Claremont Multiple Resources: Downtown Historic District
Municipality: Claremont, NH
Location: Downtown Claremont
Site Type: Historic District
UTMs: (Zone 18) [Order unclear] 715742/4805714. 715842/4805664. 715517/4805364. 715842/4805364.
National Register Nomination Information:
The Claremont Multiple Resource Survey area occupies the portion of the city earliest developed as the city grew from a late-18th century center village to an urbanized industrial community. Located in a valley through which the Sugar River falls toward the Connecticut River, the survey area is bounded partly by the Sugar River and the Monadnock Mills Historic District (a nomination to the National Register in process) to the north, a steep rise of land north of Main Street to the West, another rise along Central Street on the South, and the concentration of commercial and institutional resources occupying "the plain" bounded by Sullivan, Pleasant, Pine and Broad Streets. This area contains an historic district of 54 structures and two public spaces as well as 19 individual properties of outstanding architectural or historical significance.
The downtown historic district is primarily commercial and public in character retaining the late 19th and early-20th century scale from which its significance is derived. The Claremont City Hall and Opera House, previously listed on the National Register, is a central focus of the district. It acts as the terminus of one major avenue with its old town common as well as one corner of Tremont Square's commercial center. While the plan of this district reflects the street pattern established when a smaller rural village-center clustered around the town-common on the plain,- the existing streetscape is the product of a general rebuilding which established a new commercial core along Pleasant Street and Tremont Square at the height of the city's industrial prosperity in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. Combining a variety of eclectic Victorian and Neo-Colonial designs, these predominantly brick buildings share common facade lines and elevations ranging from two to four stories. Public and religious buildings surrounding the common (later called Broad Street Park) are more widely spaced on open lots and set back from the street. Thus, while less than a quarter of the buildings are used for institutional purposes they occupy roughly half the land area of the district. Fully three quarters of the buildings are used commercially and share the remaining land area with a thin scattering of domestic properties.
Buildings and sites contributing to the character of the district:
District Map & Survey Number and Description:
1. Broad Street Park (town common): triangular form by 1851.Civil War Monument 1869, bandstand 1890 and c.1920.
2. City Hall and Opera House (Broad St.): 1896. Renaissance Revival, raised ground floor with Opera House above, clock tower facing Broad Street Park.
3. Police/Court House (16 Police Court): 1929, yellow brick and reinforced concrete, two stories, with corbelled brick cornice, pedimented front porch with brick piers.
4. Central Fire Station (90 Broad Street): 1917, Georgian Revival, two stories, brick, decorative sculpture,of fire equipment beneath arch of paired second story center windows.
5. Universalist Church (100 Broad Street): 1832 Late Federal, 1883 remodeled to Victorian Gothic with added front tower, Stick style detail and patterned roof slates.
6. Claremont Public Library (110 Broad Street): 1903, Classical Revival, one story, projecting central pavilion with raised basement and rear ell.
7. Trinity Episcopal Church (120 Broad St.): 1852-3, early Stick Style, basilica plan with added chapel, corner tower gone since 1938.
8. Goodwin Community Center (130 Broad Street): 1884-5, Richardsonian, 2 story domestic building remodeled, hipped roof with pyramidal dormer bay, projecting 2 story corner bay, paired windows.
9. Post Office (140 Broad Street): 1931, Georgian Revival, brick, 1-1/2 story, flat hipped roof, open three-bay colonnade.
10. Farwell Building (139 Broad St.): c. 1830, Greek Revival, brick, 2 story shoe shop, gable end to street, remodeled to house c. 1870 with added 2 story bay
11. House (137 Broad St): c. 1830, (Greek Revival, brick, 2 story with added gambrel roof and dormers c. 1910, site of Town Clerk's Office, 1851.
12. Office (131 Broad St.): c. 1950, Neo-Colonial Revival, 1 story and half gambrel attic.
13. American Legion (119 Broad St.): c. 1950, Modern, brick cube.
14. Heywood House (107 Broad St.): c. 1860, Greek Revival, bracketed cornice, clapboard, 2 story with rear ell, added front porch 20th c.
15. [See below]
16. Brown's Block (cor. Tremont and Pleasant): Greek Revival, brick, 2 story with granite blocks between stories, granite lintels.
