Early Schools of Hallowell, Maine

Category: Kennebec County Published: Sunday, 09 February 2014 Written by Carol Eddleman Print Email
SCHOOLS.  The cause of education in Hallowell, as elsewhere in Maine, has been progressive.  Sixty-five years ago there were two schools in the city proper -- one in the old brick school house, torn down in 1840, and the other in a building opposite the South church, now used as a dwelling.  Master Locke taught in the brick building, and the other was for small children.  Some years later there was an attempt at graded schools, and J. C. Lovejoy taught for one season a school in the South school house.  Still later, the town house was built, and a school room was fitted up on the first floor.  The wealthy families sent their children to the academy.  Mr. John A. Vaughan opened a female academy where the granite offices now are, which continued a number of years.
In 1840 a determined effort was made for graded schools, and was carried through.  A school house was built, and with few changes, the system of schools then adopted has remained to the present time.  A new high school building was dedicated December 20, 1890, when remarks were made by Major Eliphalet Rowell, architect A. C. Currier and others.  At one time the high school and classical academy were united, and under the tuition of Charles Fish and A. W. Burr, the school made good progress; but lack of funds brought the institution to a close, the academy was shut up, and a new high school building provided for.  Emma O. French is now the first lady superintendent of schools for the city.
Hallowell Academy was chartered in 1791, and with the exception of Berwick Academy, which was chartered on the same day, is the oldest chartered institution of its kind in the state.  Twenty trustees were named in the act, and a majority was required to do business. With the act of incorporation the academy received an endowment of land, afterward incorporated by the name of Harmony.  A building was erected, and first occupied in 1795.  In 1804 the building was burned, and in 1805 another was built on the same spot.  In 1803 over 400 different students had been in attendance, and in 1813 over 800.  In 1807 a bell, purchased of Paul Revere and Son, was hung in the belfry.  The academy continued to prosper until schools were graded, and scholars could be fitted for college in the high school.  Then its patronage fell off as it did from all similar institutions in the state.
The early teachers of Hallowell Academy and years of service are given below; Woodman, 2; Moody, 8; Kinne, 2; Bailey, 1; Webster, 2; Curtis, 3; Folsom, 1; Emery, 1; Webber, 1; Olcott, 1; Hubbard, 1; Gurley, 1; Packard, 1; Boutelle and Tenney, 1; Greene, 1; Crosby, 1; Caldwell, 1; Bradbury, 1; Apthorp, 1; Learned, 2; Lovejoy, 1; Munroe, 1; Goodenow, 2; McKown, 1; Blanchard, 1; Parker, 2; Sawyer, 1. This brings the institution down to 1838.  In 1873 its name was changed to Hallowell Classical Institute, and it was made a Congregational school and a feeder for Bowdoin College.  This did not prove a success, and for several years the academy has been closed.
(Source: Illustrated History of Kennebec County, Maine: eds.: Kingsbury, Deyo, H. W. Blake & Co., 1892: Chapter 19, Hallowell, Me., pp. 488b-516.)
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