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Current Issues

2019-20 - Major Renovations planned. In 2019 we hired a structural engineer to survey the house with the objective of identifying risks to its very existence.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, risks were identified in three areas: Foundation and floor supports, roof and siding.  Correcting all of these deficiencies could cost between $70,000 and $100,000. The foundation and floor are most costly, but represent a situation that has existed for a long time.  The roof is not only a matter of replacing the asphalt shingles, but shoring up some of the supports that could actually collapse in the event of a heavy snow load.  Least costly and threatening but still important, is replacement of the clapboard siding on one or two sides of the house. The wood is so old and deteriorated that it refuses to hold paint for more than 2-3 years and mildew keeps reappearing.  The ongoing cost of frequent repainting has been a burden on our treasury for years.

We are pursuing fundraising through a combination of grants and community fundraising. A Go Fund Me page has been set up and you may contribute most easily in that manner following this link:

2016-2018 - Painting.  Repainting of the exterior was completed in 2016 and continues to hold up as of 2018.  The NW side seems to have a problem where mildew keeps popping up and will need to be cleaned, but probably not painted. Trustees scraped and painted the 1st floor interior windows in Sept. of 2017 and Abel Bates did touch-up painting of several interior wall areas where flaking had occurred.

2010-15: We began repainting the exterior in 2011. A great deal of time was spent repairing and re-glazing the windows, necessary because there are no storm windows to protect them from the elements.  Before cold weather set in, our painter got most of the windows done, plus the front face of the house and the front door, which needed extensive refinishing due to mold.  Abel Bates installed a basement ventilation system of his own design that we hope will reduce premature paint failure caused by moisture (the previous paint job was done in 2007 and was already peeling badly). Although it is too early to tell the results from the ventilation, we are hopeful because one can now hardly notice the musty odor that used to greet you when you walked into the house.  Painting of two more sides was completed in Sept-Oct of 2012, leaving the SE side, which will get done in 2015. We also had a granite slab engraved (at no cost) with a Hawthorne quote (“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind”). This has been set up between the garden and the house, near the red stone pathway.

2009 Repairs and Improvements: Our fundraising campaign raised close to $10,000.  Although this is well short of the $25,000 goal we had established, there is much good news.  The corner post repair did not cost NEARLY as much as we had feared.  Although we still cannot afford to do expensive foundation repairs, we have resolved to spend some of the approximately $12,000 now in our treasury on the following:

1. Corner post repair The work was completed in mid-October by talented Gorham contractor David Johnston for approximately $3,500, with Mr. Johnston contributing part of the work at no cost. Work was completely successful and within budget.

2. Electrical upgrades were completed for approximately $2,000 prior to the ‘08 Christmas party. This will provide us with hot water for the first time in many years plus the ability to safely plug in 2 or 3 appliances without overloading the circuits. The former electrical system was ancient, inadequate in capacity, and without grounded outlets.

3. Improved entry area.  A wall has been built to the right of the entrance separating a coat closet from the entry area.  This provides a much nicer looking entry and less congestion when people are coming and going. Work was done by Gary Conant.

4. Tree and shrub removal and new landscaping.  Cost is not known, but should be in the range of $2,000.  The objective is to further reduce problems with moisture and rot by allowing the sun to penetrate and to improve drainage around the foundation.  Two large trees were removed in late April, 2009 along with the lilacs and shrubs that hug the foundation. We will put in a foundation border of crushed stone and place new plantings at least 2 feet from the foundation, selecting only plants that will remain manageable in size.  The Hawthorne Garden Club has greatly assisted in this effort by donating $500 toward the purchase of plants and supplies and also by planting bulbs and maintaining the grounds.  We look forward to the beauty of many cheerful bulbs popping up next Spring!

5. New Sign; Possible Flag Pole.  Our good neighbor Scott Crockett donated two nice granite pillars this Spring to provide a very nice frame for a new sign.  Abel Bates and Paul Tracy have cooperated to find a sign maker (Custom Fabrication of Standish) and a beautiful new sign complete with lighting was completed just before Christmas. Needless to say we have received many compliments. We are still investigating the idea of a flag pole. To see a pictures go the the historical pictures page by clicking HERE.

July, 2007: Rotten corner post.  Click HERE to review pictures of this damage.

During the painting it was noted that the corner of the house to the left of the entry had some rotten wood.  We hired carpenter Gary Conant to repair it but after a few hours he realized that the damage was near total and that the structural work needed was beyond his capability.  The entire corner post for the full height of the house must be replaced. We have a rough estimate that this work will probably cost $10,000 and possibly much more.  It is not crystal clear what caused this, but the most likely is water damage from an earlier time (The roof does not leak now).  We did not find an active insect infestation in the wood although ants or other insects may have played a role over the years. The cedar tree that used to hug that corner of the house probably helped keep the area damp as well.  We are starting a fund-raising campaign with a goal of raising $25,000, since there is no assurance how costly this repair will be. If we should be so fortunate to collect more than this repair costs, there are plenty of other issues that need attention, such as the foundation (see 2003 below).

