From Volume V, Number 21 of the Gray News on October 15, 1973, is the following excerpt referencing the Brick Schoolhouse:
The brick part of the building pictured was constructed somewhere around the 1840's. It was known as "The Brick Schoolhouse" and was located almost directly across the street from the brick building housing apparatus of the Pine Tree Telephone Company. Those who attended or remember the school say that its from was close to the sidewalk and that it was less than 20 feet from the white house next to the Post Office. The fence with the two white doors at the right of the picture concealed the toilets near the back of the building. After the wooden extension was added, probably in the late 1870's, the front of the building housed an entry, the woodshed, and the stairs to the second floor which were originally on the outside of the brick front. The entry had a long board with hooks for the children's clothes, a locker for the teachers, and a shelf with a bucket of drinking water and a long-handled dipper.
This schoolhouse was used for the pre-high school pupils of the Gray Corner district (District No. 5 until districts were abolished about 1895). It was torn down in 1902 when classes were moved into the new elementary school, now used for a library and school offices which had just been completed. In general, terms in the old school started in late April, early September, and early December. They averaged about ten weeks in length. The average number of pupils from 1890 to 1895 was 26. Until 1875, The Brick Schoolhouse also housed the Gray High School, when one was conducted. The high school, which used the second floor or the schoolhouse, had only one term of about ten weeks in January, February, and March. In 1876, high school classes were held for a few years in the Town Hall and then the high school was discontinued until the Pennell Institute opened in 1886.
According to a newspaper article written by S.P. Mayberry about 1886, the brick schoolhouse was the second of three schoolhouses that stood near the site of the present library. He describes the first as follows: " this school house was a high, one storied wooden building with a four faced roof; the sides were either clapboarded or shingled. It was on the site of the present brick school house. It stood side to the Shaker road and the entrance was next to the southwest corner."
"Inside on the southern end, was a fireplace which was supplied with a great back log and fore stick. On these the fire was built of some pine kindlings and dry wood which the boys brought with them and when this was sufficiently kindled green wood was piled on and it took considerable part of the forenoon before the house was even warm. Near the master's desk was a cast iron box stove. Originally it was divided inside, the upper part was used to warm the children's dinners and the lower part for the wood. It would take in a three foot stick. On the top was one hole, in which was usually placed a kettle. Tradition says this was the first stove used in the town."
Information: Courtesy of Mrs. Bessie Burns Libby, Willis Goff, and George Hill. Photo from Byron Hanson.
Gifted to the town by George Newbegin, the building now serves as the central activity hub for Gray Recreation Department.
22 Main St, Gray
Pennell Institute, 1876. Opened to students in 1886, Pennell Institute, with an enrollment of 122 was the gift of Henry Pennell. Built at a cost of $20,000 the institute was willed to the Town of Gray along with a trust fund for its operation and free high school education.
Present home of Gray Town Offices.
24 Main Street
Pennell Lab Building
The Pennell Lab building was a gift of Henry Pennell. Built in 1897 by Silas Foster at a cost of $1,300 from the Henry Pennell trust fund, this building was a laboratory for the Pennell Institute and later housed the Gray News newspaper. It is registered with the national register of historic places. Now empty.
20 Main Street
Built in 1876 on land purchased from Henry Pennell. for Dr. Rowell, a dentist, the property was sold to Perley & Jennie Sawyer in about 1915. Previous home of Margaret Sawyer, Gray historian and curator of the Gray Historical Society at the Pennell Building.
18 Main Street
Dr. Beck Home
Also the home of Mae Beck; brick early Greek Revival, 1832.
23 Main Street
Originally erected in the Town square across from the Town office and adjacent to the Morrill/Durgin house, this monument was dedicated in 1911 as a memorial to the civil war soldiers of Gray. The funds for the monument were raised in part by the George F. Shepley Post, GAR of Gray, and approved for completion at a special town meeting in 1910. Moved to its current location at the corner Portland and Shaker Roads in December 1997.