17. Store (10 Pleasant St.): c. 1890, brick, 2-story in-fill with c. 1920 added windows and storefront.
18. Store (12 Pleasant St.): c.1920, wood, 2 story narrow infill.
19. Stowell Block (18-24 Pleasant St.); c. 1895, Commercial, 2 story, yellow brick facade with brownstone window sills, modern storefronts.
20. Store (26-32 Pleasant St.): c. 1940, 12 story, brick, replacement.
21. Rand's Block (34-42 Pleasant St.): 1871, Second Empire, 4 story, brick, nearly vertical mansard roof with deep cornice, cast iron columns in store fronts .
22. Store (44-46 Pleasant St.): c. 1890, 2 story, brick with wooden facade.
23. [See below]
24. Goddard Block (54-62 Pleasant St.): 1926, 3 story, brick and cast concrete.
25. Store (64-66 Pleasant St.): c. 1930, 3 story, brick with cast concrete identical to Goddard Block.
26. Store (68-72 Pleasant St.): c. 1930's, 3 story, brick with marble decorative panels and trim.
27. Congregational Church (202 Pine St.): 1835, Gothic Revival, projecting two stage wooden tower over brick walls, remodeled 1871, vestry added c. 1895.
28. [See below]
29. House (16-18 Pine St.): c. 1840's?, Greek Revival, clapboard, l story, end to street, possibly moved.
30. Store (65 Pleasant St.): c.1920, 3 story, brick with concrete.
31. Store (63 Pleasant St.): c. 1950, 2 story wood veneer.
32. Latchis Theatre (51-61 Pleasant St.): c. 1930's, 3 story, brick with cast concrete facade, classical ornamentation.
33. Store and apartment block (39-43 Pleasant St.): c. 1900, 3 story, brick, added cornice.
34. [See below]
35. Odd Fellows Block (29-35 Pleasant St.): c. 1910, Classical Revival, 3 story, brick, metal and cast concrete facade with giant older pilasters above the ground story, projecting corner bays, original cornice missing.
36. Hunton Block (15-25 Pleasant St.): 1890-92, 3 story brick and granite with minor window alterations 2nd story, altered shopfronts.
37. Union Block (2-7 Pleasant St., cor. Tremont Sq.): 1888-89, Queen Anne commercial design, 3 story, brick with brownstone and terra cotta trim intact above storefronts, missing cornice.
38. Maynard Block (4-8 Sullivan St.): 1899-1900, Classical Revival, 2 story, brick, modillioned cornice, 3 triple sided window bays, upper story with neo-classical ornamentation.
39. Indian Head Bank (14 Sullivan St.): 1963, modern, brick, 1 story.
40. United Methodist Church (23-25 Sullivan St.): 1929, Late Gothic Revival, rubble masonry and cast concrete, corner tower, assymetrical plan.
41. Eagle Times (19-21 Sullivan St.): c. 1920, Classical Revival, brick, 2 story.
42. Bailey Block (1-7 Sullivan St., Cor. Tremont Sq. and Main): 1826, originally 2 story brick silversmith's shop, 3rd story added 1878 as Fiske Free Library, 5 sided plan defines western edge of Tremont Sq.
43. Shop/Apartments (14-18 Main St.): c. 1900, brick, 3 story, altered shop fronts.
44. Shop/Apartment (22-28 Main St., cor Franklin): c. 1905, clapboarded, 3 story, altered fenestration.
45. Tumble Inn Diner (1 Main St.): c. 1930, serial 778, Worcester (Mass.) Diner Co., 1 story, metal diner in original condition.
46. Hotel Claremont (18-34 Tremont Square): 1890-92, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival, 3 original stories with 4th added after 1895 with towered stacks and Flemish balustrade of central pavilion replacing original large gable similar to that above east corner. West tower capped by bell-shaped cupola, shingle style porch west end.
47. Store (36-38 Tremont Sq.): c. 1880, Victorian Gothic, 2 story, brick, painted windows and elaborate corbeled brickwork cornice, paneled pinnacles, remnant of iron crest rail.
48. Dickinson Block (40-44 Tremont Sq.): c. 1896-1900, 3 story, brick with granite beltcourses and lintels, decorative corbeled brick cornice of local vernacular design.
49. Fisher Block (6-8 Tremont Sq.): c. 1855, 2 story brick with granite pier and lintel storefronts, bracketed cornice.
50. Perry's Block (8-18 Tremont Sq.): c. 1857?, brick, 3 story, upper stories possibly added c. 1884 for Masonic Hall, site of 1850-60 cigar manufactory.
