Down By The Old Mill Stream–SPAP Report No. W-1

First These mills once were by today’s dam where Panther Run (or River) flows southward under Mill Street, not far from Main Street. Here now is located only the one small building of the State’s salmon-stripping station, which replaces the former multi-building complex (now completely gone) once called Maine State Fish Hatchery #1, which had replaced all of the old mill structures. Here now, every October, the landlocked salmon leap mightily northward at the dam – a sight well worth watching. This multi-purpose milling hub described in the survey lingers on only in the name “Mill Street”. Panther Run/River drains Panther Pond into Jordan Bay of Sebago Lake, and sometimes is also called Jordan River, especially below the dam. (See Gems* Ch VII pp3-7, 30-31, 35-37.)

Second This mill probably was by the modern dam where today’s Dingley Brook (which drains Thomas Pond into Sebago Lake) flows under Raymond Cape Road (from South Casco) near its intersection with Hawthorne Road. Dingley Brook is the border between Raymond and Casco today, but both together were called Raymondtown in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s early years thereon. Francis Radoux (for whom Dingley Brook was other-named) was Hawthorne’s step-uncle – see Gems* Ch III pp. 13-17.

Third Nubble Brook flows southward under Plains Road to drain beautiful little Nubble Pond into the north shore of Panther Pond, less than a half-mile west of the Tenney River’s entry point. Stonework on the Brook near Nubble Pond implies that the mill-site was north of Plains Road. Just east of the intersection of Plains Road and Coughlan Road (to Kingsley Pines) today, a large “Absolutely No Trespassing” sign now marks the spot where a recent path led a bothersome public into this idyllic spot, alas.

Fourth This mill was behind today’s Olde House Restaurant on Route 85, just north of the eastern end of Mill Street, on what is now called Hayden’s Brook (which flows from Brown Road, under Route 85, into Panther Pond’s southeasternmost shore). “Nason’s Stave and Shingle Mill” is what the restauranteurs refer to it as having been called. The barrel staves mostly were for Maine’s major Caribbean Trade, while the shingles were for local building use. (The cooper shop once located at “First”, but not listed above, may have taken some of these barrel staves one step further along.) See old photo of Nason’s Mill, some of which has been moved and built into today’s restaurant, I am told.

Fifth & Sixth Little Rattlesnake Pond is now Raymond Pond, and Little Rattlesnake River is now Bartlett Brook, draining the Pond into then Great Rattlesnake Pond / now Crescent Lake. This swampy area today is difficult to imagine as once having been doubly-mill-worthy. The mill-damming began right beside Raymond Hill Road, under which the River/Brook flows. (Crescent Lake flows via Tenney River into Panther Pond. Summer camp canoers regularly used to go with the flow into Sebago Lake, making a long but beautiful trip, with minimal carry problems.)

Seventh “A dam at the outlet of Panther pond…” Apparently this proposal would mean, today, connecting the west-pointing tip of the southwesternmost shore of Panther Pond to the western shore (the Meadow Road/ Route 121 side). I am told that this now-open-waterway at the point of land separating Panther Pond from Panther Run/River, c.1899: A) was only a trickle through a swampy spot; B) was not navigable even by canoes, which had to be carried around it; C) was part of a very-shallow-water swampy south shore of the pond. Construction of the modern-level dam at Mill Street (see “First” above) supposedly changed conditions A, B, & C just mentioned to the “nicer” modern conditions. Before this 1869 damming proposal, an older canal scheme would have dredged this same spot (see Gems* Ch III p. 9).

Eighth “On the outlet…of Thomas pond…” Apparently this proposal would have done exactly the same thing for the southern end of Thomas Pond that was just described for the southern end of Panther Pond: dam the pond’s immediate exit – at the beginning of today’s Dingley Brook, in this case.

*Gems refers to HISTORICAL GEMS OF RAYMOND AND CASCO by Ernest H. Knight (1996), Raymond-Casco Historical Society, Raymond & Casco, ME. This book and others are available, both to read and to buy, at both Raymond Village Library |207.655.4283, and Casco Public Library, 207.627.4541. Mail-order copies may be obtained from Varney’s Volumes – P.O. Box 84, South Casco, ME 04077 | 207.655.4605.