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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2016

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

Francestown Common District named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Francestown Town Common District, including the Town Hall and Academy, has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The district is significant for its architectural significance and for the role is has played in government, education and commerce.

When the town common was gifted to Francestown in 1772, its four acres were to provide a training field, burying ground and space for a meeting house. Today the common is smaller but still includes several historically important elements, including the Town Hall and Academy building, a former student boarding house known as “The Beehive,” an extensive horse shed, a platform scale and a granite watering trough.

Built in 1847 before high schools were publicly funded in New Hampshire, the Town Hall and Academy building is a stately two-story building in the Greek Revival style, subdivided in the interior to accommodate its two uses. Its first floor, used for annual and special town meetings, has original wainscoting and a heavy wooden chair rail; a deep stage was installed in 1879. The second floor housed the private Academy and still has its original floor plan: a large hall, two classrooms and two smaller chambers. For many years, 100 students were listed as attending.

Built into a side of a nearby hill, the “Beehive” is one of very few mid-nineteenth-century dormitories for private academy students that remain largely unchanged. Its simply detailed bed chambers, dining room and study served the needs of students attending the Academy. A separate kitchen and chamber provided private space for an adult superintendent.

Other distinct features of the district include an unusual 18-stall horse shed, platform scales that were used to weigh hay and other large-volume products, and a granite watering trough that is now used as a summertime planter. The district is adjacent to the Francestown Meetinghouse, which is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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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