Thank you to the Scarborough Garden Club, for the beautiful holiday wreaths to decorate the museum’s doors this year. Also, thank you to Joyce Alden for the boughs, berries, and ribbons used to decorate the window boxes.
Garden Club members Elaine Mallory, Marie Leyro, and Karen Thompson. Photo by Karlene Osborne.
Scarborough Historical Society members visiting the old Beech Ridge school. Photo Courtesy Karlene Osborne.
Before there were big yellow school busses, school children in Scarborough for the most part walked to school. To keep the distances from their homes doable, back in the 1800s Scarborough had over a dozen one-room district schools spread throughout the town. A single teacher taught the elementary grades to each neighborhood’s school children.
All the district schools were torn down or repurposed over time – with one exception. Although vacant for decades and falling into disrepair, District No. 7’s Beech Ridge School, located at 184 Holmes Road, managed to survive over the years. In 2018 the Scarborough Historical Society stepped forward to save this important part of the town’s history. The society was deeded ownership so it could proceed to raise funds and oversee the restoration of the building.
Thanks to donations and grants for the project, much work has been accomplished. Phase I started with lifting the building so a new foundation could be poured. Later the rotted sills were replaced while adding a brick veneer to provide the appearance of the original foundation. After the interior was gutted, a basement stairwell and bulkhead were added. Phase II of the restoration work will include, among other things, putting in insulation, electricity, and plumbing. The roof will be shingled and new windows and doors installed. Lastly, historically accurate vertically-sawn exterior clapboards will be applied to the exterior of the building.
The Beech Ridge School’s scholars posed in 1915 with their teacher, Mabel Storey. It appears that shoes were in short supply for children at that time. Photo Courtesy Scarborough Historical Society Collections
Once the restoration work is completed, the building will be available to the community for multi-functional uses. As an educational component, period school artifacts and displays will help visitors learn what school was like in a one-room school in an earlier time.
John Hearn was a teacher at the Beech Ridge school in the 19th century. Photo Courtesy Rodney Laughton Collection
Martha Pillsbury was the Beech Ridge school’s teacher in 1866. Image from the Scarborough Historical Society Collections.
Scarboro; Aug/ 31st 1866…
Town of Scarboro: To M. A. Pilsbury for teaching in District No. 7 twelve weeks at four dollars 16/100 per week; Fifty-Dollars
Received Paym’t Martha A Pillsbury
The Scarborough Historical Society is appreciative of the funding it has received for the project from the Town of Scarborough and the Prouts Neck Historical Society, in addition to donations made by many other supporters.
We are well on our way to saving this precious remnant of our past, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We hope for additional donations toward the $150,000 currently needed to finish the job. Checks may be sent to the Scarborough Historical Society, P.O. Box 156, Scarborough, ME 04074, or donations made to www.gofundme.com/SHS-Restore-Beech-Ridge-School. The Scarborough Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, making all much-needed donations fully tax-deductible.
Interior Beech Ridge School Photo by Karlene Osborne – c. Apr 2021
Beech Ridge School ready to be lowered onto new foundation (Apr 2020)
This article was first published in the Scarborough Leader and is republished here with the permission of the author.
HELP SAVE THE PLANET AND HELP THE SCARBOROUGH HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
We are asking you to use CLYNK for your returnable bottles and cans. Fill up a CLYNK bag (don’t crush cans or remove bottle labels). The recyclable bags can be purchased for a minimal cost in boxes of 10 at any Hannaford Supermarket. Or drop by the museum any Tuesday morning and get free ones.
We have CLYNK bag TAGS, which adhere to the bag, at the museum, 647 US Route One. Stop at the museum to get tags, call us at 207-885-9997, or use the contact form below, so we can get them to you. Then just take your filled bag to any Hannaford CLYNK station, scan the bag’s tag and open the door. Or leave your filled bag at the museum, and we will take care of it.
Thank you for your support during these COVID times when fundraising has been challenging.
The doors of the Scarborough Historical Society and Museum have been closed during a long pandemic, but with so many people now vaccinated, beginning Saturday, November 13 visitors who are safely masked are once again welcome at the museum.
