1716: Town authorized several schools including Southermost and Northernmost (built near Child Street and East Main Road)
. Southermost School was to be on the 3/4 acre of land donated by William Sanford. Town citizens authorized 20 pounds for construction but actually cost 23 pounds. This figure would be around $100 in our money.
1725: It was built in in the vicinity of present day 102 Union St. It has simple post and beam structure. The original frame remains intact. To save costs it had a pony chimney which extends down part way into the building from the room. The roof supports the weight of the chimney, so the roof sags. It had a cellar and chimney with a fireplace which were built for the first schoolmaster, James Preston. The maintenance and support of the school and master were the responsibility of the parents. The Prestons had lived with James Strange and his family. When Preston became ill, the town let the family live in the cellar of the school, but they evicted them in 1729.
1746: Widow Sarah Strange and her family had been using the Southermost School as a home and at a Town Meeting she and her family were ordered out so that the school house might be restored for use as a school again.
1800: Sometime before 1800 the school was moved to the corner of West Main Road and Union Street. The entry way (as you see it) was added at this time. A stove was used for heat.
1860: Around the time of the Civil War the Gibbs School was built and the Almy family bought the Southermost School at auction in 1863. The School spent 90 years at Hall Farm (Lakeside) on 559 Union Street where it served as a storage and harness shed.
1952: Hall family gave it to the Portsmouth Historical Society.
1969: PHS restored the school house raising funds through house tours and yard sales.
2000: New restoration with help of Champlin Grant.
2015: A grant from the Newport Restoration foundation has helped us refresh the paint.
Inside are some original student desks along with the top of the original teacher desk. There are also examples of the primers, copy books and textbooks students would have used in one room schools in Portsmouth. Some of the school desks and two school bells come from the McCorrie and Bristol Ferry Schools. Entrance way has lunch pails and pegs to hang coats.