Houston Barn in Hopkinton, Boscawen Academy and Hose House go on Historic Register list

Published: 4/27/2022 4:47:26 PM

Modified: 4/27/2022 4:45:56 PM

The huge, century-old Houston Barn in Hopkinton has been added to the State Register of Historic Places, six weeks after town voters spent $875,000 to repair it.

Also added to the state register were the Boscawen Academy and adjacent “Much-I-Do” Hose House in Boscawen, both of which were named to the National Register of Historic Places way back in 1980.

The massive gambrel barn in Hopkinton, 100 feet long and 50 feet high, was built in 1912 and housed chickens, sheep and cattle while part of the Houston Farm, which was the first dairy in town to deliver milk door-to-door. It is now owned by the town of Hopkinton, which uses it for storage and the Department of Public Works, while parts of the 115-acre former farm hold sports playing fields, hiking trails, playgrounds and a dog park.

At Town Meeting, Hopkinton voters overwhelmingly (221-48) approved borrowing $272,000 and spending another $603,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to stabilize the structure, which experts said was in danger of major damage after a leak was found in the roof.

Plans call for building a new foundation and fixing drainage issues, then installing a new roof, wiring and a fire suppression system as well as replacing siding and doors.

The town has sent out proposals for a construction manager, said Town Administrator Neil Cass.

“The hope is to have it complete by the time snow flies but we’re also realistic in this market,” Cass said. “We’ll get as much done as we possibly can get done.”

Being named to the state Register of Historic Places carries no financial or regulatory reward but has at least one major benefit: It makes sites eligible for grants from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program and funding from some other sources. It imposes no restrictions on usage by the owner.

The Boscawen Academy, built in 1827-28, is one of the earliest and best-preserved survivors of an era when many towns in New Hampshire had their own private academies. It was a private school until 1872, then a public school until 1966, when it was sold to the Boscawen Historical Society.

The adjoining clapboard Hose House was built in 1893 to hold the hoses for town’s fire-fighting unit, which was called Much-I-Do, and was expanded in 1922 to hold a fire truck. The town’s historical society has owned it since the 1970s, mostly for storage.

Other sites announced Tuesday are:

■Center Harbor’s Lake View Cemetery. Also known as Pleasant View Cemetery, it is a well-preserved example of a rural cemetery established during the early 19th century.

■Union Cemetery in Portsmouth is a small urban cemetery whose lots were sold within a decade of its being established in 1844.

■The circa 1720s John Gregg House, one of the oldest houses in Derry and the only remaining home of one of the original 20 Scotch Irish families that settled in what was then called Nutfield. Former New Hampshire governor, US Congressman and Senator Judd Gregg is a direct descendant of John Gregg.

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