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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 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

Berlin’s Notre Dame High School named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the George E. Burgess School / Notre Dame High School in Berlin 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 as a center of education and for its architecture.

Originally constructed as the George E. Burgess School in 1905, rebuilt after a fire in 1917 and added on to in 1949 and 1953-54, the building is an example of an early-twentieth-century urban public elementary school that was adapted and expanded for use as a Catholic high school and convent.

Closed during the Depression when enrollment at all Berlin schools dropped, the Burgess School was leased to the Diocese and opened again, this time as Notre Dame High School, in 1942. It was sold to the Diocese in 1946 and remained in operation as a high school until 1972.

Additions allowed standard high school curriculum to expand to include constitutional history, religion, economics, bookkeeping, stenography and more. Chemistry was taught in the science laboratory, and a food and nutrition laboratory was located in the basement. A convent was added to accommodate the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, who taught at the school.

Until the opening of Notre Dame High School, the only option for education beyond grade eight in Berlin was through the public school system. Many of the students attending Notre Dame came from the three parochial schools in Berlin that had large French Canadian student populations. French remained an important part of the curriculum, with some classes taught in French.

The school’s architecture has features considered essential for school design when it was built, rebuilt and when additions were added. These include a raised basement, expansive banks of windows that provide sufficient sunlight, and good ventilation. The building also retains many of its interior features: a central corridor and front cross corridor; original beaded board wainscoting, door and window trim; and an original staircase that rises from the basement to the top floor.

In recent years, it has been modified into a senior housing facility with 33 apartments and several common spaces.

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 www.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 www.nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.

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