FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2014
Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
Mary Kate Ryan, NH Division of Historical Resources
Oyster River Dam added to NH State Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is pleased to announce that the State Historical Resources Council has added Durham’s Oyster River Dam to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.
The State Register has helped to promote the significance of many historic properties across New Hampshire. Benefits of being listed on the State Register include:
- Special consideration and relief from some building codes and regulations;
- Designation of a property as historical, which is a pre-qualification for many grant programs, including Conservation License Plate grants and New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grants; and
- Acknowledgment of a property’s historical significance in the community.
The Oyster River Dam in Durham was constructed in 1913 using funds donated by Edith Congreve Onderdonk as a memorial to her stepfather, Hamilton Smith. The project was part of a pattern of philanthropic activities and community planning and development that flourished at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Oyster River Falls’ first dam was built in the mid-1600s, and over the years several mills and other businesses operated on both sides of the river. Also called the Mill Pond Dam, the current Oyster River Dam is New Hampshire’s earliest known example of an Ambursen dam, a patented design that uses a system of concrete buttresses and was considered cutting edge technology in its day. The current dam was constructed to preserve the mill pond for recreational uses.
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 fully on individual inventory forms 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 www.nh.gov/nhdhr.
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.