HARRISON – Motorists and pedestrians passing through downtown Harrison recently got a brief glance at the underpinnings of a century-old home.
The front of Caswell House Restaurant, at 26 Main St. was stripped to its original 18 and one-half inch wide pine boards in anticipation of a new facade.
“I wanted to make sure this is safe,” said Christine Molloy of the front porch that over the years had become unstable. She and her son Michael have owned the business since 1989.
Concern over the shaky porch entrance led the owners to hire Adam Allen of Naples and Bob Gray of Harrison to not only redo the front porch but to renovate the facade of the building, including new windows.
The building is the former home of Dr. James Blake, who built it around 1904 after demolishing another house on the site, said Gerald Smith of the Harrison Historical Society and town historian.
Smith said Blake, who was born in 1869, graduated from Bowdoin College medical school in 1894 and died in 1954, practiced medicine in the house throughout his career.
Smith recalls Dr. Blake as a youngster in the 1930s but at that time a husband/wife doctor team had taken over care of Harrison’s residents.
Despite the influence of Dr. Blake on the house, the historical name now associated with the building is the Caswell House. Smith said the name came from Josephine Caswell, who lived near the Blakes and went to live with Dr. Blake’s wife after the doctor died.