Photographs of Old Buildings
In or Near Concord, NH

photographs, text, and compilation of links are Copyright 2010-2012 by Ronald B. Standler

Copyright   This website, www.rbs0.com , including each of my webpages and each of my photographs, is my personal property.   Each of my photographs here, and also my text, is protected by copyright law and my contractual terms of service.   Please enjoy looking at my photographs at my website, but do not copy either my photographs or my text, and do not display them elsewhere.

Introduction

This webpage displays some of my photographs of old buildings in or near Concord, New Hampshire (NH) and links to other webpages about these sites.

I spent most of my childhood (1956-1962) in El Paso, Texas. My father took me to abandoned mines that were active during the 1900-1920 era. Downtown El Paso had a few buildings dating back to the year 1881, when the railroad service began there, but most of the buildings were erected after 1940. So, as a child, I learned that "old building" meant built during 1880-1940.   In 1991, I visited Zürich Switzerland and, during a walk, I saw a plaque on a building that said the mayor had lived there sometime around the year 600. That plaque gave me a new perspective on the meaning of "old building". <smile>

In 1995, I moved to Concord, NH. Unlike El Paso, there are buildings in the Concord area that were erected in the early 1800s, and a few from the 1700s. This is not surprising when one realizes that New Hampshire was one of the original 13 states of the USA, while New Mexico and Arizona did not become a state until the year 1912.   Concord and most of the towns surrounding Concord (e.g., Allenstown, Bow, Contoocook, Henniker, Hopkinton, Pembroke, Penacook, Suncook, Warner — but not Hooksett) were established before the United States declared independence in the year 1776. Concord became the capital of New Hampshire in the year 1808.

Concord is the third-largest city in the state of New Hampshire. (Manchester is the biggest city in New Hampshire, followed by Nashua, which is across the state line from Lowell, Massachusetts.)   The downtown district in Concord is small, consisting of only two north-south streets (Main St. and State St.) and extending about 0.3 mile (0.5 km) from Pleasant St. northward to Centre Street/Loudon Road. The downtown district includes the state capital and state legislature, as well as six banks, many offices, various small stores, two pharmacies, and an old theater (Phenix Hall).

All of old Concord is on the west side of the Merrimack River. The 1927 USGS topographic map shows few buildings on the east side of the Merrimack. But today on the east side of the Merrimack, in former Concord Heights (now part of Concord), there are a large number of residential buildings, several shopping centers together with the three largest grocery stores in Concord, offices of the state government including the NH Supreme Court, plus many stores and restaurants along Loudon Road (NH9).

Earlier, I contrasted my childhood in El Paso, Texas with my current life in Concord, NH. There is another contrast. El Paso has an average rainfall of about 22 cm/year, so old buildings are easily accessible in the desert. Concord, NH has an average rainfall of about 96 cm/year, so abandoned buildings are quickly surrounded by brush and trees, making them inaccessible. Moreover, New Hampshire has occasional floods that destroy mills and other buildings. In winter in New Hampshire, the weight of snow can cause roofs of buildings to collapse.

Table of Contents

  1. Eagle Square in Concord, NH

  2. Gas Holder in Concord, NH

  3. Sewall's Falls hydroelectric plant and dam

  4. Old Post Office in Concord, NH

  5. Ward House Nr. 7 in Concord, NH

  6. Railroad in Concord   Concord-Manchester Electric Railway

  7. Page Belting manufacturing plant

  8. Mills in Concord, NH

  9. Hospitals around Concord, NH

  10. Airports in New Hampshire

  11. Links



Note about my photographs:   Photographs taken in 2010 used a Canon SX130 camera (4000 × 3000 pixels). The Canon camera stamps the date in day/month/year format on each photograph. The date may be removed if I crop the photograph.   Photographs taken after Nov 2012 (e.g., Mill in Concord, Hydroelectric plant, Page Belting) used a Nikon D7000 camera with manual focus lenses.

To make this webpage load faster, I have converted the high-quality, large files from my digital camera to medium-quality, small files with 480 pixels on the longer side.   In order to preserve the fidelity of the data, I have not made any adjustment of exposure or color with software.


