Official New Hampshire website
trans
Department of Cultural Resources
 
NH Cultural Resources logo NH Division of Historical Resources  
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 24, 2015

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

Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources
603-271-3583
peter.michaud@dcr.nh.gov

Somersworth’s Hilltop School named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Hilltop School in Somersworth has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally built as Somersworth High School, Hilltop School is significant for its architecture and the important role it played in the development of modern high school education on a local level.

Somersworth has a special place in the history of public education in New Hampshire. The state’s Somersworth Act of 1848 cleared the way for municipalities to develop centralized school districts, create systems of graded schools, purchase lots for them and build school houses.

The city built Great Falls High School, the first public high school in New Hampshire constructed after the act’s passage, in 1849. By the 1920s, that building was in disrepair and the school board secured funding for a new school that could accommodate modern educational needs.

Somersworth High School was considered cutting-edge when it was built in only 19 weeks in 1927 on the site of the old school. In addition to general studies, students could learn bookkeeping, typewriting, physics and chemistry. A 1939 addition expanded manual training classroom space and included a biology room with a built-in work table.

When a new Somersworth High School was built in 1956, the building became Hilltop Elementary School. It closed in 2007. The City and community advocates are exploring possibilities for new uses for the property.

Designed by architect Charles Greely Loring, Hilltop School is an excellent example of a Georgian Revival-style public school. Its brick and stone exterior, large windows and elaborate main entrance make it easily identifiable as having been built at the height of the style’s popularity in New England. Inside, many original features remain, including coat closets, gas light fixtures near the exit doors and brick-lined niches for the water fountains. Basketball hoops still hang from opposite ends of the combination gymnasium-auditorium.

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 about 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.

###

 

 

 
State of New Hampshire Seal Copyright (c) State of New Hampshire, 2008