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The Southermost Schoolhouse dates to 1725 and is the oldest one-room schoolhouse in New England.
The original cost to construct the post and beam structure came to seventy-three pounds, twelve shillings, and seven pence. A pony chimney was constructed to save on cost.
The structure originally had a cellar where the schoolmaster would live. The first schoolmaster was a man by the name of James Preston. Preston and the parents of the school pupils were responsible for the maintenance of the building.
The school was donated to the Society by the Hall family after being used for several years as a harness storage shed. It was moved to the Society’s property in 1952. Don’t miss the graffiti left by schoolchildren that have long since been let out of detention!
1716: Town authorized the construction of several schools
Town authorized the construction of several schools including Southermost and Northernmost. The latter school was built near Child Street and East Main Road.
1725: The Southermost Schoolhouse was built
The Southermost Schoolhouse was built just west of where the Rhode Island State Police Barracks stand today. It was built on land donated by William Sanford.
1746: Widow Sarah Strange and her family had been using the Southermost School.
Widow Sarah Strange and her family had been using the Southermost School as a home in 1746. At a town meeting she and her family were evicted so that the schoolhouse could 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.
Sometime before 1800 the school was moved to the corner of West Main Road and Union Street. The entryway now present 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: Further restoration completed through a grant through the Champlin Foundation.
2015: The exterior of the schoolhouse receives a new coat of paint.
The exterior of the schoolhouse receives a new coat of paint through the support of the Newport Restoration foundation.