History of The Old Red Church
A Maine Landmark
The Old Red Church is located in Standish Village. The site was granted to the proprietors of the First Parish Meeting House for service to King George in the war of 1754. It opened in 1804, about the time soldiers, overcome with excitement and spirits at an annual muster, demolished the First Standish Church. The Old Red Church was used until 1859. Since that time, the building has been used for worship services for brief periods. Legend has it that five years subsequent to 1829, the congregation of the church became divided, and that two services were held at the same time until 1834, when one faction moved up the street and built its own church - the present Congregational Church of Standish.
In 1848, a second floor was laid and the upstairs became Standish Academy, which closed in 1852 when one of the Trustees made off with Academy funds. Through the years, Good Templars Lodge (a temperance organization), The Grange, The Unity Club, and other organizations have used the second floor. In 1893, the rooms became Standish High School. After five years, the school moved to Steep Falls. In 1902, they moved back and stayed until a new Standish High School was built in Sebago Lake Village in 1914.
Deeded to the Town of Standish, The Old Red Church is managed by a Board of Trustees. The Old Red Church is registered as an Historic Landmark.
The Old Red Church Museum is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and other times by appointment. Please call 671-4002 or to set up an appointment.
In Memory of Gertrude Ward Atkins
Gertrude Ward Atkins was a long-time resident of Standish and a devoted Trustee of the Old Red Church. Almost three decades ago, she was the impetus for the Church's major fundraiser, theChristmas in the Country Craft Fair, which began with only ten tables, but it grew into an event that people all over Southern Maine made a regular part of their Thanksgiving Weekend schedules. The Trustees are grateful for her many years of service, thankful for her friendship, and deeply saddened by her passing.