AUBURN — An open house was held Saturday, Sept. 22, at the West Auburn School, which officially closed in 1950. 

The event celebrated the official transfer of the schoolhouse to the Androscoggin Historical Society.

Steve Marsden, retiring president of the West Auburn School Historical Society, noted that the Auburn City Council decided in 1992 to sell the school after renting it to individuals who had used it for storage over some 40 years. A small group of individuals, including some residents from West Auburn and former students of the school, formed the society and purchased the property from the city for $1.

Within a few short years and through fundraising efforts the group was able to rehabilitate and refurnish the school as it would have appeared in the 1850s.

Each year, classes of students from area schools have come to the school for a day of education in a one-room school, taught by schoolmarm and society board member Donna Berry, a retired teacher.

Three years ago, according to Marsden, the society board recognized it was facing an uncertain ability to continue its stewardship of the schoolhouse because of aging membership. They decided to approach the Androscoggin Historical Society to take ownership of the property to continue its use to the public for educational and community entertainment. The merger was completed in June.

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Marsden presented the schoolmarm’s bell to Androscoggin Historical Society President Curtis Jack, who thanked the many members and volunteers of the West Auburn School Historical Society for their years of devotion to the schoolhouse, pledging that his society will endeavor to carry out the traditions started by School House Society.

People interested in helping to maintain the schoolhouse, to rent the building for events, or to have students experience rural education are encouraged to contact the Androscoggin Historical Society at 207-784-0586 or [email protected]

The one-room West Auburn School, built in 1843. (Photo by Richard Plourde)

Steve Marsden, left, president of West Auburn School Historical Society, hands the schoolmarm’s bell to Androscoggin Historical Society President Curtis Jack. (Doug Hodgkin photo) 


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