9 Main St, Gray
Stimson Memorial Hall
Stimson Memorial Hall is a historic government building at 4 Shaker Road in the center of Gray, Maine. Built in 1900, it served for many years as the town's main public meeting space, and is a prominent landmark in the town center.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and social significance in 1992. It was occupied by a church group and listed for sale as of 2015 as one of its most endangered historic properties, due to its poor condition and lack of preservation plan.
8 Shaker Road
Gray Primary School
The Primary School was built in 1902 to replace the old brick school. Six grades originally attended this two-room schoo, but after 1948 only primary grades attended school here.
Now the home of MSAD #15 administrative offices.
14 Shaker Road
Built in 1830 by the Universalist Society on land sold by Eliab Latham for thirty-two dollars, half of the church was sold to the Baptist Society for $700. The shared church became known as the Union Church until 1856 when the church was sold at auction to James Small for $300. The church was then given to the Baptist Society. Today, the building is a chapel venue.
16 Shaker Rd, Gray
Late 1800s. Originally an exhibition hall for the Gray Fairgrounds. Later became the home of Dr. Cushing, a dentist, and the Grange Hall. Now the home of Enercon.
22 Shaker Road
Wilson Funeral Home
Built 1924 and established as a funeral home in 1927, now owned & managed by the third generation in the Wilson family.
24 Shaker Road
Built in 1857 per sign over barn door.
Once the home of Walter Brown "The Shadow" Gibson.
26 Shaker Rd
John T. Merrill House
The John T. Merrill Home was built in 1875. Its original owner built a sawmill, a shingle mill, and a grist mill on the property. In the 1940s it became the Hayes store, where Gray folks went for homemade ice cream. The home is distinguished by a mansard roof. Also previously the home of Rear Admiral Willard Sweetser.
21 Shaker Rd, Gray
Greek Revival style built in the 1840's. The Rev. Lincoln Allen became the Pastor of the Congregational Church in 1844. While in Gray he had purchased and lived in the house across from the Town Office Building, then on Shaker Road. In his will, he left the house to the Congregational Society to be used as a parsonage.
7 Shaker Rd, Gray
Clark's Block includes several buildings from the late 1700's to 1800's. Included in this block is the Daniel Hall brick store, a busy place in the 19th century, providing dry goods and groceries to townsfolk and travelers. It was built by Daniel Hall, who also constructed the Matthew Morrill House.
3 Main St, Gray
Lieut. Charles H. Colley
Lieutenant Charles H. Colley of Co. B. 10th Me was among the first to rally in defense of his Country and was wounded at Cedar Mountain August 9, 1862. He died of his wounds on September 20, 1862 at the age of 29.
More of his story after death is told at the grave of "The Stranger".
Gray Village Cemetery
Section 2 Ave E Plot 32
Find a Grave: Lieut. Charles H. Colley
The Federal style brick home was built in the 1830s by the Mayall family in Gray Village at the corner of Route 202 and the Old Portland Road. The front looks much like it did in the colonial days.
2 Center Rd, Gray
During the U.S. Civil War, Lt. Charles H. Colley of Gray was mortally wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. His body was sent home for burial. However, when the casket arrived home, it contained the body of an unknown soldier in a gray Confederate uniform. Unable to correct the mistake, and believing that the young man's family would want him to have a proper burial, the soldier was laid to rest in the town cemetery, and a group of local townswomen arranged to have a stone placed on his grave. Shortly after, the body of Lt. Colley arrived in Gray and now lies in the Colley family lot, not far from the Stranger's grave.
Gray Village Cemetery
Section 2 Avenue H Plot 27A
Find a Grave: The Stranger
Gray Village Cemetery
Gray Village Cemetery is the largest in town and the only one in active use. It was opened in 1784, records of town historian George Hill state, when Daniel Libby, a prominent businessman here at the time, deeded to the town three acres of land for the site of the Parish Church house and a cemetery adjacent. With just under 5,500 burials as of 2020, much of the town’s history can be traced to “citizens” of Gray Village Cemetery.
More information including burial reports, maps, and historical data is available on the Gray Cemetery Association website.
1 Main Street
Gray Town Hall 1835
Built by David Carey for the cost of $1300, the Town hall held its first town meeting on March 5, 1838. The upper floor was designed for public meetings and included a small stage used for social events, and also served as the high school before Pennell Institute.
