Cumberland Schools Through the Ages

An Oral History

Please click on the links, on the sidebar, to learn more about the Cumberland schools of the past and hear long-time Cumberland residents describe their school experiences.

The first record of a school in Cumberland was that of a schoolhouse on lot 60 on the Tuttle Road near the Foreside Road, where Daniel Mitchell taught, beginning in 1764. This was a private school and private schools continued until 1821, when at the first Cumberland town meeting money was appropriated to establish public schools for the different sections (or districts) of the town. Over the years, up to 15 districts had one-room schoolhouses. The students who attended the early schools, were anywhere from ages 5 to 25, and had varying levels of education. During the 1920s, Cumberland became part of School Union 13 comprised of Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. During the 1940s, Cape Elizabeth withdrew. In 1950, the new Cumberland Elementary School was created, thus replacing all of the small district schools and consolidating all of the town’s elementary students into one school for the first time. Falmouth then withdrew in 1963 and Union 13 was dissolved when School District 51 was created in 1966.

As you go through the town, you may notice that some of these schoolhouses still exist. Please view the pictures and the description of their location to see if you recognize them. If you have any additional information or pictures that would be willing to share that would help preserve this history, please feel free to send it to us to be added to the site. Thank you for your help!