Eagle Square

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The Eagle Hotel at 110 North Main Street in Concord was built in the year 1827.   The hotel closed in 1961, the year after the demolishment of the railroad depot a few blocks southeast of the hotel.   The hotel building is now mostly occupied by one law firm.   Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 20 Sep 1978, see the text that explains why this building is significant.

Main Street and Storrs Street are adjacent parallel streets, but separated by two city blocks. In between (1) buildings on North Main Street and (2) buildings on Storrs Street is either a courtyard or narrow street (e.g., Low Avenue).

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Behind the Eagle Hotel is a stable constructed in 1882.

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A few meters south of the Eagle Hotel Stable is an old stone building, currently containing the Museum of New Hampshire History.


Gas Holder

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Abandoned gasholder located at approximately 207 South Main Street (next to Gas Street) in Concord, NH.   This photograph was taken from Gas Street.

This cylindrical building was constructed in 1888 to extract and store heating gas from coal tar. The building was taken out of service in 1952, when pipelines brought natural gas from other states to New Hampshire. The interior of the building contains toxic waste, which is probably why the building remains untouched.   Claimed to be "only surviving gasholder in the USA with its gasholder still intact."

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Telephoto lens view of the cupola and lightning rod on top of the gasholder. Note the green copper ground wire attached to the lightning rod, which ground wire goes down the roof and side of the building.

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View from Main Street. The octagonal cupola on top of the building is now tilted.
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View of entrance from Main Street, note the year "1888" in concrete on the side of the building.

Links:
Library of Congress webpage, shows 16 photos of the gasholder in August 1982, including the interior of the building, plus 24 pages of text.

Waymarking photos and text from April 2009.

Society for Industrial Archeology Fall 1982 article.


Sewall's Falls Hydroelectric Plant

On 29 Sep 1893, the Concord Land and Water Power Company began operating an electric power plant on the Merrimack River at Sewall's Falls, north of Concord, NH. The generators provided three-phase alternating current electricity to Concord, which was the second three-phase plant for supplying a city in the USA. (Redlands, California was 22 days earlier than Sewall's Falls.) In 1901, Concord Electric Company purchased the plant at Sewall's Falls. At the end of 1966, Concord Electric Company began purchasing power from Public Service of New Hampshire, and the Sewall's Falls hydroelectric plant was then taken out of service. The dam is said to be the longest rock dam in the world.

The hydroelectric plant is located at the eastern end of Second Street, in the village of Beaver Meadow, now part of the city of Concord, NH.

The hydroelectric plant and dam is now part of the Sewall Falls Wildlife Management Area, operated by the New Hampshire New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, which has a map. The city of Concord has a map of hiking trails at Sewall's Falls. After 18 years with no maintenance to the dam, the middle section of the wooden and loose rock dam washed away in April 1984.

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Photo of south side of Power House Nr. 1 taken on 7 Dec 2012 from the west shore of the river. The main part of the Merrimack River flows to the right of the photograph. The water for the water wheel flows in the canal from the left of the building. When I was there in December 2012, there was a chain-link fence surrounding a construction site at the dam, which prevented me from photographing the dam and other buildings.

Links:


Old Post Office in Concord, NH

There is a magnificent stone building on North State Street, between Park Street and Capitol Street, in Concord, NH. The building was completed in 1889 as a U.S. Post Office, federal courthouse, and place for local offices of the federal government. Gray granite rock from a local quarry was used in the construction. In 1967, this building was donated to the state of New Hampshire, and now contains offices for the state legislators. Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 13 Aug 1973, see the text that explains the significance of this building.

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This photograph was taken from the steps of the state capital building on State Street.

Links:
year 1913 color image from a postcard.


Ward House Nr. 7 in Concord

Located at 41 West Street, at the intersection of Badger Street and West Street.   This building is owned by the City of Concord.   It is used as a place to vote, and a community center.   In Oct 2010, the building can be rented for US$ 17/hour.

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View from Badger Street side.

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View from West Street.