As part of celebrating the reopening, a new Laughton History Table is now available at the museum, giving visitors the opportunity to view over 5,000 indexed images from Rodney Laughton’s extensive collection.
Rodney has been collecting all things Scarborough for a number of decades. In addition to a large number of pictures, the collection includes scanned images of paper records, newspaper articles, postcards, letters, and brochures.
A volunteer is using the index to find pictures of family members from long ago.
Using a desktop computer, visitors will be able to scroll through the many images that focus on Scarborough’s history. For anyone hoping to find pictures and/or information pertaining to a specific person, place, or event, a second computer contains an index that allows anyone to quickly find what they’re looking for.
In addition to the Laughton History Table, there are many other exhibits and historical items to see. The Scarborough Historical Society & Museum is open to the public on Tuesday mornings and the second Saturday of the month from 9 am -12 noon. There is no charge for admission, but donations are welcomed. We hope to see you soon!
In the last update regarding Scarborough Historical Society’s restoration of the Beech Ridge School, I reported that $25,600 was needed to start the next phase of work. Since then, an anonymous donor has come forward with a donation that will allow us to begin. Also, a second donor, a Scar- borough resident wishing to remain anonymous, has set up a matching grant of $1,000 whereby other donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to the $1,000. Any donations toward that amount will be gratefully received. To date, we have raised $130,000 toward our budgeted goal of $280,000. This includes a new pledge which will be discussed in our next newsletter.
Our local contractor, Alden Joinery and Restoration, will resume work shortly to install replacement windows and doors, reframe and repair the building interior and install traditional, historically accurate vertically-sawn clapboards.
Please consider a donation by sending a check to Scarborough Historical Society, PO Box 156, Scarborough, ME 04070-0156. The society‘s GoFundMe page is https:// www.gofundme.com/SHS-Restore-Beech-Ridge-School. Your gift is tax-deductible, as Scarborough Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions. Thank you for being a part of saving Scarborough history.
Dear Mrs. Libbey Letters to a High School Teacher From her Students Serving in the Armed Forces During the Second World War Available at the museum or eBay
Dear Mrs. Libby is a collection of letters written by 144 Scarborough men and women to their former high school teacher, Mrs. Frances Libbey while they were serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The letters were written in response to a newsletter of hometown news that Mrs. Libbey periodically sent to them. The letters are in the Scarborough Historical Society archives. Moved by the letters as she read them, Dr. Claudia Christie, an Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, undertook in 2000 the project of publishing the letters so they could be more widely shared. Dr. Christie finished transcribing the handwritten letters shortly before her death in 2004. The letters are organized in alphabetical order; and for the sake of clarity, minor corrections in grammar and spelling were made. Sketches in the text are the work of Robert “Bob” Scamman, U.S.M.C., and were drawn during his time of service.
Scarborough Fare Recipes contributed by members and friends of the Scarborough Historical Societh with a measure of historical tidbits $18. Available at the museum oreBay
Dishes for the holiday meal
Stop by the museum and select from our large assortment of Syracuse China from the Grange/Masons. Available for a donation.
Continuing our series about the villages of Scarborough. . .The Oak Hill area has undergone many changes over the years. Readers are invited to contribute information the writer may have overlooked.
First town hall, Rte: 1
Many think of Oak Hill as the town center of Scarborough, but in the 1600s and 1700s, the area was considered an unsettled wilderness. A church was erected here in 1798, but in 1844 it was replaced by one at Black Point. The movement of the town center to Oak Hill began when the town hall (1883-1990s) was built on Route One and later the new town hall behind where the first one was located. But first, let’s begin reviewing the area starting at the corner of Route One and Sawyer Road where the Maine Medical Center (MMC) offices are today. These buildings comprised a shopping center featuring a Mammoth Mart (1960s), Sampson’s Supermarket (into the 1970s or 1980s), Canal Bank (into the 1970s), a hair salon (also into the 1970s-1983) and Grossman’s Lumber (later moved to Southgate Road). There was also a Norge Village laundromat (1970s-1980s), possibly operated by Ken Dolloff. Martin’s Grocery Store was also there for a time. After this area ceased being a shopping center, other businesses located there. One was Shape, Inc. Can anyone name others? The small building in front was Carroll’s Fast Food (1970s); it has been vacant much of the time since but is now Nordx Lab.