51. Store (20-26 Tremont Sq.): 1899-1904, 3 story, brick, with granite belt course and lintels 2nd story, decorative corbeled brick cornice.
52. Rossiter's Block (26-28 Tremont Sq.): c. 1850, 4 story, brick lower two story with brownstone lintels, upper clapboarded 2 stories added c. 1900.
53. Farwell Block (46-52 Tremont Sq.): 1854, 2 and 3 story, brick with granite piers and lintel shopfronts, missing cornice.
54. [Not used]
55. Claremont National Bank (58 Tremont Sq.): 1876, 2-1/2 story, brick and granite late Victorian Gothic, remodeled c. 1930 with Colonial Revival details.
56. Tremont Square: open space, lined with a continuous wall of masonry commercial and civic buildings, site of the 1800 Tremont House hotel (burned 1879), a larger square created 1890's by the siting of the Claremont Hotel and City Hall.
Nonconforming intrusions detracting from the integrity of the district:
15. Moody's Barber Shop (103 Broad St.): c. 1960, 1 story brick, shed roof.
23. Marson's Dept. Store (50 Pleasant St.) c. 1950, 1 story, brick and plate glass .
28. Bakery Thrift Shop (Pine St.): c. 1920, 1 story outbuilding remodeled with pyramid roof and cantilevered front canopy c. 1950's.
34. Shop (35 Pleasant St.): c. 1920, 1-1/2 story in-fill between larger structures.
Although architectural and historical research have been completed within the survey area, no archeological investigation has been accomplished. The City of Claremont plans, however, to explore its archeological site potential through the Archeological Resource Center at the University of New Hampshire.
The Multiple Resource Survey of downtown and Lower Village was directed by Dr. Richard M. Candee, a cultural and architectural historian and adjunct Assistant Professor of the Historic Preservation Program in the American and New England Studies Program, Boston University. Mr. Stephen J. Roper, architectural historian, Ph.D. candidate in Fine Arts at Boston University, with wide survey experience with the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission prepared the accompanying maps from the field investigation conducted with Miss Nancy Stack, a city planner with the Northampton, Mass. Planning Department. Miss Stack is a graduate of Harvard University in city planning and an experienced cultural resources surveyor. This team delineated the bounds of the survey area, excluding several nearby residential neighborhoods to be locally surveyed, to conform to the City Center Revitalization Objectives for the municipal, commercial and Lower Village areas. Major topographic features and the physical survival of evidence of first phase of industrialization were used to determine the exact boundaries for the Lower Village survey area. Existing National Register nomination boundaries for the Monadnock Mills, and the concentration of commercial and municipal properties determined the bounds of the Downtown Historic District.
Survey criteria: All existing buildings and structures were surveyed within the area and mapped on two sheets: the proposed downtown historic district and the Lower Village area. Inventory sheet numbers refer directly to one of these maps. Each property was evaluated and keyed to four categories of significance based on their integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association with the social, economic and cultural pattern of the city's historical development. "Outstanding" buildings or sites embody high architectural values, are often the product of architects or locally important master builders, occupy prominent position, and retain a high proportion of exterior physical integrity. Only the buildings or complexes in this category within the Lower Village survey area have been included in this nomination. "Moderate" represents properties of lesser architectural value or structures where a significant alteration has destroyed some of its integrity, but which contributes to the sense of time and place. "Minor" indicates buildings of all periods which might not meet the above criteria individually, but which contribute to the overall character of their location. "None Known" is used to designate visual intrusions, primarily of 20th c. origin, for which neither architectural nor historical significance can be found.
It is foreseen that individual structures in the category of "moderate" significance may be upgraded on the basis of future research or that the whole Lower Village survey area might appropriately constitute a new category of National Register listing as a neighborhood for conservation purposes at some later date. The survey results are designed to help implement these potential changes by providing a planning tool identifying the above-ground resources meeting existing criteria.
The historic resources of the Claremont downtown and Lower Village survey area represent a significant sequence of industrial, commercial, institutional and residential development from 1830 to 1930. Two important periods of development-the first beginning with the formation of the Claremont Manufacturing Company in 1832, and the second beginning in the 1880's with industrial and commercial revitalization, - both were the product of conscious entrepreneurial real estate development by groups of locally prominent citizens.
