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Ridge School Open House – Lisbon Historical Society
July 9 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
This one-room structure located on Rt. 9, Lisbon, Maine, at the junction of Ridge Road and Ridge Street, is the only surviving school house in its unaltered form, of its type, in the Town of Lisbon. All others have been transformed into other types of buildings, such as homes, store houses or garages.
In 1873, many parents in School District No.6 withheld their students from attending what was then the Ridge School, in protests against extremely poor conditions of the school building then in use. In response, the School Committee and town, in the summer of 1874, erected the present structure on the land across the street from its present location and a fraction of a mile nearer the village of Lisbon Falls. Teachers for the first year of the new new building’s existence were Nellie Whittemore, for the fall term, and Oliver Frazier for the winter tern. Average attendance for the Fall Term was 18.
In the summer of 1873, the building was moved across the road to its present location in order to provide a larger playground and a dug well. Prior to this move, a private contractor provided water to the Ridge School as well as to several other locations.
Weekly wages for teachers at the school in 1877 were $5.50 for the spring and the fall terms. Ten dollars weekly was paid for the winter term, probably because of the adverse conditions at that time of the year.
Heat, then as now, was provided by a wood stove, though the present type of stove was installed about 1920. Before this stove, a wood stove sat in the large opening at the back of the classroom, with its stovepipe extending the length of the room to the chimney.
The School had no electricity until 1923, all lighting previous to it being provided by Mother Nature. Lamps normally were not used during the school day as the large windows usually supplied sufficient lighting.
In October, 1931, the School Board voted to suspend the Ridge School, its attendance having declined to four students because of fewer farm families p1us some families preferring to send their children to the larger, more modern schools in the area. The four remaining children were Margaret and Agnes Harris, and Myrtle and Rosabelle Campbell. The teacher was Miss Ellen Margitan.
Various organizations used the building until is was reopened as a school for the 1943 – 1944 school year, and then was closed for good as a school, again being used by various organizations, and finally as a store-room by the Lisbon School Department.
In 1973, The Lisbon Historical Society was given the task of caring for The Ridge School and with the assistance of the Town and many individuals has attempted to put the building back into its condition of 1874. Except for one outlet, all electricity has been removed. Some interior work remains to be done, and will continue, as money permits.