Where did South Berwick children go to school in the 1870’s?
If you were going to school in the 1870’s, would you go to Central School? No!
Instead, you would be attending one of South Berwick’s 14 district schools with the other children who lived near you. In your district school there would be just one teacher who was responsible for teaching 1st graders to 8th graders – all in one room!
Some schools were only open for summer and winter terms so children could help their families plant and harvest crops during spring and fall.
Did children ride in a bus to get to school in the 1870’s? No way! Most of the students walked to and from school with their brothers, sisters, and neighbors. Many students brought their lunches with them in pails because there was no hot lunch and it was too far to walk home for their noon meals. If you lived in 1870 in the house that you live in today, which district school would you have attended? Look at the District School House map and see if you can find it.
(This article was written by Norma Keim. Updated 2020.)
This is a map from the Atlas of York County published in 1872. It’s not as clear as many maps today, but we hope you can find your school. You would have gone to the district school that was the closest to your house.
Find your one-room schoolhouse!
On the map, the schools are highlighted with blue. Look for the initials S.H. No . Then look for the number beside those initials. That is the number of the school house where you would have gone to school.
After you discover the number of your school district, scroll through the titles below to find the picture of that schoolhouse's location today. That picture will tell you where the old school house was and perhaps will show you what remains of the school that once stood on that site.
How far would you have to walk each way if you went to that school? It might be more than a mile! You can use Google Earth to measure the distance or ride and measure it by car.