In 1955 the Readfield Elementary School was completed and all grades K-8 from Readfield were bused to this school on South Road at Readfield Depot. High School students were given a choice of where they could attend. Most went to Winthrop High School, Kents Hill School, or Cony in Augusta. In 1976 Union #42 was established and Maranacook Community School was built at the head of Lake Maranacook near Readfield Corner. Junior and Senior High School students from Readfield, Mt. Vernon, Wayne and Manchester currently attend this school.
In 1860 a second floor was added to this brick schoolhouse near Readfield Corner. This addition served as a community hall where town's people enjoyed dances, live theater and movies. Renovations were made possible through the generosity of Asa Gile, and the building was aptly named Asa Gile Hall in his honor. Elementary school grades 6-8 were held downstairs until 1955 at which time it became the new location for the Town Hall and Readfield Community Library. The upstairs fell into disrepair, and had not been used for many years. In the 1980's the Library was moved to the Eaton House, also known as the Readfield Community House, where it had been located originally. In 1997 Asa Gile Hall has been remodeled again both up and down. The town offices remain on the first floor, and the upstairs will be used once again for community meetings. The hall has been rededicated as Asa Gile Hall.
Kents Hill School was founded by Revolutionary
War veteran Luther Sampson (also see Churches / Methodist). The government
awarded those who had been in military service with grants of land, and
Mr. Sampson set out on horseback from Marshfield Massachusetts to locate
his lot. Unsure of what direction he should take, Mr. Sampson gave his
horse the lead and they found their way atop beautiful Kents Hill in Readfield.
In Luther Sampson's own words " In 1800 I got the body of my house up,
the roof shingled, brought doors and windows from the old house, and moved
into it so I could put corn in the old house...In a few years I gave up
the west room for the circuit preacher's family...." In 1821 he built a
house across from his own for the use of the preacher in residence. The
same year he also "got a body incorporated by the name of Readfield Religious
and Charitable Society, since changed to the name Maine Wesleyan Seminary."
He believed that the land bestowed upon him was from God and placed in
his care, so felt moved to share his good fortune. He also felt there was
a need for good training for men called to the ministry so founded The
Readfield Religious and Charitable Society, but his efforts faltered for
lack of a qualified principal. He was fortunate to find Elihu Robinson
who ran an academically successful, but financially poor school in Augusta.
They joined forces and founded Maine Wesleyan Seminary in 1824. Luther
Sampson contributed over $13,000.00 toward establishing the Seminary (now
Kents Hill School). He also deeded 140 acres, a furnished house,
two barns, sheds, outbuildings, 50 acres of pastureland with sheep and
cattle. The school was now academically and finacially sound. Mr. Robinson
and his family took residence in the "1821 house" which still stands today
and is used as faculty housing. On February 27, 1824 fourteen young people
from the nearby community were the first students.
The declaration of purpose in the newly named school was "instruction to youth in the principles of experimental Christian religion, theology, literature and a practical knowledge of agriculture and mechanical arts". This is the first known attempt at providing courses in manual training in the country. In the summer of 1824 an old house on the property was made into a classroom, and a barn was remodeled into a shop for manual training and carpentry. A three story building was constructed to house classrooms, chapel, dormatory and kitchen. The numbers grew, and the Kents Hill story began.
Kents Hill is a successful co-ed college preparatory school today. A diverse enrollment of 150-200 includes students from all across the USA and the world in addition to Maine. Athletics, theater, art and additional extra curricular activities are encouraged to help develop the well rounded individual.
1997- 2002 Dale Potter Clark All Rights Reserved