The history of Park Street School

The history of Park Street School

The Park Street School property was used as a school site beginning in 1833, when the Baptist Society built Union Academy, which became the town's grammar and high school until it was destroyed by fire in 1870. A second school was built on the site, which operated until the early 20th century. The town of Kennebunk commissioned the construction of the existing Park Street School in 1921, hiring Boston architecture firm Hutchins and French.

The Colonial Revival-style school originally housed grammar and high school students until a new high school was built in 1939. Two additions built in the 1950s and 60s expanded Park Street School, which educated elementary school students until its closure in 2005. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Park Street School is now home to 30 one- and two-bedroom apartments for people 62 and older or disabled. Its features include a laundry room, hair salon, media room with flat-screen TV, computer room and library.

Its most compelling feature, however, is the large community room, with its high ceilings, brick walls and large windows looking into the lobby and second-floor hallways. The adjoining community kitchen makes the space ideal for residents to gather for games or pot-luck dinners. Outside, a portion of the property will soon be home to community gardens.

In its rehabilitation, Avesta Housing retained as many historical features as possible, including classroom chalkboards and coat closets, slate floors, glass-paned doors and transom windows. Exterior multi-pane windows were restored when possible, while new windows designed to match the old were installed elsewhere. The building's original wood and cast stone trim was replicated to retain its historical façade, and the exterior brick walls that separate the old building from the new addition can be seen in the lobby.