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Maine's oldest child care facility turns 100

Catherine Morrill Day Nursery in Portland opened in 1919. They are still caring for children and preparing them for school 100 years later.

PORTLAND, Maine — A 100th birthday is a big deal. Especially when it's a nursery that has lasted a century. 

Catherine Morrill Day Nursery opened its doors in Portland in 1919. Its purpose during the early days was different from what it is now, according to executive director Lori Moses.

"It's a big year because it's our 100th anniversary, which is amazing," Moses said. "We started as the Portland baby hygiene and child welfare association."

The first public health nurse in Maine worked at Catherine Morrill, helping to make sure that babies were fed properly. Through the years, the nursery has been there during times of sickness and still remains to help provide help for working parents.

"I had someone call me on Friday and she said I went here 53 years ago and I'm still friends with my friends from Catherine Morrill. I mean, that's incredible," Moses said.

Erica Johanson's first born, Adam, was on the waiting list for four years before getting into the day care on Danforth Street. Her second son, Jesper, got right in when he was two months old. Six years later he's already meeting other past students, much older than him.

"Old man on the playground at his elementary school who was one of the docents there and he would watch the children during playtime and he was an alumnus of Catherine Morrill and he was like 70 years old," Johanson said.

To celebrate 100 years there will be several festivities including a block party on June 1 at The Victoria Mansion across the street and free for anyone who would like to attend. 

All 74 kids enrolled, ranging in age from six weeks to 5 years old will get to paint a ceramic tile that will line the walls of the nursery's newest classroom. As a fundraiser during its 100th year, Catherine Morrill is selling engraved bricks for $100. Click here to order one.

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