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June 10. 2013 5:04PM

Seven properties open for New Boston 250th tour


A grist mill, now converted into a home in historic downtown New Boston, is a feature of a house tour on Saturday to celebrate the town's 250th birthday. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

NEW BOSTON -- From a one-room school house to a four-chimneyed mansion, the history of New Boston is evident in the homes of many who live in town, and this coming weekend, seven of those homes will be open to visitors as part of the town's 250th anniversary celebration.

On Saturday, June 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., folks will get to see first-hand how some of the oldest buildings in New Boston have become homes for modern families, according to organizer Gail Parker.

"This is the first time in over 30 years that New Boston has had a house tour, so we're really excited about it," Parker said.

New Boston is currently celebrating its 250th anniversary with events planned throughout the year, and the tour highlights the community's architectural heritage while giving folks a glimpse at the town's busy past.

Parker's own home is a highlight of the tour. Sitting on the banks of the Piscataquog River is a large red building that, at first blush, looks like a house with a garage. But on closer inspection it becomes clear that the home was once something more. Stepping into the kitchen, a visitor realizes its true past.

"It started out as a gristmill," said organizer Lynette Lombard, "and the wheel is still in the kitchen."

The water-powered gristmill was built in 1803 before becoming the Merrimack Farmer's Exchange. Crisp, white lettering on the barn just across the street serves as a reminder of the building's history.

Not far from the center of town sits another home that looks quintessentially New England. It's clear that a larger space was added onto a historic building, but it's not until you turn the corner and see the older part of the building head-on that you realize you're looking at a one-room school house.

School House No. 44 started accepting pupils in 1851 and continued to educate New Boston's youngsters until 1922. In 1990, the new addition was built, but the integrity of the old school house still stands, and features a collection of books and other artifacts from its glory days.

At a stately residence across town, four chimneys rise proudly from the home built by Sidney Hills in the early 1800s, and though some modern conveniences have been added to the property, inside the stencils of Moses Eaton, dating from 1810, still adorn the walls.

There are three homes on the tour dating from the 1740s including another mill originally built by the Gregg family, a center-chimney farm house, and a Cape with a barn that has been given a modern face without losing its historic charm.

Admission to the tour is $20 per person and tickets can be purchased by visiting https://newbostonnh-rec.windigicert.com/. Tickets are also available at the Whipple Free Library and at the New Boston Recreation Department.

Boxed lunch can be purchased from the Northeast Café for $8.50 and a picnic area will be set up on the banks of the river. The tour will meet at the New Boston Historical Building.


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