Old Portland Evening Press: To Preserve Old Hawthorne Church at South Casco


This article appeared in the July 18, 1921 edition of the Portland (Maine) Evening Express newspaper. The grammar and punctuation are per the original.

Will Be Memorial to Great American Novelist

SOUTH CASCO, July 14  – The old Hawthorne Church, at South Casco, where Nathaniel Hawthorne, the great American novelist, attended as a boy, is to be saved, repaired and maintained as a permanent memorial to the writer’s memory and also as an enduring testament of the community’s gratitude to the old residents who have passed on but whose personalities are lovingly remembered, the men and women of past generations who built up the village and tilled the surrounding farms.

For the past year of more the old edifice was threatened with destruction; the best fate anticipated for it was that it might be remodeled for use as a barn and pass into private hands. The congregation that once worshipped within its walls disbanded following a difference of opinion, and the building stood idle and vacant until Wednesday evening, July 6, when a group of people interested in preserving the property met there and took steps toward the organization of the Hawthorne Community Organization, to take over the place from the hands of the surviving members of the old Church board of trustees. At this meeting both town and summer colony people were represented. William C. Norris, who has visited the region every summer for 20 years or more, was chosen chairman of the meeting, in recognition of his efforts in calling it together. Dr. Meylan, of the White Mountain Camp for Boys, was appointed secretary.

The principal speakers were Judge Lewellyn Walsh, who occupies the Hawthorne cottage near the church, and who probably knows more of Hawthorne’s boyhood career than any other resident; Mrs. Charlotte V. Gulick, of the Luther Gulick Camps; and James Waldo Fawcett, a New York journalist who has come to South Casco to live.  Mr. Fawcett read a letter from Hawthorne’s granddaughter, Mrs. John Oskison, approving the project and saying that no other memorial to Hawthorne exists in this Country, except his statue in the Hall of Fame.  On Wednesday evening, July 20, there will be a second meeting at the Church to complete organization.

When the church has been repaired various entertainments and meetings will be held there, and the place will be put into service as a Community Center, filling a recognized need and affording a very genuine opportunity for the development of community spirit.

Note: The following very similar article is believed to have appeared in another edition of the same newspaper at about the same time.  It is hand annotated “Portland Eve. Express and Advertiser Monday, 7/18/21”


The good people of the village of South Casco are to be commended for their intention to preserve the boyhood home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the great American novelist, essayist and diplomat. It is a fact much to be regretted that no other memorial to Hawthorne’s work and character exists in the great Country, saving, of course, his name in the Hall of Fame and in the Boston Public Library.  His birthplace at Salem has fallen from its once high estate to common use as a tenement, and a proposed monument to him, planned for erection in the same city, was allowed to fail of fruition. The public spirited men and women of South Casco set an example fore larger and richer communities.

The United States is still a young Country, as nations are rated, but our history is rich in writers, artists, scientists, statesmen, soldiers and ministers of the Word whose lives and deeds should be preserved for our children and their children to treasure. The duty of our generation is plain.  Are we doing our part?  The people of South Casco may answer in the affirmative.