In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Cumberland & North Yarmouth

A Neighboring History of Two Towns

Our Shared History

(Page 4 of 4) Print Version 

Schools: A Community Value

Dunn School students
Dunn School studentsItem Contributed by
North Yarmouth Historical Society

Education of our young people has always been a focus for Cumberland and North Yarmouth, and the growth of our schools from church schools to one-room schoolhouses to community schools and finally to our joint Maine School Administrative District 51 is a story that continues to bind our two towns together. In its first town meeting in the year 1821, Cumberland appropriated $550 for education and accepted students, ranging in age from five through twenty-five, from fifteen different school districts.

Greely Institute
Greely InstituteItem Contributed by
Cumberland Historical Society

Greely Institute
In 1858, one of Cumberland’s native sons left the sum of $27,500 to the town for the establishment of a school for young people aged 12 through 21. Eliphalet Greely, born on Greely Road in Cumberland in 1784, was president of Casco National Bank for 33 years and mayor of Portland for ten years. Upon his death, provisions in his will led to the building of Greely Institute, which opened on September 28, 1868 and held its first public graduation of six students in 1880. The town supported Greely Institute over the years and in 1913 it was incorporated by an act of the Maine Legislature. The town took control of Greely Institute in 1953 for the establishment of a free high school, and upon the formation of Maine School Administrative District 51 in 1966 it became Greely High School. The school district brings Cumberland and North Yarmouth, separated in 1821, together again.

Eliphalet Greely
Eliphalet GreelyItem Contributed by
Cumberland Historical Society

The history of both towns reminds us of our common roots. We remember the tumultuous births of each town and recall their similar developments and common themes. We see also the differences, and prepare for the challenges they will face. Both are proud communities and have reason to be so. To look at our history and join together in its study, we find the roots that reach deep for both communities.

Coming Back Together

Welcoming newcomers, adapting in the face of economic difficulty, and, taking care of one’s own, are the hallmarks of Cumberland and North Yarmouth, like many small towns throughout the country. Cumberland, once part of North Yarmouth, has since surpassed its sister town in population. Both towns are two of Greater Portland’s bedroom communities, where new residents and founding families alike benefit from the nearness of Maine’s largest city while residing in a pastoral location. Each town’s Comprehensive Plan will guide their future, but their roots will always remain in Ancient North Yarmouth.

The area’s open spaces reflect its deep agricultural roots. Fields are still cultivated for hay or remain undeveloped. Large parcels are protected as parkland or conservations areas. The Royal River corridor, a large, intact wildlife habitat, is preserved from development. Open vistas beckon bicyclists, walkers, and runners while kayakers paddle the Royal. Residential areas are joined to stores and services by new sidewalks. A distinct sense of community thrives and is evident at a number of community events. The Historical Societies, as well as Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum, provide ties to the past, inviting and encouraging residents to remember their history. We are connected by our past, and will share the future as families, neighbors and friends.

Spring Brook Farm by Anne Tarbox
Spring Brook Farm by Anne Tarbox