The Selectman’s office occupied the first floor. Three bays took up the rest of the first floor and held many businesses including a wheel wright, a cabinet maker and the first national bank of Gray.
The building now is the home of the Gray Historical Society.
1 Main Street, Gray
The original Baptist parsonage, built in the 1840s, is where Daniel Green lived. He was active in financial affairs, owned land on the eastern side of Main Street, and operated a store. The parsonage, located on the south side of Greenleaf Street, is currently a residence.
8 Yarmouth Road
The former site of the McLellan House owned and built by Joseph McLellan in 1793, the home was Gray's first post office in 1795. Joseph McLellan was Gray's first postmaster and ran the Village's first store from the front room of the home. Later became the Archie Harris house and survived the fir of 1921. Home was torn down in 2010.
5 Yarmouth Rd, Gray
The Hancock & Company building was constructed in 1876 by Henry Goff out of bricks from his brickyard at East Gray. It was the town's largest merchandising store, and had a horse shed and a grain house. The third floor was used by the Odd Fellows organization. Today, it still displays the architectural design it featured after being rebuilt following the fire of 1921.
6 Main St, Gray
Matthew Morrill House
Matthew Morrill House, built in 1840 by Daniel Hall, using bricks kilned in Gray Village. Most of its original woodwork is intact, as are eight fireplaces. A large attached barn was once a harness and carriage house. This is a very find example of a New England brick colonial.
Built in the Federal style, this brick home at the "center of it all" in the heart of Gray Village was later the home of Evelyn Morrill Durgin.
1 Center Rd, Gray
Colonial Inn, 1832. Greek Revival. Built by Thomas O’Brion, a prominent Portland businessman. For three generations it was the home of the Hancock family, who catered to tourists In 1926 it was converted to a two-family house then owned by Jennie B. Sawyer.
8 Portland Rd, Gray
Old Alms House
The Old Alms House, built in brick by Theophilua Stimson in the 1830s has been known as the John W. Frank farm, the Town Farm, and Hansen's farm. The rear of property occupied by ladder company.
15 Portland Rd
Daniel Berry House
Daniel Berry was 57 when he purchased this half-acre lot on “New County Road” in 1868 from Warren H. Vinton (a noted Maine politician). He and his wife Louisa (Haskell) soon built a house and lived here until Louisa died in 1877. Daniel and his father Merrill had been wheelwrights in the center of Gray, with a shop in the western end of the old town hall. Both Berry families had lived together in a large brick house on Shaker Road (now demolished) until Merrill died.
This house does not resemble many other houses in the area: It is taller and narrower than a New England Cape, with Greek Revival features that include decorative trim around the roof line and windows and a wide horizontal space below the eaves (called the “frieze”) to allow for taller walls in the upstairs rooms. The present owner of the Daniel Berry House has identified all of the 30 people who occupied this house over the past 150-plus years and many of the events that took place right at their doorstep.
18 Portland Road
The Hancock School was a gift of James T. Hancock in 1930. Stick style trim. Became Gray Public Library. Addition, 1989. Currently the home of Gray Public Library, with additions added in 1989 and 2014.
5 Hancock St, Gray
Built around 1892 by Andrew Antonio on land originally owned by Ebenezer Bean. House occupied for many years by the Davis family.
Willard B. Sweetser House
Built by David Cummings in 1879 this house was later owned and occupied by Willard B. Sweetser for many years. Willard Sweetser was a store owner in the brick store on Main street and later the Hancock building. He also served as town treasurer, moderator at town meetings and a trustee of Pennell Institute.
9 Yarmouth Rd, Gray
Henry Pennell House
Built in 1876. Henry Pennell was a native of Gray who received very little education. He eventually became a wealthy man and gave the town money to have a building constructed for higher education. During World War II, the Libby family opened part of this home for use as a maternity hospital for Dr. Beck's patients.
14 Main St, Gray
Willard Merrill House
Built by Henry Thayer in about 1881, purchased in 1882 by Henry Haskell, and subsequently by Willard Lincoln Merrill in 1901 who lived there until his death in 1931. This Federal style home has been used in more recent years as a gift shop, bakery, and childcare center.
