School District One – Lower Village School House by Steven Burr

The first schoolhouse located in Lower Village was move to there from Kennebunkport about 1820 and had originally been a fish shack. This was placed near John Emery’s store but was later twice moved ending up on the west side of the Port Road in 1856 with an addition on it. By 1890 schools in Kennebunkport had become overcrowded and more space was needed. So, this school, outdated anyway, was closed, and a new school constructed in 1890 on the site of the present day Washington Hose Firehouse. It finally opened in 1891. This is the school in the pictures shown here.
By 1911 this new school was still overcrowded, and an addition was added on to the back giving it 3 rooms in total. Outdoor toilets were being used and the school failed to meet state requirements then in effect for schools. By 1925 the school held eight grades, three teachers, and just under sixty students. It stood on just the land it was built so there was no room for a playground. In addition, the toilets were in the basement with no ventilation and smelled. The addition on the back was in bad condition and the school was still being heating by a coal furnace and 2 wood stoves. During one severe cold snap it had to be shut down. In 1926 the school department asked for ten thousand dollars for repairs to the schools.
Some improvements were made, and the school continued to serve students until 1956 when it was finally shut down for good. After it closed it housed the Mother’s Club for many years. Originally the Mother’s Club was founded to promote the welfare of the children of the Lower Village and the community interests in general and existed in the town for 100 years.
Elise Cooper was the long time Secretary/Treasurer, and the Town of Kennebunk gave the club rights to the property after the school was no longer needed. They made improvements to the building and used it as a meeting place. Eventually the town reimbursed the club for some of the improvements they had made. After the School was razed for the firehouse in the late 1960’s Club meetings were held at the firehouse until the club disbanded in 2015.
Peggy Cooper remembers being a student at the school in 1946-1948. At that time Grades K-2 were in one classroom and 4-6 in another. The third classroom was empty as Grade 7 and 8 had been moved uptown to what is now KHS and at that time housed the Jr High classes Grade 7 and 8.

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