Martel Elementary SchoolMartel Elementary School in 1934
Schools were one of the many work programs that helped reduce welfare rolls in the depths of the depression in this industrial city.
Out of $239,193.23 distributed by the Civil Works Administration (CWA), “Nearly all of our public schools have been painted and varnished 12 rural schools are also to be painted.”
The 1934 town report, under Federal Emergency Relief Project From Dec 1933 up to Feb. 1935 specifies the schools.
“5. Painting and varnishing the interior of City Schools. Martel, Pettingill, Coburn, Frye, Dingley, Wallace, Jordan, and Lewiston High School. Exterior and interior painting of the twelve suburban schools, with general repairs such as new blackboards, etc.” The suburban schools mentioned are the typical rural one room schoolhouses
A list of Public Works Administration (PAW) non federal projects mentions a school improvement project #W1012 and the 1935 town report also mentions an unspecified PWA project from which the town contributed $1,137.
In 1938, an old 2 story firehouse that been unused since 1932 was rebuilt and became the headquarters of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and a National Youth Administration (NYA) classroom for home and industrial subjects. In 1939, the machine shop trained men between 16 and 25 in machine work, pattern making, welding, drafting, blueprinting and related subjects. The NYA program operated up until the war and was a vital means of training men and women for war production.
Thanks to an 1871 map, the location of all the rural schools was made possible and a few are still in existence as private homes. Most of the downtown schools listed date from the 19th century including the oldest that was built in 1865 and were converted into apartments and can be viewed as very nice examples of beautiful brick architecture.
Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenses of the City of Lewiston, Maine
Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on October 25, 2017.
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