Zac McDorrA few years ago I purchased an old scrapbook on eBay. It was dated to the 1890s and belonged to a Boothbay teacher.

There were several artifacts inside from the grand opening of the Boothbay Opera House, but my favorite find was a pair of invitations tucked inside an envelope. These invited the teacher to attend the reception of Bath’s Class of 1894 at the Alameda, which was a large warehouse-type building where Five County Credit Union now stands.

Also included was a ticket for the class excursion on a steamboat two days later.

It would be fascinating to go back and attend one of those early Bath High School banquets; 1894 was only the third. I wonder if the folks back then could imagine that someday the Bath High School Alumni Association would be the oldest in the country.

Today we are gearing up for the 127th annual banquet, and I’m excited for it, even if it’s not “my year,” (last year was my 25th.)

As old as Morse is, it’s called the Bath High School Alumni Association because the association dates back before Morse was built, and changing the name would nullify its “oldest in the country” status.

People were going to school in Bath long before the association was founded in 1891, starting with the Erudition school. This was a one-room schoolhouse built in 1793. It stood on the corner of Center and High streets until 1900 and educated five generations of Bath students. It was moved and stood next to Morse High until 1934, when it was torn down.

Bath Academy was built in 1823 on the site of the present Morse High School. This was a private school with tuition paid by the students, until it was later absorbed into the Bath school system. The building stood until 1903, when it was torn down to build the first Morse High.

Bath’s first high school stood where the fire station is now. The imposing brick building opened in 1860 and served until Morse was built in 1904, after which it became known as the Central Grammar School. Its usefulness came to an end when Bath Junior High was built, and it was also torn down.

The first Morse High school was built in 1904 and was a gift from Charlie Morse. It burned down in 1928, and the present building opened the following year.

Probably because of the fire, no yearbook from 1928 has ever been found. If you manage to find one, you will be the new hero of the Bath High School Alumni Association.
Now we await a new building for the 21st century.

Source: “Memories of Morse,” 1979