Claremont Multiple Resources: Lower Village Historic District

Site: N07-26
: Claremont, NH
: Downtown Claremont
Site Type
: Historic District
: (Zone 18) [Order unclear] 714692/4806014. 714717/4805970. 715592/4805864. 715692/4805664.
National Register Nomination Information:


The Lower Village survey area west of the historic district was initially created by industrial development and accompanying land speculation in the 1830's. Three east-west streets were laid out. Main Street linked the downtown area on the plains with the lower bridge (formerly approached via Sullivan and Union Streets). Around the bridge numerous industrial and commercial sites were developed over the next three decades, while both private and industrial housing lined Main Street to the east and west. River Street parallels the Sugar River north of the bridge to Pearl Street and originally served the Claremont Manufacturing Company factories and housing. On a ridge overlooking the developing Lower Village were built private residences along Central Street, including a series of fine Greek Revival brick homes with temple-style porticoes. A Baptist Church early occupied the junction of Main and Central Streets, between the factories and the earlier town center.

Large scale industrial rebuilding of Lower Village began in the 1880's and continued into the first two decades of the 20th century. Most conspicuous of this second phase of construction is the Sullivan Manufacturing Company along Main Street below the Monadnock Mills Historic District with which it shares a common, continuous 4 story masonry facade. Across the lower bridge, the erection of the Freeman and O'Neil Company woodworking shops after 1883 parallels the redevelopment of earlier industrial sites. Throughout Lower Village replacement of earlier structures occurred as new industrial and commercial tenements were built to accommodate a new work force. Symbolic of the changing demography of Lower Village is the erection of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church on Central Street and the renovation of the row of Greek Revival homes as St. Mary's School during this period.

Individual Cultural Resources in the Lower Village Survey Area:

LV Map & Survey No. and Description:

6. Aaron Hanson House (201-3 Main St.): 1834, Greek Revival, clapboard, gable end entrance recessed with paired Doric columns In antis, rear ell and attached carriage shed.

7. House with store? (195 Main St.): c. 1830's, 2-1/2 story brick building, gable end to street, possibly site of Aaron Haven store, recent additions.

15. House (208 Main St.): c. 1830, 2-1/2 story, brick, end chimneys and center entrance with side-lights.

34. Simeon Heywood Store (170 Main St.): c. 1835, Greek Revival, brick, 2-1/2 story, gable end to street with full porch under gable.

46. Simeon Ide/Freeman & O'Neil industrial complex (169 Main St.): e.) 1859, round brick, 2 story, granite window trim, projecting brick cornice and flat roof, built for printing plant. b.) 1883-4, brick, 2 story, Late Victorian corbelled cornice on facade. a, c, f.) 1883-89, 12 and 2 story wooden shop, shed and storehouse. d.) date unknown, 3 story, possibly containing part of 19th century wheelhouse.

50. Sugar River Mill (159 Main St.): 1855, Greek Revival, brick, 3 story grist mill, granite lintels, end chimneys, central bay contains doors at each floor and a dormer with door and hoist above. 1866, Sawmill, wooden frame and clapboard, 1-1/2 stories.

62. Parmelee Bldg./Claremont Bookstore (139-147): 1835, Greek Revival, brick, 3-1/2 story, double commercial building, with party walls, stepped gables, granite lintels.

63. Tontine Building (133 Main Street): 1833-34, Greek Revival/Late Federal, brick, 2 story, granite lintels, end chimneys, added late 19th c. dormers, 20th century rear addition.

71. Claremont Mfg. Co. Tenement (99-101 Main St.): 1832-33, stone, 2 story double tenement, 1 story commercial addition in 20th century.

73. Clement & Rossiter Store/Claremont Mfg. Co. Office (40 Union St.): 1832-4, Greek Revival, brick, 2-1/2 stories, recessed porch under elliptical arch in end gable, end balcony, 1 story additions.

84. Double House (24-26 Union St.): c. 1830's, Greek Revival/Late Federal, brick, 2 story, alteration of fenestration in 20th c., probably built for Claremont Mfg. Co.

95. P.C. Wallingford House (45-57 Central St.): 1857-60, Greek Revival, 12 story cottage, clapboarded with heavy corner pilasters, bracketed cornice, cruciform plan.

97. Brickett House (39 Central Street): c. 1840, Greek Revival, brick, 2-1/2 story, continuous cornice across gable end, with large metope details, side hall plan with original front porch.

108. Charles Putnam House (36 Central St.): 1835-36

109. Simeon Ide House (20 Central St.): 1835-56.

110. Ormand Dutton House (16 Central St.): 1835-56. Three of (originally) four temple form Greek Revival brick houses, 2 story, full 4 column Doric portico, recessed side entry, each with later additions and minor exterior alterations.

112. First Baptist Church (cor. Main & Central St.): 1833-34, Greek Revival, brick, gable end to street, remodeled 1872-3 with vestibule, tower, added chapel.

114. House (35 Central St.): c. 1835-36, Greek Revival, Brick, end to street with full 3 columned Doric portico.

116. Sullivan Machine Company (Main St.): 1888-90 through 1925 c, d): office and machine shop 1888-90, brick, originally 3 story, with added story after 1904, brick piers flush with corner towers. b). 1893, brick, 3 story,large windows between piers. a). 1913-25, reinforced concrete addition to 116b.

