In the early 1900’s, Millinocket’s population increased every year. Oxford Street School had opened in 1907 as the Millinocket High School and Common School was full and overflowing. By 1913-14, another new elementary building was needed. Plans were put together to have one by 1915 but delays kept it from opening until the fall of 1916. It had four classrooms and included a teacher’s room. Four more rooms were finished soon after and later basement space was converted for use. According to the town reports, for some time this building was referred to as the Brick Schoolhouse. Later is became known as Aroostook Avenue School.
The town report, Feb. 1914 - Feb. 1915, show the town had paid out $18,533 for this new building. Another entry states “the new school house will cost approximately $40,000 which leaves $10,000 to be raised by direct taxation.” Another $2000 each year would be raised yearly “to extinguish the debt.” A later entry by the superintendent of schools says “due to delays on the part of the architect and company furnishing the cement trimmings, it is doubtful we will use the new building until fall. When finished, this school will be one of the best north of Bangor.” The report issued in Feb. 1916 tells of payment for “the Brick School fence of $414.75. This included the wire fencing, posts and the building of a concrete wall. In addition, it is noted that the sum of $1.75 was paid to R. E. Elliott for hauling the fencing and other materials from the railroad station.
The superintendent’s report (1915-1916) sums up the student population situation at the time. “The number of school children in Millinocket is increasing so rapidly that it is becoming quite a problem to know what to do with them. We thought the new school building which was built to accommodate 400 children would solve the question for several years, but already there are over 400 in the new building and no teacher has less than 40 students.”
From there, plans were begun for another elementary school, but WWI happened and it would be fifteen years before the next elementary school would open.
Note on the photo: We're looking for information for the above photo. We think it shows Aroostook Avenue School children as it was donated to the museum years ago by one of “the Bears ladies” as we have heard long-time teachers Viola and Annie Bears referred to. Would like info on them (which schools and grades did they teach) and does anyone recognize the activity taking place. It’s obviously elementary school children and the activity appears perhaps to have been somewhere with basketball court lines painted on the floor…SHS gym??