The future of Raymond is something to look forward to. There’s a train to Boston that runs above the street, and below it there’s a subway to New York City. For those traveling to more remote locations, there are people with wings! That is, if an artist’s rendering from the late 1800s becomes an accurate forecast.
In the meantime, a new collection of photographs illustrates Raymond’s past, including one that predicts the town’s future. The book, “Raymond,” part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing, was authored by Kristin Ozana Doyle. The publishing company started in Dover and now has offices in Portsmouth and elsewhere in the country.
Like many area towns, Raymond remains largely rural, though it is on the fringe of significant growth and development. As evidenced by signs reading, “Preserving our past, preparing our future,” there is an effort to stay true to the town’s history. Local historians and Raymond residents will particularly enjoy this book, but anyone interested in the way southern New Hampshire is changing will gain insight from reading it.
The book is like an old family photo album, except that it belongs to an entire community. Flipping through a collection of memorable moments such as this, it becomes clear that a town means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, Raymond was a summer camp where young women with identical white outfits and haircuts shook hands over the tennis net. For others, it was a one-room school house where none of the students wore shoes on picture day.
The black and white photographs date from about 1890 to 1960 and are organized into chapters including the town’s buildings, businesses, organizations and residents. An entire chapter is devoted to the 1914 sesquicentennial celebration, when the town turned 150 with a parade and many yards of striped bunting. The parade was led by children (who were evidently called “horribles” in those days) dressed as cowboys and Native Americans.
Doyle remembers when the town celebrated its 225th anniversary when she was in fourth grade. This was when she first saw the older version of Raymond’s pictorial history. She decided to update it.
Doyle moved to Raymond in 1986 at the age of six. She now teaches social studies at Raymond High School. She hopes the book will give her students pride in their town. She moved to Pembroke after marrying in 2005, but she is still a member of the Raymond Historical Society and continues to research the town for future books. The writing in “Raymond” is limited to a two-page introduction and roughly 200 photo captions.
Like many New England towns, Raymond was transformed by the railroad. The first tracks were laid in 1850 and, eventually, it carried passengers to and from Boston and Maine. New industry began to boom, joining the agricultural base. New roads also brought people to the town. First, it was Route 27, and, more recently, Route 101 was completed. It is accessible to Portsmouth, Manchester, Concord and Boston.
But Raymond has also experienced setbacks of fire and flood. In 1892, a fire destroyed the downtown Main Street area, and in 1900, a flood took down the bridge linking the east part of town to Main Street.
The town is currently in the final planning stages to bring in an outlet mall, condominiums and a new hotel. But, Doyle writes, Raymond residents hope to maintain the town’s identity, integrity and small-town feel.
“Raymond” is available at bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing for $19.99.