This Ward House was built in the year 1884.   The minutes of the Concord City Council meeting of 12 July 2010 reports that this ward house "is the oldest remaining building in the state that was built for the original purpose of voting and still gets used for that purpose."   In searching on the Internet, I found that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church met at this Ward House during the years 1909-1915.


Railroad in Concord

Concord, NH had railroad service provided by the Boston & Maine Railroad, which went bankrupt in 1971.   The railroad depot in downtown Concord was demolished in 1960 and the land became a shopping mall.   Demolishing railroad depots and removing track was really stupid, because it prevents the easy return of railroad service sometime in the future. Railroads are much more energy efficient than trucks and buses, and railroads can be much faster than traffic on an Interstate highway.

Part of the problem is that the railroads were privately owned, including ownership of track and depots — unlike airports, which are operated by a city or state government. For example, when Pan American Airlines went bankrupt in 1991, its airplanes, transatlantic routes, and gates at airports were sold to Delta, so service continued.

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Standing near the south end of the former depot in Concord. View of the railroad tracks looking south. Note that the rails are not straight.

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Standing near the south end of the former depot in Concord, about 100 meters north of the location of the previous photograph. View of the railroad tracks looking south.

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Standing a few hundred meters north of the former depot in Concord. View of the railroad tracks looking south. The second track is a siding.


Concord & Manchester Electric Railroad

When one thinks of railroad in Concord, one naturally thinks of the big station that was formerly located on present day Storrs Street at Depot Street.   But there was a smaller railroad — a trolley car — that ran from Penacook, through Concord, Bow Junction, Pembroke, Suncook, Allenstown, Hooksett, and ending in Manchester.   The following information is taken from the 1996 booklet by O.R. Cummings (bibliographic information in the links, below).

There were four eras:
  1. Horse-drawn street railway. Built in the year 1881 in Concord, with track extending to Penacook in 1884. The track was narrow-gauge, three feet.

  2. Steam-powered street railway. Began in the year 1885.

  3. Electric-powered street railway. In the year 1890, a 550 volt direct-current (DC) generator was installed in West Concord to supply power to an overhead wire, with a return path through the rails. The track was extended from downtown Penacook to Contoocook River Park in 1893. (The Park closed after the 1930 summer season, and the tracks were removed the following year.)

  4. Interurban electric-powered street railway. In 1901, the Boston & Maine Railroad purchased the Concord Street Railway, then made the following improvements: The interurban began service in 1903 and ended in April 1933, under the name "Concord & Manchester Electric Branch" (after 1925: "Concord Electric Railways") of the Boston & Maine Railroad.
The street railway became unprofitable in the late 1920s, because of competition from privately owned automobiles. In 1929, the state of New Hampshire completed the concrete Daniel Webster Highway (now US3) from Nashua, to Manchester, Concord, and continuing north, which highway paralleled the Concord street railway, and diverted traffic from the railway. After the end of the street railway, Boston & Maine operated buses on the roads. Local bus service continues today, now operated by Concord Area Transit.

There is almost no information on the Internet about this interurban trolley, other than terse mentions of its existence.   One can no longer be certain of the exact location of depots for this trolley.

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Remnants of the Concord-Manchester Electric Railroad bridge across the Merrimack River at Bow Junction, NH. Only the stone foundation remains, the steel bridge built in 1912 was sold as scrap metal in the 1950s. (Before 1912, there was a covered wooden bridge at this location.) This bridge is located near the southern end of Hall St. in Concord, next to the present Blue Seal plant.   See the 1927 USGS topographical map for location.

Links:
History of the trolley, by O. R. Cummings.

Photograph (1998) of remnants of Concord-Manchester Electric Railway bridge across the Merrimack River at Bow Junction, NH.

River Park (1904-1930) in Penacook was the northern end of the trolley run.

Books in Library:
O.R. Cummings, A Granite State Interurban: The History of the Concord and Manchester Electric Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad. Published as Bulletin Number 12 by the Electric Railway Historical Society. Chicago: Electric Railway Historical Society, 35 pp., 1954.

O.R. Cummings, Capital City Streetcar Days — The Concord & Manchester Electric Branch, The Concord Electric Railways, and Predecessors 1878-1933, 56 pp., (published 1996).