Although the layout of the municipal center of Claremont at "The Plain" around the town common, or Broad Street Park, derives from the location of a meeting house, school, and cemetery there between 1791 and 1797, the transformation of Claremont from a typical New England village center to an industrial city began with the expanded use of water power of the Sugar River, a fall of 130 feet supplied by Lake Sunapee, with sites for up to nine dams. In 1832 the Claremont Manufacturing Company was chartered with a capitalization of $100,000 with which its local investors purchased 15 acres of land encompassing most of the Lower Village survey area from Sullivan Street to the Sugar River, as well as "four of the most valuable water falls in the village." The company and its directors, as individuals, engaged in widespread real estate speculation and development, laying out Central, Main and River Streets. The construction of a stone factory for the manufacture of satinnet and paper, with associated houses and stores, led to the creation in 1836 of a second corporation (The Upper Falls Company) by wealthy citizens of the older settlement fearful that the town's center would shift to the rapidly growing Lower Village. This latter attempt at industrial development evolved into the Monadnock Mills Company in 1843, an historic district earlier nominated to the National Register which adjoins both the downtown and Lower Village survey area. While the Claremont Company branched out into printing, under the direction of its agent Simeon Ide, financial reverses during the depression of 1837 led the firm to sell off certain of its water power sites to several new industries which erected specialized mills or factories along the river over the next three decades.
While commercial activity in the town surrounded Tremont Square with livery stables and a number of individual business blocks by the Civil War, the rebuilding of this commercial area was, in part, the consequence of a voluntary organization established in 1888 as the Claremont Business Association. Through its committees on Retail Trade, Railroads and Transportation, Streets and Buildings, its members advanced specific non-governmental plans for the "advancement of the business prosperity" of the city. While many of its officers and members erected their own business blocks around the square along Pleasant Street, the Association was directly responsible for the erection in 1890-91 of the Hotel Claremont which terminates the vistas of the main avenues as the northern wall of the Square. In 1896 the Claremont City Hall and Opera House replaced the earlier town meeting house, followed in the early twentieth century with the relocated Fiske Free Library and the city Fire Station along Broad Street. These public improvements were paralleled along Pleasant Street by new large scale commercial blocks which completed the solid streetscape initiated in the preceding decades.
Simultaneously with the redevelopment of the downtown and civic area, the manufacturing sites along the Sugar River entered a second phase of new construction. Like the commercial enterprises, much of this was accomplished by members or officers of the Claremont Business Association and its Committee on.Power and Manufactories. Its Vice President during its formative years was the Treasurer of the Sullivan Machinery Company, which replaced its earlier wooden structures in 1888-1890 with the first of several large brick shops. It was to the Association that C.U. Washburn proposed to relocate his shoe manufactory from Natick, Massachusetts in 1897 in return for local investment in "suitable factory accommodations" such as were soon erected on the site of the earlier Claremont Manufacturing stone factory. These new industries, as well as a woodworking firm in Lower Village that supplied the fine interior finish and stair cases for many of the commercial and public buildings at the turn of the century, generated corporate and speculative house construction for an increasingly immigrant labor market which marked their presence in Lower Village by a Roman Catholic church and parochial school along Central Street.
Areas of Significance and examples of buildings or structures related to each are cited b), map number (LV for Lower Village Survey Area and D for the Downtown Historic District Map) and their historic name and construction date(s):
Among the churches in Claremont, the following are each noteworthy for their architectural contribution:
D-5 Universalist Church of the Living Word, 1832, remodeled 1883.
Other structures outstanding for their architecture tend to fall into two groups. One is a number of Greek Revival commercial and domestic structures including:
D-10 G. N. Farwell shoe shop, c. 1830.
The second group surrounds Tremont Square, forming its major walls or corners. While several date from the 1830-70 period, and are excellent examples of commercial design of that period, the major elements are the product of post-1880 architectural resurgence in Claremont.
D-42 Bailey Block, c. 1836; remodeled 1878 for Fiske Free Library.
LV-62 Parmelee Building (Claremont Bookstore), 1835.
LV-73 Clement & Rossiter Store (Claremont Mfg. Co. Office), 1832-4.
A unique contribution to the industrial resources of Claremont is Simeon Ide's printing shop, a round brick structure of two stories (LV46e) built in 1859. Now part of a larger industrial complex, its adjoining buildings were built by the firm of Freeman & O'Neill, manufacturers of stairs and architectural woodwork. In the 1883-4 brick woodworking shop (LV46b) were constructed much of the interior finish for the largest commercial and public buildings in the city, including the Claremont Hotel and the Opera House.
