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Readfield, Maine

HISTORY OF DISTRICT SCHOOLS &  KENTS HILL SCHOOL

This first district 8 school house was located across from the end of Palmeter Road on route 17, Kents Hill.  Torsey Pond can be seen in the background. This building was moved down the hill by Mr. Russell used as an apple shed, and later burned.


Readfield School Districts

Readfield had fourteen school districts established by 1837. Extensive historical information on early inhabitants of Readfield  has been compiled and is available to researchers at the Readfield Historical Society. This information includes the school district each family resided in. For this reason, the location of each district is listed below.
District # 1 made of brick, this schoolhouse was located in East Readfield on Route 17 across from the Route 135 junction.
District # 2 on South Road, Readfield Depot.
District # 3 Hoyt Hill School built on Levi Hoyt's property. Hoyt Hill Road crossed from Route 135 to Dudley Plains Road.
District # 4 A wooden building on the Plains Road.
District # 5 Near Readfield Corner, it was built in 1801, then land & building sold in 1832. A brick school was built in its place. See Asa Gile Hall below.
District # 6 Sturtevant Hill Road.
District # 7 Prescott Road in what is now North Manchester
District # 8 Kents Hill at the corner of Route 17 and Palmenter Ridge Road. Known as "The Little Seminary" by those who lived on Kents Hill.
District # 9 Route 41 (Winthrop Road)
District # 10 Church Road, Readfield Corner
District # 11 Near Baptist Church in what is now North Manchester
District # 12 North Road, Readfield Depot
District # 13 Near intersection of Thunder Castle and Old Kents Hill Roads.
District # 14 Readfield Depot on Route 17. Currently  houses the Readfield Historical Society and Museum.

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.




ASA GILE HALL (District #5)
Old Kents Hill Road
Picture Taken c1900

     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

The original school (now called the 1821 House) is
pictured on the left. In 1824 the 3 story structure
was added for use as classrooms, dormatory,
chapel & kitchen, and called "the Mansion".
The 1821 house remains today,
and is occupied by faculty.

     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.
 
 

 Some Kents Hill School Notables
Kents Hill School HomePage
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