FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 30, 2019
Neighboring grange halls, one-room schoolhouses, blacksmith shop among buildings named to State Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is pleased to announce that the State Historical Resources Council has added eleven properties to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.
Two grange halls, each built at the turn of the twentieth century specifically to support local grange organizations, served their communities as gathering places for agricultural activities as well community events. Monroe Grange Hall No. 49, built in 1899, and Lyman Grange Hall No. 237, built in 1901, both retain their metal roofs, front porches, hardwood floors and beadboard paneling, features typically found in grange halls of that era.
The brick District 5/Sunny Valley Schoolhouse in Mason, built in 1821, was a sizable investment at a time when most schools were built of wood. A one-room schoolhouse, it was used as needed until 1914 when it was closed permanently. Caldecott Medal winner Elizabeth Orton Jones, who illustrated Little Golden Book’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” later used the building as a studio.
The one-room East Hebron Schoolhouse, built in 1888, is one and a half stories with a recessed porch under a gable front roof. The classroom space still has its historic wood floors, wainscoting, slate chalkboards and woodstove. It was in use until 1942, when its students were sent to the town’s Village School.
A relatively rare surviving building type in New Hampshire, Wright’s Blacksmith Shop in Gilsum has remained largely unchanged from the time it was built circa 1890. A simple one-story wood-framed building, its façade has four two-over-two windows and a large sliding door. Phineas Wright blacksmithed there from approximately 1900 through the 1940s.
The former Ranlet Café in Bethlehem was built in circa 1880 to serve visitors at the nearby Ranlet Hotel. Its multi-textured exterior surfaces and diagonal porch brackets are a common architectural features of Stick style buildings. A print shop in the basement was instrumental in providing much of the printing for hotel menus in town.
Located near other nineteenth-century community buildings in Bow Center, Bow Baptist Church, built circa 1832, is primarily Greek Revival in style with Gothic Revival style elements. It has served as a gathering place for services, lectures, dinners, socials, concerts and agricultural festivals held in conjunction with the local grange.
Located in Moultonborough Village, the James E. French House, built circa 1850, is a broad-gabled house that was a favored style in New Hampshire after about 1830. French was a well-known politician, having served in local, state and federal positions, including as a state representative and state senator, and as district collector of U.S. Internal Revenue from 1882-1886 and 1889-1893.
Chesley Memorial Library in Northwood was designed by Maurice Witmer, a Portsmouth-based architect known for his Colonial Revival designs in the mid-twentieth century. The library is one of the few known mid-century Colonial Revival town libraries in the state. Built in 1954, its details include an ashular granite veneer, a broken ram’s head pediment above the entry and knotty pine interior paneling.
The two-and-a-half story Greek Revival style Mt. Caesar Union Library in Swanzey was originally constructed in 1843 as a private seminary for the Universalist Church. Graduates George and Lucy Carpenter purchased the building and in 1885 donated it to the town for use as a library, a function it still serves today.
The Harriman Hale American Legion Post No. 18 in Wolfeboro has Greek Revival pilasters, Italianate corbels and a Colonial Revival entry that combine to form an interesting evolution of architectural styles. Since its founding, the building’s function hall has been the site of parades, children’s holiday parties, carnivals and private functions.
Anyone wishing to nominate a property to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places must research the history of the nominated property and document it on an individual inventory form from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Having a property listed in the Register does not impose restrictions on property owners. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr.
New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the NH 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.