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Fast Facts and History

New Hampshire Veterans Home History

The first legislation directing assistance in establishing and providing operational costs for state-operated Soldiers' Homes was passed by Congress in 1888. In 1889, to take advantage of the federal legislation, Governor David H. Goodell established a veterans' Board of Managers, made up of prominent citizens, to select a site for a Soldiers' Home for Civil War veterans unable to care for themselves by reason of wounds, old age, or other infirmities.

The NH Veterans Home in the early days.
The NH Veterans Home in the early days

Various properties throughout the state were examined and on November 8, 1889, the Board of Managers accepted the offer from one of its members, Charles E. Tilton, to give the State a site, known as the Savage Farm, of approximately 30 acres in Tilton.

The New Hampshire Soldiers' Home was dedicated during ceremonies on December 3, 1890.

Three days later, the first veterans of the Civil War were admitted to the Home. They formed a corps of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union veterans of the Civil War, and lived out their lives in dignity in the the red-brick Victorian "Fortress" in the Highlands of Tilton.

In 1890, the Woman's Relief Corps raised $5,000, which almost entirely furnished the Home. Prior to the dedication, they spent three days cleaning the facility and arranging the furniture. In 1899, electric lights and a laundry plant were installed and an addition to the farmhouse (infirmary) was constructed in 1913.

The farm operation ceased in the 1950s, and in 1971 the farmhouse was demolished and a new 50-bed nursing care addition (the Welch Unit) was built. Another 50-bed addition (Tarr North) was constructed in 1978, replacing the 1890 main building.

Construction of an additional 50 bed unit (Tarr South) began in 1989 and was dedicated on November 3, 1990, one hundred years - less one month - from the dedication of the original facility.

The Life Enhancement Unit (LEDU), a 100-bed, state-of-the-art, secure dementia-care facility, opened in February, 2004. LEDU was designed to meet both the individual and collective needs of residents with dementia. LEDU is made up of six "neighborhoods," all of which feature private rooms, outdoor enclosed courtyards on the first floor, a kitchen area, and nursing stations separated from the living area. LEDU includes skylights that provide abundant natural light, paintings and murals by New Hampshire artists, and a floor plan that allows residents freedom to move around within a safe environment.

Other recent buildings/renovations that support the needs of our residents include Main Street -- an area that provides "hometown feel" conveniences like a store, barbershop, library and chapel -- and the Town Hall, a large auditorium used for various programs. Other additions are a Maintenance Building, and the Picnic Pavilion/American Legion Park.

The New Hampshire Veterans Home continues to grow and improve. In recent years we have installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, removed asbestos tile, and installed energy efficient doors, windows, faucets, and toilets.


Aerial view 2018
An aerial view of the campus today

Today we have the capacity to care for 250 residents; about half live in the Welch/Tarr Units and the other half live in LEDU. We have nearly 400 staff. We are an intermediate, long term care facility, offering a broad range of residential, medical, and nursing care.

Our resident-centered care services also include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietary services, palliative and hospice care, and spiritual care. Each resident has an assigned social worker who works with him or her from the time the resident is admitted to the Home.

Our expansive Therapeutic Recreation program focuses on keeping residents as active and engaged as possible to avoid the problems of loneliness and depression. It treats residents as individuals and encourages them to explore leisure activities that will enhance their quality of life.

Our Intergenerational Program brings children from local schools together with residents for various enrichment opportunities.

NHVH has formalized agreements with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and local hospitals for inpatient hospitalization and specialized outpatient care.

We encourage our residents to participate in a variety of activities both in the Home and in the community. We're proud of our "Main Street," which features a store, library/media center, barber shop/beauty salon, recreation room, chapel, and Town Hall. We also have a greenhouse, raised bed gardens, a trout pond, and a family room.

Residents are actively involved in Resident Council meetings and several other key committees at the Home, including Quality of Life meetings and the Home's Board of Managers, Regular activities include dances, picnics, live entertainment, a writing group, art studio group, Tai Chi, exercise groups, shopping trips, trips to sporting events, fishing derbies, and tournaments in cribbage, darts, bowling and billiards.

NHVH also offers volunteer opportunities and animal-assisted therapy. We partner with dozens of veterans' service organizations to enrich the lives of our residents.

New Hampshire Veterans Home
139 Winter Street  |  Tilton, NH 03276-5415  |  
(p) 603-527-4400  |  (f) 603-286-4242