Public schools have long been part of New England village life. In 1802, Castine residents voted to build a schoolhouse on the Town Common. Early records are inconclusive as to where on the Common the school was located, but it might have been on the site of the current Abbott School.
During the 1840s, that school building was deemed too small for the growing community’s needs. As a result, two new school houses were built on the Common. In 1853 the Adams School was constructed and was followed in 1859 with the construction of the Abbott School, named in honor of school committee member Charles Abbott.
The slump in Castine’s economy after the Civil War led to a drop in school enrollment. As a result, from 1867-1872, the Abbott School building was used as a new teacher-training school: Eastern State Normal School. In 1873 the Normal School moved to its own building. The Abbott School became the Castine High School, a center of learning and social life until low enrollment forced its closure in 1961.
The Castine Historical Society purchased the building in 1993 and restored it through local support. The building now incorporates a gallery for exhibits on Castine’s long history and a meeting space.
For more information, please visit: https://www.castinehistoricalsociety.org/abbott-school/