1812-1825: The house was built by Richard Manning, brother of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s mother and a resident of South Casco (near Raymond, ME). Hawthorne spent summers here from the age of 9 until he began study at Bowdoin college in 1821. He may have used the house from time to time until his graduation in 1825, but he moved back to Salem, MA at this time.
1826-1876: Little information is available about this period. There is mention of the house being called Colonel Scribner’s Stage Coach Tavern, but at least one account describes the house in 1870 as vacant and in a sad state of neglect. At some point the house changed hands from the Hawthornes to Francis Radoux.
1877: The Hawthorne house and land was sold on November 17 for $400 by Francis Radoux to the Trustees of the Radoux Union Meeting House, consisting of Gibeon Plummer, Hezekia Lombard, Andrew R. Gray, Thomas Mitchell and Addison Shaw.
1891: The Radoux Union Meeting Parish was formed. Trustees were William Watkins, Fred Dingley, Sumner Watkins, Walter Dingley and Daniel Lombard. The building was used as a church for some years. It is not clear if this is when the entrance door was changed to two doors opening in the center, or if this had already been done between 1877 and 1891. The interior rooms walls and second floor were removed to make the building more church-like. A narrow balcony was built against the front wall, which is the way the house remains today.
1921: The Radoux Parish had split up into different factions over the years and the property had not been used for many years. The original trustees were either dead or could not be located. The first Hawthorne Community Association was formed and petitioned the Attorney General, Ransford W. Shaw, to grant the abandoned property to the association. Notices were posted for 3 weeks to give any of the owners an opportunity to make claim on the property, but none appeared (see the 1921 newspaper article on this site).
1922: On July 26 the Maine Supreme Court granted the property to the Hawthorne Community Association. This was recorded in Book 444, page 357 of the Cumberland Country Registry of Deeds. George A. Murch and Willard C. Libby signed as trustees of the Hawthorne Association.
1922-1955: Little detail is available about activities during this period. The Depression years of the 1930’s and WWII both made it difficult for the Association to devote much time or money to the house, but somehow the house survived until a revival of activity began in the 1950’s which continues to today.
1956-1961: Start of the “modern era”. Meeting minutes from 1956 still exist which describe a reorganization of the Association following “many years” of inactivity. The main movers and shakers at that time were: Bert Cook, Willard Libby, Harry Lombard, Halsey Gulick, Clyde Murch. Thanks to all of them for their initiative and hard work.
1962-1969: “The Golden Era?” A period of steady activity and growth for the Association. In addition to the three traditional activities still held today, the Association began opening the house to the public each Sunday afternoon in summer, using a rotating roster of volunteer members. This practice continued into the early 1970’s. Other regular activities included a Spring road clean-up, crafts fair, lectures and concerts. The work and donations of the Hawthorne Garden Club must also be acknowledged for maintaining the grounds of this property, not only during this period, but also up through the present time.
1969: The Hawthorne House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1970-1985: Minutes of meetings and names of officers and trustees are available for most of this period. For the most part, the Association events were similar to those of today, with a Spring (June) strawberry festival, a summer BBQ, a children’s Halloween party and a Christmas party or dinner. There were 215 dues-paying members in 1972.
1986: A June hailstorm affecting much of Raymond and South Casco battered the Hawthorne House with golf ball sized hailstones, breaking over 70 panes of glass on the North and East sides. Windows were temporarily boarded up until members’ contributions allowed permanent repairs. Shutters damaged by the storm were removed and not replaced (these were not original).
A well was also drilled in 1986, making running water available in the house for the first time. Prior to this, members used to carry water to the house for making coffee or cleaning. This was made possible by a donation from Roger and Charlotte Hewson and from the well driller, Hans Hansen. The well depth is 700 ft.
1987: Completed the well piping and testing, painted the exterior and fixed the windows, extended a 64 ft. brick walkway with a light between the entrance and the parking area. Carl Bloom installed a flush toilet for the first time!
Due to these improvements, the annual Christmas party was held at the Hawthorne House itself beginning this year (Previous parties had been held at area restaurants). The 1987 party and perhaps several to follow were catered, rather than pot luck dinners as is our current custom. For reasons not understood, at least some later Christmas parties (1990 and others) were still held at area restaurants.
2001: All windows were re-glazed and painted, the interior was re-painted (changed from a blue/green to off white and tan), and curtains and shades were provided for the windows.
2004: Due to significant rot, the front door, sidelight windows and sill were replaced and the basement joists were treated for powder post beetles. A front gutter was added to reduce water damage. Style was not changed.
2005: The rear sill was replaced and handrails were added to the front entrance.
2007: Two large trees and a smaller one were removed from the front side of the house, greatly aiding sunlight penetration and visibility from Hawthorne Rd. The exterior was repainted using paint donated by Sherwin Williams and labor donated by Maine State Correctional Institute in Windham. An “Info Box” was added by the entrance so that interested passers by could get some information about the house and the Association.
2008: The discovery of corner post rot during the painting in 07 led to a fund-faising campaign which raised about $10,000. The corner was repaired by Gorham contractor David Johnston, who donated part of the labor. Some of the funds were also used to upgrade the antiquated electric service and add a small water heater. The entry area was partitioned slightly to allow for a small coat closet.
2009: Several large trees and all shrubs that were hugging the foundation were removed in order to prevent further long-term house damage due to moisture. Although the house looks a bit bare right now, the Hawthorne Garden Club has already planted bulbs and more plantings are planned to restore the landscaping. We will keep the immediate 2 feet of house perimeter permanently free of shrubs, however. A new sign on granite posts was constructed using posts donated by Scott Crockett and a sign made by Custom Fabrication of Standish. Lighting will be included. Paul Tracy and Abel Bates led the effort.
2011-2012: Repainting of the house was needed due to badly flaking paint from the 2007 job. To try and counter underlying moisture problems an exhaust blower was installed in the basement. In 2011 the front face of the house was completed and all first floor windows were properly re-glazed and painted. All painting work and window repair was completed late in 2012 with the exception of the side facing the walkway/well - still unpainted as of the end of 2013. During this work additional rot near the sill and a badly rotted top window were found on the north side, driving our total cost for painting and repair over $8,000 for the two years and we are not quite done! In 2012 we also had a granite slab engraved (at no cost) with the NH quote, “Time flies over us but leaves its shadow behind”.
2014: We (Abel Bates) removed the rotting wooden steps that led down to Hawthorne Rd. These were becoming hazardous and were seldom used.