Showing posts with label Foster Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Foster Family. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2024

Fairytale house a whimsical landmark in Raymond

By Nicole Levine

Find yourself in a fairytale when traveling down Main Street in Raymond. There lies The House That Jack Built, a peculiar town landmark that transports you into the world of a child's imagination.

An old postcard show The House That Jack Built in its heyday
on Main Street in Raymond Village. The former gift shop and
ice cream parlor is long gone but the building remains and
is a local landmark in the town. COURTESY PHOTO 
The House That Jack Built has a distinctive look that stands out amongst the rest of the houses within Raymond Village. It has playful yellow-colored walls with cyan blue framing around its doorways and windows. The house is built to look crooked, resembling an imperfect, yet magical children’s drawing.

To people passing by, its presence is a mystery. However, to many locals who have lived in Raymond for years, it is a nostalgic memory and sentimental reminder of their past.

The House That Jack Built was not created by Jack but was originally constructed in the 1930s by the Foster family of Raymond. Its fantastical look is inspired by the nursery rhyme that was favored by their daughter, The House That Jack Built.

The Fosters had opened an ice cream parlor and tea shop within the building, where they sold a variety of knick-knacks in their Maine-inspired gift shop. Some of their products included moccasins and maple syrup products. They also had their own soda fountain within the parlor.

Lucy Foster, also a former teacher, was often seen working within the shop. Many today still have very high regard for her heartfelt dedication to her students and her community. Don Foster, who also owned the business, was said to be “quite the character and funny” during his time working in the shop.

This used to be a very popular destination, as Route 302 originally ran past The House That Jack Built, before it was redirected to go by Raymond Beach in 1955.

The ice cream parlor was a favorite spot for teenagers during the time it was open. It was “the place to be” for local teens to hang out and socialize with their friends.

One customer reminiscing about the business, says “It sure was a popular place and one all the teens in the 50’s loved.” Another said, “I had my first banana split there.”

Many of the teens who used to frequent the ice cream parlor would often sign their names on the walls within the interior. The list of those names gives a unique glimpse into the past of those who used to call this their hangout when they were young.

The business within The House That Jack Built was open for around 25 years before it eventually closed. The property was then sold by the Fosters to the Timmons family.

Even though the business that brought so many teenagers fond memories had closed, The House That Jack Built continued to remain in many locals’ hearts.

Alice Bradeen, secretary for the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, grew up right next to the house. She was close with the Timmons family, who were residing on the property at the time. She spent many of her days exploring and playing there.

She described how there was also a wishing well added on to the back of the property. It was something that kids could climb inside and play. The wishing well just created all the more magic to this already fairytale-inspired home.

When describing the inside of The House That Jack Built, Bradeen says it was incredibly “quirky and neat” to go along with its eccentric exterior.

“You could picture how the tables were set up, and there was a bar where they served the ice cream with stools,” she said. It was almost as though she could still visualize what it once had looked like, when it was a thriving town scene. “Because it was something I saw every day, I did not appreciate how unique it was until later on.”

Nowadays many of us pass by this one-of-a-kind treasure, wondering to ourselves, “What is this quirky storybook-like building?”

The truth is, this Town of Raymond gem is truly something magical and serves as a looking glass back into local history.

Today, The House That Jack Built remains in the Timmons family. There has been some discussion of preserving the house as a historical landmark, however its future is unknown.

This charming feature of the town of Raymond brought a fairytale to life, and has created many fond memories for local residents, thanks to the Foster family. <