The Sullivan Machinery Company complex (LV-116 a-g) contains the most significant industrial buildings in the survey area of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century resurgence in manufacturing. The earliest sections (IV-116 c and d) built 1888-90 and remodeled after 1904 were the product of a merger of the earlier company with a Chicago firm for the manufacture of diamond drills and mining equipment. Later additions continue the scale of the first buildings with the changing vocabulary of early twentieth century building technology.
The Sugar River Mill (LV-50), designed by the engineer John Tyler 2nd, was erected in two stages. The first, a large brick Greek Revival grist mill was built in 1855. It was powered by eleven patented "Tyler Water Wheels" invented by the engineer, President of the Sugar River Paper Mill outside the survey area. The entire mechanical system was laid out by Tyler for eight run of stone and four flouring bolts, enabling the company to produce 10,000 bbls of flour a year. In 1866 a sawmill, of timber framed construction was added to the building.
D-6 Public Library (Carnegie type), H.M. Francis & Sons, Fitchburg, Mass., architects, 1903.
Two major preservation efforts to restore and rehabilitate the city's cultural resources are currently underway. The City of Claremont is restoring the City Hall and Opera House, combining EDA and other funding tools. In the past year, too, the Hotel Claremont (Moody Building) has undergone adaptive use rehabilitation converting the first floor to a bank, and is still in the process of converting upper story rooms to offices. The conversion has proceeded along conservative lines, retaining original interior woodwork, tin ceilings, and other prominent architectural elements. The survey of the Multiple Resource Area itself is another preservation activity, in this case sponsored by public and private interests, setting planning objectives for the revitalization of the commercial and industrial sections of the city.
The choice of combining the downtown historic district and the identification of significant sites in Lower Village was dictated by the criteria for nomination to the National Register. The civic and commercial properties of the downtown form a self-identifying district of compatible architectural qualities, sharing a common historical evolution, with only minor intrusion. Lower Village, on the other hand, contains a variety of commercial, industrial and residential buildings the most outstanding of which are separated by others of moderate, minor or no known significance. It was determined here that the identification of all the resources in this survey area would provide a planning tool for the preservation of its major features. The survey excludes the one adjoining cemetery from its bounds, but does include several church owned properties for their architectural and historic associational value as noted on the individual inventory forms. Those properties within the boundaries of the historic district have been considered as integral parts of that district by virtue of the important role church location played in the earliest period of the town's development.
The results of this survey will be integrated with several other demographic surveys being conducted locally, and the results of the architectural and historical survey delivered to the N.H. State Preservation Office for potential use in environmental review, grant-in-aid funding, and evaluation of certification for Tax Act incentives. This is the first step for a comprehensive plan for the future development of Claremont.
Flanders, Louis W., Simeon Ide; Yeoman, Freeman, Pioneer Printer. Rutland, Vt.: The Tuttle Co., 1931.
Ide, Simeon, The Industries of Claremont, New Hampshire, Past and Present, Claremont: Claremont Manufacturing Co., 1879.
Waite, Otis F.R., History of the Town of Claremont, New Hampshire. Manchester: J.B. Clarke Co ., 1895.
Records of the Claremont Business Association, C.B. Spofford, Secretary. 1 MS vol. (1888-1897), N.H. Historical Society Collections.
Claremont Advocate, Claremont, N.H., 1895-1910.
Northern Advocate, Claremont, N.H. 1849-1895.
"Map of Claremont. 1828 Original map in Selectmen's room. This copy made by Lee A. Knights, Dec. 31, 1910"
A Map of Claremont Village N.H. by Henry Coolidge Sept. 9, 1833.
Map of the Town of Claremont, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. Henry F. Walling, C.E. Published by Young & Brewster 1851
Topographical Map of the County of Sullivan, New Hampshire H. F. Walling C. E. 1860. Smith & Morley Publishers, N.Y.
Map of the Village of Claremont, New Hampshire by Sanford & Everts, Phila. 1873
Village of Claremont N.H. February 1905 J.L. Mann C.E.
Map of Claremont Sullivan County, New Hampshire by Balcom & Stebbins. April 1913
Claremont, N.H. (Insurance Maps), Sanborn Map and Publishing Co., 1884, 1899, 1904, 1925/63
DATE ENTERED: February 21, 1978.
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