The era of one-room schoolhouses in St. George ended in 1957 when the St. George Elementary School opened. Students from grades 1 through 6 moved into this building from the schoolhouses at Port Clyde, Wiley’s Corner, Tenants Harbor, and Clark Island. The picture above is taken from the current school entrance road on Main Street. From right to left you can see the cafeteria, kitchen, janitor’s room, supply room, bathrooms, first grade and second grade. On the other side of the building, from left to right, were the third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, principal’s office and the covered entrance to the building.
The building has undergone several changes since 1957. At the north end of the building a two-story addition housed a library and kindergarten in the late 1970s. Another addition was made at the south end adding the students from the Annex Building in the early 1980s. This addition included a gymnasium that was part of the original design of the 1950s, but was scrapped due to cost. The Annex Building, as it was called, was the old high school on School Street and housed students from grades 6 to 8 in the first floor rooms beginning when the St. George High School closed in the early 1960s and St. George sent their high school students to Georges Valley High School in Thomaston. The last renovation that was in 1996 updated the “old” building and added several improvements which included the removal of classroom trailers.
The history of schools in St. George could fill several volumes. At one point in the early 1800s there were 20 school districts in town. Because of the size of the town, this many schools were needed. The district boundaries were always changing, too, based on the changes of the population within the neighborhoods. And there were several islands—such as Allen, Hupper and Teel—that had their own schools. The St. George Historical Society’s new web site (www.stgeorgehistory.com) has a picture section that includes pictures of some of the old schoolhouses plus some old school photos of the students. The Marshall Point Lighthouse museum collection also includes quite a bit of information on the schools of St. George.
And the debate on consolidation of schools apparently has always been there. A newspaper article in January 1957 spoke of the resistance coming from Port Clyde because they had a two-room school that was only 10 years old. This was confirmed to me in the 1990s when, at a town meeting, I spoke to an older gentlemen from Port Clyde who said that it was the first town meeting he had been to since they closed the Port Clyde School! Imagine—closing one- and two-room schoolhouses and consolidating them into one building in a central location in town? Some discussions never change.