CASCO, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A building that lasted more than a century and a half is now destroyed. The two men accused of setting the Friend's Schoolhouse in Casco on fire appeared in court Monday.
The schoolhouse was built in 1849 and housed several important historic artifacts including a proclamation declaring the election of George Washington. According to Frank McDermott, Raymond Casco Historical Society treasurer, the one bedroom schoolhouse was originally built on Quaker Ridge in Casco. The society used the building to show visitors what going to school was like during the 19th century.
"It was a shock to see it," said McDermott about seeing the schoolhouse after the fire. "We had a map in there that showed the United States when it ended it at the Mississippi, so there were a lot of priceless things that can't be replaced."
Investigators ruled the fire as arson and arrested the two men who called 911 to report it. 22-year-old Devin Richardson-Gurney and 20-year-old Edward Scott were noticed by investigators standing on the other side of caution tape while crews battled the flames.
During questioning it was discovered that Richardson-Gurney's shoe prints matched prints discovered at the scene. Police say Richardson-Gurney eventually admitted his guilt during questioning, which caused Scott to also change his story.
"I mean who would do something like this," questioned McDermott.
The accused are each charged with one count of arson and one count of aggravated criminal mischief. A judge set bail for each man at $15,000, or $1,500 with a Maine pre-trial contract during their first court appearance at Cumberland County Superior Court.
According to McDermott, the Raymond Casco Historical Society had planned on moving the Friends Schoolhouse to the society's museum on Route 302 in Windham to make it more visible and attract more visitors. A plan that, along with the schoolhouse, is destroyed.
"We had planned to get this set up and to be able to have it open to the public more than we were able to have it open here," said McDermott. "Bring in school kids and have them be able to have the experience of a one-room-school."
Prosecutors during the bail hearing also mentioned damage that the accused caused to nearby property. Richardson-Gurney and Scott allegedly ripped off siding at the Casco Public Library next door and started a fire in the parking lot of the Casco Town Hall. The damage was estimated to be between $4,000 and $5,000 as a result of those two incidents.