68 Shaker Rd
Weeks' Homestead was built on lot #34 in 1762, before the present-day North Yarmouth Road was built. When the road was built, the barn had to be moved back 14 feet. The house was built by Benjamin Weeks, who tilled the soil, nurtured apple tree, had three children and "minded his own business" as folks reported. Other owners were Oscar Weeks, Frank Hill, Perley Sawyer, and the Stansfield family.
59 Yarmouth Rd
Webster House & Tavern
This brick Federal style early tavern was built between 1810 and 1820. It is now a private residence.
23 Yarmouth Rd
South Gray Cemetery
From page 323 of Volume I, Gray Cemetery Association Records, as recorded by Florence Libby Hunt:
"The beginnings of this little 'burying ground' are unkown to your recorder. The following deed was found among other papers in the old vault in the Town House and promptly recorded in Cumberland Registry.
Josiah Hill of Gray in consideration of $30.00 paid by the Inhabitants of the Town of Gray through their Treasurer, Jeremiah Pennell, Esq. conveyed a certain piece or parcel of land situate in said Gray and lying on the easterly side of the road leading from Gray Corner to Portland adjoining the South Gray Burying ground and at this time is enclosed by a new post and board fence, and annexed to and become a part of the burial ground at South Gray. Containing 58 sq rods more or less. Intending to include two detached pieces of land recently enclosed with and made a part of said burying grounds.
Reserving a certain apple tree standing near the line of the road within the burying yard fence.
The date of deed is March 4, 1871, acknowledged April 15, 1871. Recorded June 16, 1914 Vol 933 Page 162."
Find a Grave: South Gray Cemetery
According to the Gray Cemetery Association, many/most burials have been relocated to Gray Village Cemetery.
Although no members of the Skillin/Skillings family are believed to be still buried in this small plot, records maintained by the Cumberland County Registry of deeds (1 Aug 1956; Doc #11463; Book 2305; Pg 182) trace the history of the Skillings burial plot through four Skillin/Skillings generations thus: "The said Josiah Skillin was the great-grandfather, the said Samuel T. Skillings and Susan S. Skillings the grandfather and grandmother, and the said Charles E. Skillings the father of the grantors [Frederic Skillings/Alice G. Smith]. The said Charles E. Skillings died intestate in 1939 and his estate was duly probated and the said grantors [Frederic Skillings/Alice G. Smith] are his only surviving heirs at law." The deed transaction further states, "[This conveyance] ... also excludes any interest or rights anyone might have in and to a burial plot situated in the southwesterly corner of the property."
Find a Grave: Skillings Cemetery
Shaw-Cobb House. This house was built by the Shaw family - most likely Calvin Shaw - in the early 1830s. It stayed in the Shaw family until 1897. After that, the house was not lived in regularly until Hubert & Carole Cobb bought it in 1960, at which time it had no electricity nor plumbing.
66 Cambell Shore Rd
Samuel Perley House
Built in the 1770s in the Federal style, this home features original Moses Eaton stencils from the early nineteenth century, although the house was actually built many years earlier. Samuel was born in 1742 in Massachusetts, and came to Gray in 1784 to pastor Gray's first church. One of his closest friends was John Adams, who later became the second President of the United States. At one point, Rev. Perley and his wife lived on one side of the house while his son, wife, and their twelve children lived on the other. Federal style, late 1700's.
290 Yarmouth Rd
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
Established in 1783, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester is home to the only active Shaker Community in the world today. Situated on 1,800 acres of farm and forest land with seventeen historic structures from the 1780s through the 1950s, the Village continues to be a place where, we, the Shakers, live, work, and worship.
Visit Shaker Village online
707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester
Perley Gates House
The Perley Gates House was built by Cephus Perley on land give to his grandfather by the Town of Gray in the late eighteenth century. Cephus' daughter, Susan, married T.B.M. Gates and had the house extensively remodelled in 1929. c. 1800's.
311 Yarmouth Rd
Nathan Merrill House
The Nathan Merrill House built in 1766 is considered Gray's earliest house (and first frame house) still in existence. It features the original 25' ceiling beams and a granite block room in the cellars, accessible by trap door.