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 resources of the survey area are several buildings of outstanding architectural merit in a variety of 19th century styles. While many were the work of local contractor architects who built and remodeled within an active vernacular tradition, others were the products of trained architects from Boston, New York City, and elsewhere, commissioned after design competitions. Most prominent among the former group of local designers is Hira Beckwith, a member of the Claremont Business Association Committee on Buildings, who competed unsuccessfully for the design of Hotel Claremont but who acted as architect for the 1883 remodeling of the Universalist Church (D5) and the design of 1890-2 Hunton Block (D36). Undoubtedly, many other public and commercial structures for whom no designer is known could be attributed to his hand .

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.
D-27 Congregational Church, 1835, remodeled 1871.
LV-112 First Baptist Church, 1833-4, remodeled 1872-3 and c. 1960.
D-40 United Methodist Church, 1929.
S-7 Trinity Episcopal Church, Wills & Dudley of N.Y.C.architects, Washburn & Nichols, Albany, N.Y., builders, 1852-3.

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.
LV-73 Claremont Mfg. Co. Office (Rossiter & Clement Store) 1832-34.
LV-108 Charles L. Putnam House, 1835-6.
LV-109 Simeon Ide House, 1835-6.
LV-110 Ormand Dutton House, 1835-6.
LV-114 35 Central Street,c. 1836-40.
LV-97 39 Central Street,c. 1840.
LV-34 Heywood Store, c. 1835.

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.
D-49 Fisher Block, c. 1870.
D-47 36-38 Tremont Sq., c.1880.
D-37 Union Block, 1888-89.
D-45 Hotel Claremont (Moody Building), William Ralph Emerson of Boston, architect, 1890-92.
D-48 Dickenson Block, c. 1900.
D-2 Claremont City Hall/Opera House, Charles A. Rich of Lamb & Rich, NYC, architects, 1896 (listed on National Register).

In addition to the commercial buildings of outstanding architectural merit, there are numerous examples of commercial architecture which reflect the two phases of Claremont's growth as a retail center, including:

LV-62 Parmelee Building (Claremont Bookstore), 1835.
LV-63 Tontine Building, 1833-34.
D-53 FarwelI Block, 1854.
D-50 Perry's Block (Masonic Hall), c. 1857.
D-16 Brown's Block, 1860.
D-21 Rand's Block (Belmont Hotel), 1871.
D-35 Odd Fellows Block, c. 1910.
D-19 Stowell Block, c. 1895.
D-38 Maynard Block, c . 1899-1900.
D-24 Goddard Block, 1926.
D-30 65 Pleasant Street, c. 1920-30.
D-41 Eagle Times Building, c. 1920's.
D-32 Latchis Theatre, c. 1930-40.
D-55 Claremont National Bank, 1876, remodeled c. 1930's.

Community Planning:
Claremont exhibits three important periods of town planning. The first in the location of the town common and the laying out of Broad Street for public and institutional uses was accomplished by town government between 1791 and 1797. Broad Street Park (D-1) is the central civic open-space with its Civil War monument and a continued tradition of a bandstand since the 1890's. The second major planning effort was corporate, the subdivision of the Claremont Manufacturing Company lands which created Lower Village in the 1830's. Within a year of its founding "over sixty dwelling houses, besides a few shops and the Baptist Church were built...on the fifteen acre lot." By the end of 1834 the Company had realized a profit on its real estate sales along Main and Central Streets. The third community planning effort was the final development of Pleasant Street and Tremont Square (D-56). The loss of an earlier hostelry located in the center of what became Tremont Square provided the opportunity after 1879 to redevelop the area into a wide central plaza and provide, through the activities of the Claremont Business Association, a significant commercial hotel (D-46) along its northern edge as a focal point opposite Pleasant Street. The culmination of late 19th century design enclosing the Square was the 1896 City Hall and Opera House (D-2) which provided an important axial connection between the commercial center and the civic core of the town.

The Claremont Manufacturing Company produced paper as well as operating a printing establishment under the direction of its firs agent, Simeon Ide. While the entire Lower Village owes its development to this concern, the individual structures which survive that the company built include only: LV-73 Clement & Rossiter Store (Claremont Mfg. Co. Office), 1832-4.
LV-71 Claremont Mfg. Co. stone tenement house, 1832-3.
LV-62 Claremont Mfg. Co. Bookstore, 1835.
LV-63 Tontine Building, 1833-34.
LV-84 24-26 Union Street, c. 1830.

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.

The most significant landmark to civic government is the Claremont City Hall (D-2). In addition, there are several public buildings which contribute to the character of the area surrounding the Broad Street Park as the local governmental center. These include;

D-6 Public Library (Carnegie type), H.M. Francis & Sons, Fitchburg, Mass.,architects, 1903.
D-4 Central Fire Station, 1917.
D-9 U.S. Post Office, James A. Wetmore, Acting Supervising Architect, 1931.
D-3 Court House/Police Station, 1929.

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

FORM PREPARED BY: Dr. Richard Candee, Preservation Consultant, 109 Bow Street, Portsmouth, NH. Tel: 603-436-0333; 207-439-0578. Date: October 1, 1977.

DATE ENTERED: February 21, 1978.
(Source 27)