Did you enjoy apple pie this holiday season? NH’s latest National Register of Historic Places may have played a role in making it
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has announced that the Goodell Company Mill in Antrim has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior by being listed to the National Register of Historic Places. The site of what at one time was the oldest and largest manufacturer of apple parers in the world, all six of the complex’s buildings contribute to the property’s historical significance.
The Goodell Company Mill complex sits on two and one-half acres, with the five oldest buildings (circa 1867–1900) creating a V-shaped footprint on the east side of Great Brook and the newest building, the Cutlery Mill (circa 1900), on the west side. All are typical late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century industrial design in New England and have excellent architectural integrity.
Each building’s name indicated the major function taking place within: Finishing, Packing, Office, Storage, Boiler House and Cutlery Mill. The buildings range from one-and-a-half to four stories; the exterior of oldest two were originally clapboarded while the other buildings have brick facades, a deterrent to fire. Several of the buildings retain their segmented arched window openings and original external doors.
As were commonly found in manufacturing buildings of the time, several of the buildings’ interiors have large open spaces, exposed beams, painted brick walls, hardwood floors and simple wood trim details.
Hillsborough native David Goodell formed D.H. Goodell & Company in 1864 – it was incorporated as the Goodell Company in 1875 – and began manufacturing apple parers on the site of the former Antrim Shovel Company factory.
Apples were a significant part of the American diet and economy at the time and were used to make apple vinegar, apple butter, apple sauce and dried apples that were used in pies, puddings, fritters, jelly and marmalade. As the use of apples expanded, so did the demand for apple parers, for both home and commercial use.
Goodell received his first patents for apple parers in 1863 and 1864, and another in 1867 for his award-winning Lightning model that became a best-seller. The company sold 2,400 apple parers in 1865 but 16,800 the following year. Its famous White Mountain lathe-style model proved to be its most popular; the company manufactured and sold 500,000 of them in 1904 alone.
Apple parers were only part of the Goodell Company’s product line, which included a seed sower, paring knives, peach parers, potato parers, cherry pitters and a variety of cutlery. By 1880, it was producing more than 70 styles of cutlery and employing 120 people in a town whose population was just more than 1,200. By 1904, the company offered 1,300 styles of cutlery, including the well-known Star hunting knife.
Goodell served as town clerk, in the state legislature and on the Governor’s Council as well as one term as governor. He led the company until his death in 1915; his sons succeeded him.
Goodell Company was sold to Chicago Cutlery in 1983 and closed its doors in 1989. The buildings have been largely vacant since that time, with several small businesses, a teen center and an apartment now on site.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.
In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact the Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.
New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit us online at nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling 603-271-3483.