Small family cemetery (approximately 50' x 100') currently maintained by the Gray American Legion Post 86 because of the veteran Robert Cahill.
Photo shows a view of the Libby Cemetery from north to south. Perimeter along three sides is bordered with a chain fence.
Find a Grave: Libby Cemetery
George Perley House
The George Perley House was built around 1830. Mr. Perley was a representative to the State Legislature in 1840 and 1841, and was a Gray Selectman for several terms. Now an elegant bed & breakfast, it once sheltered Gray's poor at the Town Farm from 1879 through 1942.
Book a room at The George Perley House
8 George Perley Rd
Elder Family Cemetery
Located at the extreme end of Old Elder Road where a dirt path follows into a wooded area. Final resting place of Morrell & Hannah Elder and their family. Restored in 1964 by the Gray Historical Society. Records available at GHS Museum.
Find a Grave: Elder Family Cemetery
Dry Mills Post Office
Re-established in 1938 and closed in 1960, was frequently photographed and publicized as the "smallest post office in the state." It was a true local institution where customers could pass the time of day mending, sewing, chatting, and partaking of candy and soda pop. Originally at the corner of North Raymond Road and Route 26, it was moved to its current location beside the Dry Mills Schoolhouse.
Game Farm Road
Dry Mills Schoolhouse
The Dry Mills one-room school, built in 1858 in District #3, became the largest ungraded school of the town in 1883. In 1959 the last class to attend this school consisted of only first and second graders. The building was restored and moved to its current location on Game Farm Road in 1987. Today, it is a living museum, attesting to the educational environment in the mid 1800’s.
From the application for its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places:
"Constructed about 1857 and used in its original capacity for 102 years, the Dry Mills School is a well maintained example of a mid nineteenth century rural one-room schoolhouse. The one-story, gable roofed frame building exhibits modest Greek Revival style detailing. It is the last example of a one-room school in the Town of Gray that has not been significantly modified for other purposes. Threatened by its proximity to Route 26, the former school was moved to its present location in 1990 where it was subsequently rehabilitated by the Dry Mills School Committee. The building is eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for its architectural significance. Criteria Consideration B applies to this property because it has been moved."
"First settled by Anglo-Americans during the second quarter of the eighteenth century, the Town of Gray was incorporated on June 19, 1778. By the taking of the census in 1850, the town's population stood at 1,788 persons, a figure that was to decrease over the next three decades, rebound in 1880, and then rapidly decline thereafter. In the 1858 History and Description of New England, farming was listed as the principal business in the town, and there were two factories, two sawmills, and a new steam mill."
"Gray's educational history follows the pattern repeated throughout rural Maine. According to early records the town's first two school districts were formed about 1780, although the first schoolhouse was not erected until 1793. A year later, the town was divided into four school districts, a process that was repeated as the need arose until there were a total of twelve districts, each of which had its own building. The Dry Mills School was located in District No. 3. In addition to the several district schools, which typically provided instruction at the primary and grammar levels, the Town of Gray appropriated fluids for high school education beginning in the early 1800s. Although it is not clear where classes were originally held, after the construction of a two-story brick schoolhouse in 1843 in Gray village, the high school was held in the upper level of this building. In 1876, wealthy local resident Henry Pennell announced that he would give the town a new high school facility which, upon its completion in 1886, was named Pennell Institute (NR 7/12/82)."
"School consolidation beginning in the early twentieth century doomed Gray's one-room schoolhouses to functional obsolescense, and the Dry Mills School was finally closed in 1959. During the 1970s the interior of the building was renovated for use as a preschool. By the late 1980s interest grew in preserving the school as a museum. This plan included the relocation of the building in 1990 to a more protected site than its original one along heavily traveled Route 26. Restoration of the school has been recently completed."
Current Location: Game Farm Road, Gray
Original Location: Shaker Road, Gray
NOTE: GPS coordinates are approximate to the original location of the schoolhouse on Route 26, Shaker Rd, according to the Dry Mills map inset of the 1871 Atlas of Cumberland County, Maine.