From a town hall to a freight shed: Old buildings added to NH Historic Register

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CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources announced Thursday that six properties were added to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.

The oldest building selected to be added to the register by the State Historical Resources Council is the Old Academy Building at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. 

Pinkerton was one of the first secondary schools to open in the state, and the Old Academy Building was the school’s first building when it opened in 1815. According to a release by the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), it is said to be a well-preserved example of Federal-style architecture, which was later altered in 1828 with an added Greek-Revival-style front pavilion and cupola. 

Much of the building’s interior, especially the second floor retains the appearance of a Pinkerton classroom from a century ago, according to the DNCR.

Wolfeboro Freight Shed

The next oldest structure added to the register was the Wolfeboro Freight Shed, a single-story warehouse built around 1871. In its heyday, box cars would pull up alongside the elevated structure with its sliding freight doors to load and unload an assortment of goods and materials used in manufacturing.

The Freight Shed played an important role in improving the town’s economy (particularly in industry and tourism) since the only way to deliver freight and people into town were by boat or stagecoach prior to the arrival of the railroad.

Old Stratham Town Hall

The Old Stratham Town Hall, built in 1877, is a Second-Empire-style building which was intended, as many old town halls were, for both government and social gatherings. It was used as the site of Stratham town meetings at the turn of the 20th Century, and for other events held by local organizations.

For many years, the town’s annual report included a line item in the town’s budget for the tuning of the town hall’s piano.

Lee Public Library – NH State Register of Historic Places

Built in 1897, the Lee Library was first built as a schoolhouse to meet the town’s educational needs after it consolidated its school districts from seven to four. In an effort to preserve the schoolhouse, the town relocated the building by half a mile into the town center in 1962, where it began its new life as a library and community meeting space.

As part of the grange movement that grew among local farmers between the 19th and 20th Centuries, Plymouth’s Lower Intervale Grange #321 was built to increase educational and economic opportunities, as well as a social center for agrarian families. Farmers built the grange hall in 1912. Today, 57 granges still operate across the state, according to the DNCR.

Our Lady of the Fairways – Bethlehem.

Finally, in one of the stranger pieces of history, is a melding of golf and Catholic cultures; the Lady of the Fairways Shrine in Bethlehem. Built in 1958, the shrine includes a marble Madonna statue set within a brick grotto, a nod to both Italian and Irish Catholic traditions. 

The shrine is one of the state’s last remaining artifacts memorializing former golf caddy camps in the region. Generations of caddies would attend these camps, and the shrine is a symbol of the cultural significance they once held.