FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2012
Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
N.H.’s Civil War buildings: Care and comfort for veterans, orphans
As part of New Hampshire’s “May is Preservation Month” observation, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is publishing a series of articles exploring the Granite State’s involvement in the Civil War.
This week, the focus is on New Hampshire’s buildings designed to support those affected by the Civil War.
Founded in 1866, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was the preeminent Civil War veterans’ association; New Hampshire alone had more than 90 societies located in communities across the state. While some have been repurposed, many GAR meeting halls and memorials still stand today, including in Hanover, Peterborough and Somersworth.
More unique is the N.H. Veterans Association, which held its first reunion at the Weirs Beach in the 1870s. Different regiments began building cottages on the site and by 1924 35 buildings not only housed summering veterans but also provided space for concerts and dances. The entire property was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Many Civil War veterans and their families were unable to return to their previous lives. In 1871, the New Hampshire Orphans' Home was established at Daniel Webster’s family farm in Franklin; it was one of the first rural orphanages in the United States. In 1890, New Hampshire opened the New Hampshire Soldiers' Home in Tilton – the first state to do so. The original building was demolished in 1978, but the N.H. Veterans Home continues its outstanding dedication to serving New Hampshire’s veterans.
To see images and learn more about New Hampshire’s Civil War buildings, visit www.nh.gov/nhdhr and click on the “May is Preservation Month” link in the “Quick Links” box on the right. Databases related to New Hampshire regiments during the Civil War, including calendars listing regiment activity, are available at http://www.nh.gov/nhculture/nh_civilwar.htm.
New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archeological, architectural, engineering and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among the most important environmental assets of the state. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit us online at www.nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling (603) 271-3483.
New Hampshire’s Department of Cultural Resources includes the State Council on the Arts, the Film and Television Office, the Division of Historical Resources, the State Library and the Commission on Native American Affairs. The Department strives to nurture the cultural well-being of our state. From the covered bridges and traditional music of our past to the avant-garde performances and technological resources of today and tomorrow, New Hampshire’s culture is as varied as its geography and its people. This strong cultural base—which truly has something for everyone—attracts businesses looking for engaged workforces, provides outstanding educational opportunities and creates communities worth living in. Learn more at www.nh.gov/nhculture/.