From the Ephemera

By Linda Snow McLoon

Pine Point School District #8

Last Pine Point district school, built in 1940
Rodney Laughton Collection

When the Boston & Maine Railroad added its new route from North Berwick to Portland in 1872, its plan was for the tracks to cross the Pine Point marshes and the Scarborough River en route. But before the project could go forward, a deal had to be struck with the town. In consideration for allowing the railroad to build a long bridge across the mouth of the Scarborough River without a draw- bridge, the B&M Railroad paid the town a portion of the cost to construct a roadway from Blue Point to Pine Point and one to connect Dunstan Landing to the depot at Blue Point. For the first time, there would be a roadway from Dun- stan directly to Pine Point.

Before these roadways were built, Pine Point was accessible only by water and was a mostly uninhabited part of town. The new transportation options, along with a roadway to Old Orchard Beach that was subsequently built, provided direct access to Pine Point and a number of families moved there to take advantage of great fishing and clamming opportunities.

A decade later, Pine Point had become an important village in the town, making it necessary to form a new school district. In 1883 Pine Point became School District #8 and building a school there was the next order of business.

Notice of District #8 establishment.

After the proposal to build a school was approved at the September 1883 meeting, an application to borrow the needed funds was made to the Portland Savings Bank. A document spells out the agreement between the bank and “the inhabitants of School District #8” to fund the new schoolhouse for the Pine Point children. A $900 loan plus 5% interest was to be repaid in five annual payments of $185, and as was the custom with the
building of earlier district schools, the debt burden would be carried by the residents of that school district only. Aaron A. Morrill, the chosen agent for the school, signed the loan agreement.

1884 Loan Document

Over 20 years later in1905, at the dedication of the White School, Scarborough’s first high school building, Hon. Augustus Moulton commented on the district school system of Scarborough:

Time brings its changes. School districts have been abolished with general approval and for the most part with good results. Taking all in all, the change is for the best, but the old system also had its advantages. With all its faults, there was much about it that helped to develop independence and strength of character. One of the principal objections to the system was that the appropriations to a school district were based on the number of scholars, so that a district with few pupils had short terms and poorly paid teachers. Petty quarrels and disagreements also often crept in, to the injury of the schools. It was wholly on account of feelings aroused by the location of a schoolhouse that a large tract in one of the best parts of the town seceded and became a part of Gorham.

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