FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2018
St. Anne Historic District in Berlin named to National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that a historic district comprised of buildings relating to St. Anne Parish in Berlin has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
As an historic district, St. Anne’s church, school, hospital and parish hall played a role in the community’s social history, allowing the neighborhood’s primarily French-Canadian population to preserve its culture and traditions. Characteristic of Catholic parishes in New Hampshire and Québec villages, the close proximity of the church and the other buildings drew French-Canadian immigrant families to the neighborhood. The buildings vary in date, style, size, materials and decorative detailing but remain the historic core of St. Anne Parish, first Catholic parish established in Berlin.
The red brick St. Anne Church, built from 1900-1909 in the Romanesque-revival style, has square towers on each side of the front, a three-bay arched entry porch with a three-part stained glass window above, and a deeply pitched slate roof. Local children funded the purchase of two stained glass windows and the tabernacle by putting on plays, collecting bottles and making weekly contributions of two pennies until enough funds were raised. Today, St. Anne is the only remaining Catholic church still active in the city.
When the parish built St. Regis Academy in 1910-11, it incorporated contemporary school construction techniques, such as the use of fire resistant materials, central heating and large windows that let in light and ventilation. Like the church, the red and white former parochial school and convent is Romanesque in style, with a detailed shallow center entry pavilion framed in white brick detailing. The name “Academie St. Regis,” painted wood capital letters, is still above the main entrance. Its u-shaped footprint includes a sunken courtyard that was a play area for children. Closed in 1973, the school was then repurposed into housing.
Originally a three-story wood frame house built in 1905, the St. Louis Hospital building was overseen by Sisters of Charity to serve all Berlin residents; its nursing school graduated 345 students from 1927 to 1972. The original part of the building still has wrap-around porches and a corner polygonal tower. Modified for expanding hospital use, including three-story and four-story Moderne-style raised brick additions in 1937 and 1955, it was converted to senior housing in early 1980s.
The St. Anne Parish Hall was built in 1961-62 and stands out from the other buildings in the district because of its Mid-century Modern details, including a full-height Kalwall window made of rectangular white lights with a few primary colors set in aluminum frames. Other features include three-part metal windows, metal doors and exterior glazed brick molded in a random pattern, creating play of light and shadow.
As was common practice, the architects and contractors for each building in the district had been used for other projects in Berlin and often for projects for the Catholic Church. Archibald Irving, architect for the church and the hospital’s additions, designed Berlin Public Library and the Burgess School, St. Regis architect Howland C. Bates designed both the Marston and Brown Schools and Berlin City Hall, and parish hall architect Leo P. Provost designed Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua and St. Jean Baptiste Church in Manchester. Local builders included Brideau Construction Company, the Gilbert Brothers and the Lemieux Brothers.
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 historical 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.