Annual Report of the Railroad Commissioners for 1904, page 44, lists a total of 16.27 miles of track for the Concord-Manchester Electric Railroad. Available at Google Books.

McGraw Electric Railway Manual, Vol. 15, p. 180 (year 1908) Available at Google Books.


Page Belting in Concord, NH

In the days before electric motors, manufacturing plants were often located next to a river. Water flowing in the river turned a waterwheel, which turned a shaft inside the manufacturing plant. Leather belts were used to transfer mechanical power from the waterwheel's shaft to machines.

Page Belting in Concord, NH was one of the major manufacturers of leather belts for power transmission. The four brick buildings now standing were built between 1892 and 1906, and are located at 26 Commercial Street in Concord, north of US202/I293. Page Belting was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, see the text that explains why these buildings are historic.

Concord, NH has never been a major manufacturing site. In the late 1800s, Page Belting was the largest manufacturer in Concord. From 1896 until 1960, Boston & Maine railroad had a large repair shop in Concord, making the railroad the largest employer in Concord. Currently, the state government is the largest employer in Concord, followed by the Concord Hospital.

In the year 2000, the larger Page Belting buildings became apartment buildings, named Horseshoe Pond Place. A smaller building contains a dance studio and some offices.

In the year 1903, Page Belting purchased J.R. Hill, which is now located in Boscawen, NH. Industrial products are still sold under the Page name, while consumer products are sold under the Hill name.

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Photo of one building, taken from the parking lot on the west side.

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Photo of front of office building on Commercial Drive. There are two dates carved in granite on this entrance: 1871 and 1906. The earlier year is the creation of Page Belting, the office building was constructed in 1906.


Mills in Concord, NH

I looked at a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Concord, NH for the year 1914, and found a building labeled "Concord Worsted Mills" on map 32. The mill manufactured yarn.

Currently, this building is used for apartments, and is called "Mill Place West". The street address is 479 North State St. in Concord.

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Photo of the main mill building, eastern side, looking north.

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Photo of the empty 75,000 gallon water reservoir on the brook that powered the mill.

Because the building is currently occupied, I took all of my photographs from the far south-east end of the parking lot, near State Street. I did not go west of the building to photograph where the waterwheel was located on a brook.


Hospitals around Concord, NH

In looking on the Internet for old hospitals to photograph, I was surprised to learn that many tens of thousands of people in small towns scattered north and west of Concord are far from the nearest hospital. There is one hospital in Franklin, NH, one hospital in Concord, NH, and two hospitals in Manchester, NH. There are no other hospitals along this 40 mile stretch of I-93 highway.   About 25 miles northwest of Concord, there is one hospital in New London, NH. Further to the northwest of Concord, near the Vermont border, there are two hospitals in Lebanon NH, and one hospital in Claremont, NH.

The few hospitals in central New Hampshire must have been an inconvenience in the days with poor roads, and a few railroad trains per day. However, in the 1800s and continuing into the early 1900s, sick or injured people were customarily confined to their homes and physicians visited the homes. Wealthy people in New Hampshire who needed major surgery during the late 1800s traveled by train to Boston.

Concord, NH Hospital

The first hospital in Concord, NH opened in Oct 1884 and was located on Allison St., apparently near present day South Main St.   This first hospital was replaced with the Margaret Pillsbury General Hospital, which was established in Dec 1891 with fifty beds.   Color image of original two-story Pillsbury Hospital.

In Oct 1896, the Memorial Hospital for Women and Children was opened at 66 South St. in Concord.

In 1956, a large hospital building was built at 250 Pleasant Street (NH9/US202), on the west side of Concord, and the two earlier hospital buildings were no longer used.

The original Pillsbury Hospital building was demolished sometime before 1995.

Currently at the former Memorial Hospital site is a large brick building that was constructed in 1922 and is now occupied by the New Hampshire state government. The current building may be a remodeled Memorial Hospital for Women and Children. I say may, because I have not checked the history at the library.

