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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
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Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources

Summer cottage colony on Squam Lake named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Shepard Hill Historic District in Holderness has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its well-preserved architecture and its social importance as the first summer colony on Squam Lake.

Part of the evolution of Squam as a destination for summer homes after the Civil War, Shepard Hill is the location of the first cottage built on the lake. Boating, swimming, fishing and tennis were integral parts of summer recreation there. Early residents were primarily academics and ministers with ties to Yale University and were often connected socially and professionally.

More than a century after Shepard Hill was established, it still retains all but one of its historic cottages and camps, as well as its chapel, ice houses, a group of bath and boathouses on the shoreline, the undisturbed site of the Asquam House hotel that stood at the top of the hill from 1881 to 1948 and several other original features.

Built primarily from 1870-1900 and sited on the hillside and oriented for optimal lake and mountain views, the buildings’ architectural styles range from eclectic Victorians to Craftsman-style cottages. They have fairly simple exteriors and are distinguished by decorative features. Doors are generally paired to create wide openings for maximum light and ventilation, taking full advantage of summer living on Squam.

As part of a recent effort by local advocates and property owners, the Shepard Hill Historic District is the tenth listing to the National Register from Squam Lake and the Squam Watershed.

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 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 or call 603-271-3483.




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