By Anne Miller

Special Contributor

The Raymond-Casco Historical Society welcomed the Gray Historical Society on a visit to the 1849 one-room schoolhouse in Casco for a tour and program Monday, June 11.

The schoolhouse, often referred to as the “Friend’s School” because the first families whose children attended were Quakers, was moved from Quaker Ridge to Casco village in 1971.

Historical society members and guests from Gray sat in the old schoolhouse, some at the original desks. Carved into the wood of these desks were names of well-known Casco families. As they sat the guests listened to 89-year-old Phil Cole describe the details leading up to moving the old schoolhouse and how it was accomplished.

Elizabeth Bullen read a few excepts from the schoolhouse scrapbook containing old pictures and described clothing worn by the children of that era and lessons they learned. Many of the teachers they had over the past 158 years were named in the book, whic Bullen had put together.

Anne Miller read a letter from RCHS member and Florida resident Franklin P. Tenney. In it, Tenney described his first day at the Quaker Ridge School. He was born and grew up with his many brothers and sisters in the old farmhouse just below the school. It was a wonderful letter of recollection. Everyone was immediately transported back to the early 1930s and life as it was in Casco during that time.

Following the program, members and guests walked over to the Casco Public Library for refreshments and social hour.

Raymond-Casco Historical Society President Wayne Holmquist led the monthly meeting and offered a welcome back to the “snowbirds.” The meeting was then turned over to Henry “Skip” Watson for an update on plans for the new museum, which is now before the Casco Planning Board for final approval.

At this present time, many historical items from Casco and Raymond are stored in various members barns and the schoolhouse. As the collection grows, the need for a permanent home is imperative. Henry Watson is donating the land and building to the society. It is hoped that it will be a reality by this fall. The Casco-Raymond museum will be located on Route 302 and will be open to the public. In addition to a place for displaying collections, there will be a room for genealogy research as well as a meeting room for events relating to society activities.

Brochures have been mailed out to area residents. Copies are available at the Casco and Raymond town halls. These brochures detail museum plans and contain application forms for new members. For further information please check www.raymondmaine.org/historical_society or contact President Wayne Holmquist at 655-7672.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 9 at 7 p.m. at the Casco Public Library. On July 28 the one-room schoolhouse will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m.


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