Aside:   George A. Pillsbury was born in Sutton, NH in 1816. He married Margaret and they moved to Warner, NH, where their son, Charles, was born in 1842. They moved to Concord, NH in 1851 and later moved to Minneapolis. In 1872 their son, Charles Alfred Pillsbury, founded the Pillsbury Flour Mill in Minneapolis. George and Margaret celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by donating money for the Pillsbury General Hospital in Concord, NH.   That is the short story of how the Pillsbury flour name was related to a hospital in Concord. The Pillsbury name continues in two places in Concord:
  1. Pillsbury Street is parallel to Allison Street, and one street south of Allison. Currently there are several modern office buildings on Pillsbury Street.
  2. The buildings containing offices of physicians and surgeons near the present Concord Hospital on Pleasant St. are named "Pillsbury Buildings".
I suspect that most current residents of Concord do not know this interesting history.

New London, NH Hospital

New London, NH Hospital was established in the year 1918 with six beds.   In 1923, it was expanded to twelve beds.

Glencliff Sanitarium

The state of New Hampshire operated a tuberculosis sanatorium (also spelled sanatarium) during the years 1909-1970 in the remote town of Glencliff, in a valley west of Mount Moosilauke.   The buildings are now a home for "developmentally disabled and/or mentally ill" people.   The village of Glencliff is so tiny that it is not included in the 1999 edition of the Arrow New Hampshire Street Atlas of 102 cities and towns. Glencliff is located northwest of Plymouth, NH and north of the town of Warren, NH.

See the article in Dartmouth Medicine for the Summer 2003.

New Hampshire State Hospital

See my separate webpage for the former state Insane Asylum in Concord, NH.

U.S. Army Hospital at Grenier Field

While I was reading about the history of the airport at Manchester, NH — which during 1941-1966 was called Grenier Field and operated by the U.S. Military — I saw some terse mentions that during 1941-1945 there was a 125-bed station hospital for those wounded in the war in Europe. Seventy years later, there is almost nothing on the Internet about this station hospital.


New Hampshire Airports

Most of southern New Hampshire is either near the major airport in Boston, or near the airport in Portland, Maine. In Oct 2010, there are only two airports in New Hampshire with scheduled airline service for passengers:
  1. Manchester
  2. Lebanon (near Dartmouth College & Medical School)
In addition, there are several other airports in New Hampshire (the following is not a complete list):
  1. Concord has a 6000 foot asphalt runway. The airport began service in the year 1928 as a private corporation, and the city acquired the airport in 1936.
  2. Keene (Dillant-Hopkins Airport)
  3. Laconia
  4. Nashua (Boire Field)
  5. Newport (Parlin Field) founded in the year 1949.
  6. Portsmouth (formerly Pease Air Force Base), has a 11,300 foot concrete/asphalt runway.
  7. Rochester (Skyhaven Airport)
Complete list of airports in New Hampshire, from the state government website.   Some of these airports still have grass-covered runways, which are closed in the winter when snow covers the runway.

Links:   There is little information on the Internet about history of airfields in New Hampshire.   What I could find in Oct 2010 was:
Interestingly, the dominant airline in New Hampshire from the 1930s to 1960s was founded in the year 1933 as "Boston-Maine Airways", a subsidiary of the Boston & Maine Railroad. In 1940, it was renamed "Northeast Airlines". Their first airplanes were Stinson trimotors, which were replaced with Lockheed Electras, and still later replaced with the Douglas DC-3. Northeast Airlines was sold to Delta Airlines in 1972, which is how Delta (an airline with an origin in Louisiana and its major hub in Atlanta, Georgia) serves Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts.   Ironically, with Northeast Airlines serving five cities in New Hampshire (i.e., Concord, Keene, Laconia, Lebanon, Manchester) in the 1950s and 1960s, New Hampshire had more widespread air passenger service then than now.   Moreover, many towns in New Hampshire had regular passenger train service in the early 1950s, which added to public transportation.


Links

New Hampshire State Websites


Towns (Mostly) in Merrimack County, NH


Links to Libraries
in or near Concord, New Hampshire


links to maps


Links to Old Railroads
near Concord, New Hampshire




this document is at   http://www.rbs0.com/nh.htm
first posted 16 Oct 2010, revised 21 Nov 2014

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