Located in Washington, NH, the Shedd Free Library is the only Victorian Gothic building in town, and packs a punch for its small size. The library was named for Sarah Shedd, a Washington teacher and poet who went to work in the cotton mills of Lowell, Massachusetts to support her family and educate her siblings. When she died in 1867 she bequeathed $2,500 to her hometown to establish a free public library, an amazing gift! The gift did not appear to be enough as nothing was built until 1881, after Boston architect S. S. Woodcock was selected by Luman T. Jefts, a wealthy shoe manufacturer in Massachusetts, to design the library after a gift to his hometown.
While many buildings around the Town Green in Washington, NH are wood-frame construction, some brick buildings stand out. This brick building was constructed in the early 19th century, possibly as a single-family home. The building had commercial use after the Civil War, when Benjamin Muzzey ran a store out of the building with a business partner. After successive owners and uses, Pearl Young leased it around 1920. Pearl saw the use of automobiles growing and had gasoline pumps installed, turning the old brick store into a gas station. Pearl and Mary Young operated a successful a store and post office here for over 30 years before closing up shop. The brick building has since reverted back to a residence.
In December 1824, a law was passed by the New Hampshire Legislature removing the of the Supreme Court of Judicature from Charlestown, New Hampshire to Newport, which was located at the convergence of multiple stagecoach lines along the Sugar River. Soon after, Sullivan County was formed from the northern part of Cheshire County. At a meeting held January 13, 1825 the town of Newport voted to raise $2,000.00 to assist in building a courthouse and town hall, in the center of town. The building was erected in 1826 with the Newport Town Hall on the first floor and County Courthouse on the second. The building continued to be used as a court as well as social purposes until 1872, when it was deeded to the Town of Newport. Since then, the structure was used as a school and grange hall, and it now is home to a restaurant, appropriately called “The Old Courthouse”. The 1826 building is an excellent example of vernacular Federal style architecture.
Located on the east side of the Town Common in Newport, NH, the Parmelee house stands out as a unique vernacular Stick style home. The home was built for Joseph Warren Parmelee (1818-1892), the grandson of original settlers of town, Captain Ezra Parmelee and Sybil Hill. He began his adult life as a merchant in Newport, before moving south to Charlestown, South Carolina in 1847. Joseph was forced back north at the beginning of the Civil War, and he lived in New York City until he finally relocated back to his hometown in 1879, which is likely when he built this home for his family. Upon returning, he became active in town affairs, and also pursued interests in history and poetry, creating a book of poems from his home. The Parmelee house retains much of its original detailing from the decorative bargeboards at the gable ends, large eyebrow window hoods at the second floor, and the interesting trapezoidal roof, possibly a vernacular nod to a mansard roof.
Designed by Boston architect, James Templeton Kelley, the Richards Free Library (originally the Seth Richards House) is an outstanding example of the Colonial Revival style, in a region where such expressions of opulence are relatively rare. Located on Main Street in Newport, NH, the house was built during a period of great prosperity by one of Newport’s wealthiest citizens. Richards was one of the few in the area able to afford the services of a metropolitan architect for his own home. The family occupied the home until the 1960s when Louise Richards Rollins, offered the family home on Main Street for the to the town for use as a library in 1962. The first floor rooms were renovated and equipped as a library and Ms. Rollins continued to live on the second floor of the library until her death.
The Frederick W. Lewis Mansion in Newport, New Hampshire is a unique, late-Second Empire home constructed of brick. The home was built in 1876 for Frederick W. Lewis, a merchant who climbed the ranks as a young man, eventually purchasing the store he worked at as a 14-year-old. In 1862, he became cashier of the Sugar River Bank, and held the position until 1865, when the bank was re-organized as a national bank, taking the name of “The First National Bank of Newport.” He then leveraged his position to get into local politics, and took an active role in the development of the town, even incentivizing the railroad to build a stop in town. From this wealth and position, he built this large home. After his death, the home went to his son. By the 1940s, a group of over 30 residents of town purchased the home as a Veteran’s Home. By the end of the 20th century, the home was occupied by the Newport Earth Institute, a school created by esoteric historian and researcher Reverend Vincent Bridges, who died in 2014. The property appears to be vacant now and the home is in much need of some TLC.