Nathaniel Hawthorne, the famous 19th century author of The Scarlett Letter and many other works, lived in the house pictured here with his mother and two sisters from the time he was about 9 or 10 until he graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. His father, a sea captain out of Salem, Mass, died overseas when Nat was a small child. Mrs. Hawthorne’s brother Richard Manning, who had already built himself a fine house in “Raymondtown” and owned a great deal of land in this area, built this house for his sister around 1813 (Manning’s own house still stands on Cape Road and is occupied by one of our members).
Nathaniel loved living in the wilderness here in Raymond, and greatly enjoyed hiking, fishing and hunting. During his college years we can assume he spent at least part of each summer at this house as well. After his graduation his family left Raymond and returned to Salem, both because of his mother’s poor health and the difficulty of life in this frontier area.
The house was unoccupied for some years but was eventually resurrected as a boarding house and tavern called “Colonel Scribner’s Tavern”. Route 302 did not exist as we know it today and stage traffic passed through this area. The opening of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal connecting Sebago (and Long) Lake to Portland in 1839 would have brought in even more customers. The canal was eventually made obsolete by rail travel in the mid to late 1800’s, and the house was again converted to another use, becoming known as the Radoux Meeting House. At this time the doors were changed to double doors and most of the second floor and interior room partitions were removed to make room for pews.
Although this use sustained the house for a number of years, the late 1800’s and early 1900’s saw the house fall into great disrepair until at last in 1921 some of the summer residents of this area banded together to raise funds to save the house through the formation of the Hawthorne Community Association. This association has survived to this day and continues in its mission to care for this house through volunteer efforts and donations. The house has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969.
If you share our civic pride about the home that once belonged to Raymond’s most famous citizen, we hope you will contact us and join the Association. Funds are raised through our nominal dues of $10 per year and through additional voluntary contributions. We hold several community social events each year, including a Strawberry Festival in July, a BBQ in August, and a Christmas party in December. These are great ways to meet neighbors in an informal setting. Members can also rent the house for private parties with the approval of our board of trustees.
Much more information about Hawthorne’s early life, the history of our Association, a calendar of events and contact information (including a membership application) may be found on our web site, www.hawthorneassoc.com .