Off the beaten path (like much of the town of Wilmot, NH, you can find this stunning old New England meeting house. Erected in 1829, the North Wilmot Church stands as the oldest extant church in the small town. Five denominations—Congregational, Christian Baptist, Freewill Baptist, Universalist, and Methodist, together collaborated to build this structure then known as the North Union Meeting House. Each denomination held services at the church, as they were all too small separately to warrant their own buildings. Decades after it was built, it was determined that the church should be moved down the hill. In 1846, the church was lifted and placed on rollers (logs), and with the help of oxen, rolled down the hill. It is said that the builder of the church, Josiah Stearns, rode in the belfry. The Different congregations later built churches elsewhere and the building was under-utilized, and it was converted to a meeting space, but allowed a congregation to use the structure. In 1983, with the agreement of remaining North Wilmot Congregational Church members, the North Wilmot Union Meeting House Society was established to maintain the structure and arrange for services in July and August.
Driving through the quaint village of Wilmot Center in New Hampshire, I had to pull over to snap a photo of this little library building. When I got home, I learned that the building was constructed in 1854 not as a library, but as a schoolhouse! The vernacular Greek Revival school served as one of many district schoolhouses in the region, dispersed around small towns to be within walking distance of the sparsely developed parts of the state. With population growth in the 20th century and the proliferation of the personal automobile, these small regional schools became obsolete. Many of these buildings were converted to other civic uses or as personal residences, but most were demolished. The Wilmot Public Library located in the former schoolhouse in 1972 and is now connected to the town offices next door.
At the base of Ragged Mountain, on a winding dirt road lined by towering pine trees, I came across the New Hampshire Mountain Inn. The original Cape block of the house was built in the late 18th century and operated as a farm for a family in the rural town of Wilmot, New Hampshire. By the mid-19th century, the construction of the Northern Railroad through New Hampshire, created a housing demand for railroad workers who spent long days laying rail lines, thus the beginning of this farm becoming a short-term boarding house began. The railroad line was officially abandoned by the 1990s, and later converted to a linear park with biking, walking, and snowmobile trails in various sections. After the railroad’s construction, the farm saw visitors beginning in the 1930s, drawn to the area due to the skiing opportunities in the area. Subsequent owners added onto the farmhouse numerous times, to accommodate growing flocks of skiers every season. The house features telescoping additions, similar to many historic farms in New England, but on three sides, which expanded the once small farmhouse to a modern inn. The siting of the property on a hill overlooks the distant mountains with fresh country air blowing across the sloping fields.