Founded in 1832, Parsonsfield Seminary in Parsonsfield, Maine had been an educational institution for 174 years. The campus consists of four buildings and is located on eight acres. We are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Included in the complex of buildings is an academy building with classrooms, a large 12,500 square foot dormitory, and two smaller buildings.
Founded by the Free Will Baptists as their first Seminary (high school) in the United States, Parsonsfield Seminary operated from 1832 until 1949 when it could no longer sustain its increasing expenses. During its tenure, it was part of the "Underground Railroad" and also housed the graduate component and predecessor to Bates College.
Par Sem hosts many other firsts, as well, such as, the first post-graduate Free Will Baptist divinity school in the United States. The Seminary also housed the first collection of Free Will Baptist literature in one place, and it had the first high school temperance league in the United States. We are also awaiting acknowledgement that we are part of the Portland Freedom Trail.
Following the closing of Parsonsfield Seminary, the Consolidated School District used the academy building until 1986 when they moved to a new school building.
Fearing the loss of these historic buildings, a group of concerned citizens formed a non-profit, non-sectarian group called "The Friends of Par Sem." to oversee the buildings. The primary goal of this group is to refurbish the seminary campus as an artistic and cultural center.
The Academy building was used by the local Head Start program for 18 years until funding curtailed it in 2006.
Significant progress is being made in restoring the buildings through money raised by sale of "Memory Rooms", rentals for weddings, conferences,seminars, graduations, etc.
"The Friends" host many different fundraisers throughout the year which help to maintain the buildings, but of, course, we would be remiss in not mentioning that without your ongoing donations these buildings would not be available for community use. As northern New England grows and changes, preservation of historic places such as Par Sem will be increasingly important. Again, we need your help in ensuring the preservation of this unique site. Proposals for tenancy are needed to provide the sustained financial support required to fulfill organizational goals.
Help us capture an important part of the past while working toward our mission of enriching the lives of people in the future.