By Anne Miller

Special Contributor

Work recently started on a concrete slab in readiness for the new Raymond-Casco Historical Society Museum building.

A 40×60-foot metal structure will be installed on the foundation. Work is expected to be completed this fall. Both land and building are being donated to the society by Henry and Zeena Watkins. It will be easily recognized on Route 302 as it is located next to the current Watkins Red Barn that has the wonderful mural painted on its side by well-known artist Tom Merriam.

Henry Watkins has once again commissioned Merriam to paint a mural on the wall of newly built Raymond-Casco Historical Society museum when it is completed. Society members have chosen a painting of the Murch Stagecoach in 1870 showing three horses pulling a Concord Coach on its daily route from South Casco to Portland.

Another painting will show visitors and tourists arriving at the Raymond Steamboat Landing and will include a charming picture of the late Ernest Knight, local historian and one of the founding members of the society riding his Victorian high wheel bicycle from Raymond to Casco.

Needless to say, society members are very grateful to the Watkins family for their interest and enthusiasm in providing a permanent home for its collection. It will be a museum for all to enjoy. It will house a collection of items used by local families since Raymondtown founders Joseph Dingley and Dominucis Jordan first settled here in 1774.

The town of Casco officially separated from Raymond in March 1841 because the residents of the western part of Raymond, which is now Casco Village, felt left out in political and government aspects. According to Melissa Kluge in her book entitled “The History of Casco,” it was not an easy process by any means. Discussions about separating began in 1825 and took took petitions before being approved by the Maine Legislature.

The Raymond-Casco Historical Society was formed in 1971, with an official charter granted to the society in 1973. The mission of the society is to research, document and collect the history of Raymond and Casco for future generations. The soon-to-be-built museum will display artifacts donated by local families and will include a meeting room and research space. Eventually, plans will include special workshops and family days to encourage the younger generations to learn about their heritage.

The society is actively seeking new members and donations to support the new museum. Meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Casco Public Library. Please come and join us! Visit our Web site at www.raymondmaine.org/historical_society or call President Wayne Holmquist at 655-7672.


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