1898

Scribner Hill School, Otisfield, about 1898

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Otisfield Historical Society

Like most Maine towns, Otisfield consisted of a number of villages, each with its own school. Before the automobile was invented, children walked to school, sometimes as far as three miles.

Schools were all one-room affairs serving grades one through eight with one teacher. Most teachers were unmarried women who boarded with a family nearby. In the nineteenth century, schools had at least two and often three terms: summer, winter, and fall, each lasting 10 to 14 weeks.

Otisfield had 14 different school districts, each with its own school. Photographs exist of many of these schools. How many were open each term depended on the number of children in the district. Otisfield's population was highest between 1830 and 1860, peaking at about 1,350 in 1840. During this period the town built three brick schools -- on Bell Hill, at Spurrs Corner, and at the Gore.


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