June, 2007 - Well repair is needed.  Just before the Strawberry Festival we found that we had no water!  Thanks to Jason Farthing we rigged up a temporary supply.  Abel Bates and Paul Tracy took the lead to get this diagnosed and repaired, resulting in a new pump by around 8/10 at a cost of just under $1,000.

June, 2007 - Exterior Painting: The house was last painted around 1998, and was definitely ready to be done again.  Thanks to a tip from town manager Don Willard, we contacted the Windham Correctional Facility last fall and they agreed to do the work for us this summer.  All the labor is donated and we will supply the paints, brushes and other materials.  The work began on June 6 and should be done before the end of the month.  The Sherwin-Williams store in Windham is generously donating the paint, so please stop in there and thank them if you get a chance.  You can see some “Before and After” pictures by clicking HERE.

April, 2007 - Tree Removal: Thanks to Paul Tracy for managing the removal of some trees that were overwhelming the once open and attractive front of the house.  This project was prompted by the natural death of a large spruce. We took advantage of the opportunity and also took out a large maple and a medium size cedar that had been planted less than 5 feet from the front  corner of the house.  Click HERE to see pictures. We hope you will agree that the house benefits from being opened up to the light once again.

September, 2004: Judith Bates, a talented friend and strong supporter of the Hawthorne House for many years, passed away. The Bates family generously directed part of the donations in Judith’s memory to our Association.  There has been quite an outpouring of donations and we have used the funds (approximately $1,000) to purchase and dedicate the new front door for the Hawthorne House to Judith.  Our sympathies and thanks to the Bates’.

Sept-Oct, 2004 - Repair of Front Door: Thanks to Paul Tracy, a very talented carpenter named Gary Conant has replaced the front door and sill. He has also repaired and repainted the all-important “sunburst” over the front door.  He removed and replaced rotten sill all the way to the corners of the house. The new mahogany door looks fantastic! We also took advantage of this opportunity to have the floor joists and supports in the basement treated for powder post beetles, which have taken their toll on the supports over the years. We decided to make this work a priority over the foundation repair (next item below) because it was more urgent.  We were able to cover the total cost of about $7,000 out of funds we have saved from dues and donations over the last three years, so no special fund-raising will be needed.

You can see pictures of the old and new doorways by clicking HERE.

2003 - ? Foundation Repair: The foundation for this house consists of large stones (2 to 5 ft across) with little or no mortar holding them together.  At the side of the house facing the brick walkway in particular, time has caused the stones to have shifted substantially, such that there is danger of losing support for the exterior wall.  The other walls are only marginally better.  Although the “poor condition” of the foundation had been mentioned in Association minutes as far back as 1965, the condition has only gotten worse.  The ideal solution would be to jack up the house and replace the foundation entirely, but this would cost tens of thousands of dollars.  A preliminary task of replacing the heating oil tank was accomplished in October, 2003 thanks very much to Carl Bloom.  The old tank used to abut the caving wall and was at risk of being tipped over. Once we determine what repair will cost and whether or not we can obtain a grant for part of the cost, we will undoubtedly have to mount a fund-raising campaign to accomplish this work.

CLICK HERE to see pictures of the sad state of the house’s underpinnings.

June, 2003 - Ventilation: After suffering a hot and airless Strawberry Festival in 2002, the Board decided we needed some kind of ventilation.  Paul Tracy and John Manoush installed a large exhaust fan in one of the balcony windows just before the 2003 Strawberry Festival and it was a big help.  Thanks to Basil and Melanie Champniss for donating the fan.

June, 2003 - New Sign: Thanks to the talents and generosity of member Cinda Roy, our “boyhood home” sign was replaced in June, 2003. Click here to see before and after photos.

June, 2003 - Landscape border and fence: The Town of Raymond and the Hawthorne Board of Directors cooperated to install a post and rail fence, an attractive perennial border and a crushed stone path on the Cape Road side of the house. Special thanks to Abel Bates who did a large share of the coordinating involved. Click here to see pictures.

February 20, 2003 - Former Hawthorne president Nelson Newton of Raymond passed away at the age of 88. His family has generously asked that contributions to the Hawthorne Community Association be made in lieu of flowers. On behalf of the Association I extend our sympathies and also thank Mr. Newton and his family for both past and present support of our efforts to preserve the Hawthorne House. A total of approximately $800 was donated by his many friends and family.

Nov., 2002 - Repair of Lights: We had the cracked and inoperative light to the right of the front entry repaired at a local metal shop. We also replaced the low voltage light at the well head in the center of the brick path.  Cost was about $200 for both items.

Nov., 2002 - Repair of Bulkhead: The wooden bulkhead entrance to the basement was rotting out. Thanks to Paul Tracy and Scott Crockett, this has been replaced with a pressure-treated version that might outlast the rest of the house!