Windham’s Old Town House Museum is in need of renovations. Haley Pal / For Lakes Region Weekly

May was National Historic Preservation Month, a month designed to remind people of the importance of preserving their local historic sites. Many of you may not be aware that one of Windham’s most beloved landmarks is in dire need of repair.

The Old Town House was a grade school between 1910 and 1936. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

From the outside, the Old Town House Museum on Windham Center Road looks perfectly fine. It serves as the historical society headquarters building and houses their reference library and many old artifacts that have been donated to the organization over the years. But beneath the surface, the building has been experiencing a slow decay. The original floor joists, which are actual tree trunks, are deteriorating and stones stacked up for foundational support are in serious need of replacement. A project this large will cost thousands of dollars, but if the work isn’t done, the old building will continue to slowly sink and it would be a shame to lose the Old Town House.

Built in 1833, it was Windham’s first town hall where town business was conducted, elections were held and taxes were paid. In 1893, a state law required towns to have a high school and the main part of the building was used for that purpose. The town clerk still maintained a small office where civic duties continued to be performed and where the Select Board held meetings once or twice a month. It served as the town’s high school until 1910, when a more modern high school was built. With the departure of the high school, younger school children moved in and the town house acted as a grade school until 1936. By 1980, the town had outgrown the tiny structure and the town offices were moved into the remodeled former high school at 8 School Road where we do business today. The Old Town House was then sold to the Windham Historical Society in 1984 for a nominal sum and the society has maintained the building ever since.

The Old Town House is now home to historic artifacts and acts as a reference library. Haley Pal / For Lakes Region Weekly

Until now, most of the maintenance on the building has been standard, but with the knowledge that it needs a new foundation, the society is being forced into drastic action. Finding a contractor has been difficult. The society has reached out to local vendors, but this job is currently out of its scope of work, so any suggestions from the community would be helpful to get this ball rolling. Once the foundational work is complete, the society would like to do some interior renovations as well. It would be a good time to improve the building’s lighting and plumbing and replace the existing first floor to make it one level, rather than having the multiple levels that it has now. The building could also be made ADA compliant and soffits and fascia could be replaced that require less maintenance.

To make these improvements possible, the Windham Historical Society is beginning a fundraising campaign called “Save the Old Town House.” It will have a booth at Windham’s Summerfest where you can stop by and learn more about the project. It will also be hosting an open house on June 29 where you can tour the Village Green and visit the Old Town House itself and make a donation.

In addition to looking for financial help, the society would also appreciate new volunteers who could be helpful in many ways. Are you a contractor who would want to take a project of this size on? Can you write grants? Are you a fundraiser who could offer suggestions for ways to raise money? Would you want to volunteer to help move the old artifacts out of the building and into storage when the work begins? Worker bees are needed in every aspect of this project.

Haley Pal, a Windham resident and active member of the Windham Historical Society, can be contacted at

To make a financial contribution to help “Save the Old Town House,” checks can be sent to The Windham Historical Society, P.O. Box 1475, Windham ME 04062. Please write Old Town House in the reference line. For more information or to volunteer, call 892-1433 or email the society at You can also contact the society’s president, Susan Simonson, at

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