Dr. Wentworth’s home.
The high school, middle school, and intermediate school in Oak Hill are located on land that belonged to Dr. Benjamin Wentworth and his family. Photo SHS Archives
On the other corner of Route One and Sawyer Road, where the car wash, restaurant and Memorial Park are, was the Portland Twin Drive-in (1949-2003). The drive-in’s screens were set so that one screen faced Route One and showed G/GP-rated movies; the second screen faced the houses behind it. This screen featured R/X-rated movies. Locally, these houses were often referred to as “Sin City,” because the movies were flashed through their windows. Religious services were held at the drive-in during the summer. Where the current Public Safety Building is located was Plowman’s farm, which featured advertising for the drive-in on its barn roof. I tried to find a picture of it, but no luck. Later, three small houses were built here. There were open sheds behind them for a while.
I mentioned the town halls earlier. The first town hall was located in what is now the parking lot of the current town hall. The Town and Country Credit Union replaced the large Wight house that housed the first telephone switchboard in 1900. Many young women served as the operators. I’ve read that when a special event occurred, all the lines were open so Scarborough residents could hear it.
Next, where the caregivers’ place is, was the first Quick Brown Fox (later Brown Fox) which was a printing business owned by the Lambs. The building has housed several businesses since then. The Brown Fox and post office were where Libby’s Toy Shop (into the 1970s and run by “Peachie” Libby) once sat. What a wonderful little shop it was! It was the parsonage for the early Oak Hill church before the toy shop. This latter building is now located on Pine Point Road on private property. A Cumberland Farms store was next where El Rayo is now located. Today there are dentists’ and lawyers’ offices located in what was the new post office in the 1960s. The Bennett house, with unique murals painted on the walls, was located along here also, but has been moved to Longfellow Road in Gorham.
I just love the Maine Registers to provide background information during my research. For example, the 1918 Maine Register has a section about Post Offices; if you wrote to someone at a particular location, it tells which post office the mail would go to. For example:
Coal-Kiln Corner village mail went to South Buxton P.O., as did Scarboro Corner.
Dunstan Corner mail went to West Scarboro P.O.
Spurwink and Higgins Beach went to the So. Portland R.F.D.7.
That means someone’s address might be South Portland and live in Higgins Beach, Scarborough. Possibly their mailing address is Gorham while they actually live in North Scarborough.
Likewise, the 1918 Register identifies many of the Hotels, where they were, and who managed them. The 1918 Maine Register lists these hotels at Scarborough Beach.
Atlantic House, E. A. Gunnison & Co.
Forest House, John C. Seavy.
Spurwink House, Aug. H. Mitchell
A couple at Pine Point
Sportsman’s House, I. W. Pillsbury
Lookaway Inn, Fred Ruggles
and several at Prouts Neck
Checkley House, Ira C. Foss
The Willows, Mrs. E. I. Seavey
West Point House, Robert R. Jordan Lee Cottage, Mrs. H. A. Lee Cammock House, M.
F. Libby Southgate House, John M. Kaler Pinehurst Cottage, F. Andrews
West Moulton House, M. E. Moulton The Wayland, Mrs. A. F. Moulton
An example of Scarborough’s entries
from the 1924 Maine Register
There are quite a few Maine Registers online at Internet Archive and Hathi Trust, but if you like to page through original printed copies, visit us at the Museum. We have the following issues at the Museum.
Early Scarborough merchants often had elaborate letterheads for their businesses. These three competing retailers did business in Dunstan, where they offered a wide range of inventory to their customers.
W.H.Graffam Photo Courtesy R. Laughton Collection
W. H. Graffam Receipt Courtesy Scarborough Historical Society
G. W. Knight Receipt Courtesy Scarborough Historical Society
G. W. Knight Store Photo courtesy R Laughton Collection
Ephemera from the collections of the Scarborough Historical Society.
J. H. Leavitt Receipt Courtesy Scarborough Historical Societ