Back to Fort Fairfield Journal      WFFJ-TV      Contact Us


Perham Inhabitants Seek Help to

Refurbish One-Room Schoolhouse


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, September 13, 2017


   The one-room school house on Tangle Ridge Road in Perham was recently transferred from the town to the newly created Perham Historical Society.  The North Star school was built in 1857 and functioned until 1950 when it closed down.  The town allowed a Pentecostal Church group to utilize and look after the building for several years until they abandoned the building.

   The Perham Historical Society (PHS) was created as part of the agreement with the town of Perham to transfer ownership of the 160 year-old building.  “ There was a tornado last year that knocked a bunch of trees onto this building.  Those trees were removed, but due to insurance reasons and liability, the town wasn't that interested in saving it but  The townspeople were,” said John Rasmussen, Executive Director of PHS.   “There was an effort ten years ago to save it, but there wasn't a mechanism to do so.  Now we've actually created a non-profit to handle all of the liability and take care of the renovation and restoration so it's not a tax issue, it is a community issue for the town.” 

   The town recently sold the building to the Perham Historical Society for a dollar.  “We're doing our best to make the people of Perham proud or at least save their culture.”

   Rasmussen says the immediate plans are to get the building ready for winter.  “There's a couple of holes in the roof that need to be taken care of.  I'd like to try to figure that out before winter happens.  If that doesn't work, we're going to put some of the tar/asphalt paper over it and work on something in the spring.”

    The front sill on the building is totally destroyed after years of exposure to the elements.  “It's rotted clear through.  That's the big thing to really fix, whether that's going to happen this year or not, I'm not sure.”

   The PHS plans to work through the winter on interior displays until they can get back to work outside in the Spring.  “Because the winter is long and we can't work outside, we're going to start building the exhibits and putting them in the town office so the people can start to put everything together and realize there's a historical society that is trying to preserve the history of Perham because it is unique.

   The group is planning on demolition the addition on the building which was not part of the original structure and returing the schoolhouse to its original form.

   The PHS recently held a community fundraising dinner on the grounds of the old schoolhouse in order to raise money and awareness for the project.  Nearly two dozen community members turned out for the evening pot-luck supper where a raffle was held for various prizes donated by local businesses for the effort. A WFFJ-TV news video on this event may be viewed here.

   Those interested in learning more about the fund raising plans are invited to check out their website:  The PHS may be recahed via e-mail:  or phone 227-6954.