Androscoggin Historical Society

Discovery • preservation • dissemination of knowledge

On Saturday afternoon, September 22, 2018 an open house was held at the West Auburn School. This is Auburn’s last remaining one-room schoolhouse, which officially closed in 1950. Light refreshments of cookies, apples, cider, and spring water were offered the attendees.

This event celebrated the official transfer of the schoolhouse to the Androscoggin Historical Society. Virtually all residents of West Auburn received invitations to the event.

Speaking to those gathered, Steve Marsden, retiring President of the West Auburn School Historical Society (WASHS), noted that the Auburn City Council decided in 1992 to sell the school after having rented it out to various individuals, who had used it for storage over some 40 years. A small group of individuals, including some residents from West Auburn as well as former students of the school, formed the WASHS organization and purchased the property from the city for one dollar.

Within a few short years, and through a variety of fund-raising efforts, the group was able to completely 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 West Auburn School for a day of education in a one-room school, taught by schoolmarm and WASHS board member Donna Berry, herself a retired teacher.

Three years ago, according to Marsden, the WASHS board recognized that it was facing an uncertain ability to continue its stewardship of the schoolhouse due to an aging membership and no real prospects of younger replacements. They decided to approach the Androscoggin Historical Society (AHS) to take ownership of the property in order to continue its use to the public for educational and community entertainment purposes. The merger was effected in June of this year.

Marsden then presented the schoolmarm’s bell to AHS President Curtis Jack, who thanked the many members and volunteers of WASHS for their years of devotion to the schoolhouse, pledging that AHS will endeavor to carry out the traditions started by WASHS.

Thanks were extended to AHS board members David Chittim and Penny Jessop for organizing the event and for securing donations of apples from Wallingford’s Orchards. Water came from Poland Spring. Several volunteers from AHS and WASHS donated freshly baked cookies. Persons interested in helping to maintain the schoolhouse, to rent the building for events, or to have students experience rural education as it was practiced 170 years ago are encouraged to contact the Androscoggin Historical Society at 784-0586 or

West Auburn School

Events >> 2019 Program Schedule | Knight House Tours | West Auburn School

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Androscoggin Historical Society

2 Turner St., #8, (County Bldg)

Auburn, ME 04210


Phone 207-784-0586




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Friday: 1 to 4pm

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The Androscoggin Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization