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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2015

Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
shelly.angers@dcr.nh.gov
Twitter: @NHCulture

Bristol Town Hall named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Bristol Town Hall has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is significant both for its architecture and for its contribution to Bristol’s political, governmental and social history.

Bristol, like many New Hampshire towns, first held its town meetings anywhere that could accommodate attendees, including in private homes, schoolhouses and churches. When the state passed the Toleration Act of 1819, enacting a separation of church and government, many towns – including Bristol – began building town halls to comply with the legislation.

Built in 1848, the Bristol Town Hall has classic Greek Revival features, including a clapboard exterior, symmetrically placed windows and pilasters that are reminiscent of columns. The large pediment on the front gable, the recessed front porch entryway, and the fact that it is a one and a half story building make it stand out from other Greek Revival town halls in the region.

Inside, the building has a large main room with a stage at one end; there is also office space in an attached wing. In 1912, the ceiling was raised six feet, exposing the frame’s timber tie beams. At that time, pressed tin with a filigree pattern was installed on the ceiling and beams, adding a decorative element to the room.

Bristol Town Hall hosted its first town meeting in March 1850 and the building soon became the town’s main location for political and social functions. It has been the site of graduations, band concerts, musicals, school programs, basketball games, political meetings and community suppers.

Bristol built a new municipal building in 1966, but the Bristol Town Hall continues to host town meetings, elections and community events, making it one of the oldest buildings in town still being used for its original purpose.

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 cultural 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.

For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3483.

New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. 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 nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.

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