Benjamin Mathes built this stone home around 1835 for his family, of the same stone he used to build a store across the street. The Federal/Greek Revival building has amazing granite quoins (stone blocks at the corners) and lintels (blocks above the windows). Even though there are later alterations, including the bracketed door hood and massive central dormer at the roof, the home remains one of the most visually stunning buildings in town.
Originally an old tavern/inn, this wood-frame building in Newmarket, NH, was built for a member of the Rundlett Family who settled in town from nearby Portsmouth. The old building was known as Rundlett’s Tavern for a number of years, later renamed the Washington House, and eventually Silver’s Hotel by 1870. Under owner Joseph B. Silver, the Federal style building was updated with Victorian-era flair, marketing to visitors of town who had business with the Newmarket Manufacturing Company across the street. After Silver died in 1898, the building was purchased by George H. Willey and renamed the Willey Hotel/Willey House. He oversaw renovations in the 1920s to give it the Colonial Revival appearance we see today. The building is now apartments.
In 1823, the Newmarket Manufacturing Company built its first mill along the Lamprey River, dominating the waterfront and the economy of Newmarket, New Hampshire. Harnessing water power at the base of the falls, the cotton textile manufacturing community grew to include seven textile mills, with factory buildings, a machine shop, office, storage buildings, and corporate boarding houses; totaling some 140 buildings in all. During its peak production, 700 employees made up to 300,000 yards of cotton products each week, and 2.7 million yards of silk cloth each year. The mills operated continuously at this site until 1929 when a dispute between mill owners and workers erupted leading to their closure. Between 2010 and 2012, eight large mill buildings within the Newmarket Manufacturing Company property underwent a conversion to mixed use, including residential, retail, and office units, thanks to Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and many professionals who worked together with the vision to see such a large project through. Today, the complex is a excellent case-study on the power of adaptive reuse and historic preservation.
Arguably the cutest little store in Newmarket is the Murray Store, right on the town’s vibrant Main Street. The brick building is one of the earliest such structures on the street and is a great example of a narrow Federal style building with a lunette in the gable end. The structure was built before 1830 and was occupied by a Ms. Charlotte Murray as a millinery (women’s hat store). Main Street USA! What is your favorite Main Street in New England?
On Doe’s Neck (now Moody Point) in Newmarket, NH, a peninsula at the terminus of the Lamprey River where it meets the Great Bay, has long been a highly desired and contested piece of land. Towards the end of the 17th century, the land here was owned by the Doe Family, who built a Garrison House here. The house was used as a defensive structure to protect those living nearby from Native American attack. The Doe family resided here until after the Revolutionary War. The saltbox building was later altered with full-length porches by later owners, to take advantage of water views. By the Great Depression, the garrison house was suffering from severe neglect, but before it was demolished, it was documented as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).
In 1852, the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, who operated a massive mill complex along the Lamprey River in Newmarket, realized the need of adequate fire service to protect their investments and goods. They leased land on Main Street to the town and funded a new fire station, providing engines as well that could be pulled by horse to fires in town. The old station is a surviving landmark in town and retains much of its architectural integrity.
Perched high on a hill, next to the Stone Church (featured previously), the old Stone School in Newmarket is one of a handful of iconic stone buildings in the town. Built in 1841, its stonework executed by William and Robert Channel, local farmers and stonemasons, who likely got their skill from building stone walls on farms. The building was used continuously as a school until 1966, when it was given to the Newmarket Historical Society, which now operates it as a local history museum.
Next door to the Mathes Block (previously featured) this stone commercial building is one of many such buildings that make Newmarket so beautiful and unique. Stone was harvested from the shores of the Lamprey River nearby and the beautiful coloring made them perfect for buildings in town. This building was constructed in the 1830s for Benjamin Mathes, a developer and businessman in town. The structure was occupied by the town post office in the early years, and now houses a restaurant.
Erected in 1832, the iconic Stone Church building in Newmarket, NH, first served as a Universalist Meeting House before shifting to Unitarian twenty years later. In 1865, it was sold to the Roman Catholic Church, thus establishing the first Catholic Church in Newmarket, NH. In 1890, the congregation moved down to Main Street into a new church next to the town hall, and the Catholics then used the Stone Church as a school for teaching French to children, likely due to the influx of French-Canadian immigrants working at the mills in town at the time. After use as a church, the building was used as a roller-skating rink, playhouse, and VFW hall. In the 1950s, The Newmarket Heel Factory inhabited the building, a shoe manufacturing company. In 1968 the building was ravaged by a fire, and according to legend, the firefighters were reluctant to break the historic windows of the church to vent the fire. In 1970, the building was sold to two UNH students and another, who planned to open a coffee house, but quickly realized they couldn’t sell enough coffee to pay the bills. They decided to sell beer, but weren’t old enough to drink…legally. So one of the boy’s mom’s got the liquor license in her name. Since then, the Stone Church has been one of the most important cultural institutions in the state, providing arts and music space for local musicians and artists to gather and share ideas, over beer. What could be better?!
Right on Main Street in Newmarket, the Mathes Block is one of the best-preserved examples of a brick commercial building in town. The structure was seemingly built for Benjamin W. Mathes, who operated a grocery and dry goods store out of the storefronts. Above, he likely had offices or a dwelling for workers. The building stands out for the contrast of granite at the storefront with the brick elsewhere. The building is now home to The Riverworks, an aptly named restaurant/pub with great food.