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Joyce Endee

Church building named to state Register of Historic Places

This building, once Stratford’s Methodist-Episcopal Church and now maintained as the Marion Blodgett Museum, is now listed on the N.H. State Register of Historic Places. Courtesy State of N. H.. (click for larger version)
May 18, 2011
STRATFORD — The church building in Stratford Hollow — now maintained as the Marion Blodgett Museum of the Cohos Historical Society — is one of 10 properties and one district recently added by the state Historic Resources Council to the N.H. State Register of Historic Places.

Stratford's Methodist-Episcopal Church was the first church building in town in 1853. In 1896, when a more modern building was desired, the frugal townspeople stripped the original building down to its frame, added a bell tower and vestibule, and created the shingle-style building that exists today.

It was used as a church through the late 1950s and became property of the Cohos Historical Society a decade ago in 2001.

Researching the building's history and then filling out the required forms took over two years, explained Cohos Society treasurer Vicki DeLalla of Stratford in a telephone interview. She and Society vice chairman Roger Couture worked together on the listing project.

DeLalla credited Couture, considered the Society's historian, with doing nearly all of the research, which included interviewing Vera Bartlett as well as Rosie Hurlbert, who has since died. "I did the paperwork," DeLalla said.

"This building has meant a lot to people in the Hollow; it was a gathering place for many years for all kinds of community events," she said. "The registration process focuses on 50 or more years ago, and we documented the building and its importance to the community, especially in the years 1879 to 1961."

The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the N. H. Charitable Foundation granted the Society $15,000 in 2010, allowing stabilization and roofing work to be done on the steeple as well as replacing some rotting sills and other work on the building's foundation, DeLalla reported. Tim Brooks of Stratford wrote the grant, and his effort allowed the Society to tap into one of the North Country's great resources, she said.

According to a press release sent out by the State Division of Historical Resources, the State Register has helped to promote the significance of many of the state's historic properties.

Benefits of being listed on the State Register include: special consideration and relief from some building codes and regulations; qualifying for grant programs, including Conservation License "Moose" Plate grants and state Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grants; plus acknowledgment of a property's historical significance in the community.

The other recent additions to the State Register of Historic Places are: the Enfield Village Historic District, which is an excellent example of a Connecticut River Valley village center; the Norman and Marion Perry House in Campton that was designed in 1960 by Hugh Stebbins; the Rumford House in Franklin that was originally constructed circa 1732 in Concord and moved in 1925 to Franklin; the two-room Freedom Village Grammar School, built in 1895; the 1904 Ossipee Mountain Grange Hall; the Goss Farm Barn in Rye; the Salem Depot, built in 1867; and Salem's District No. 5 Schoolhouse that was moved to the Salem Historical Society's grounds; the Sandown Depot Railroad Station, built in 1874; and the Lee Webster Place on Mountain Road in Sandwich that illustrates the area's longtime agricultural character.

Anyone wishing to nominate a property to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places must research the history of the nominated property and document it fully on individual inventory forms of the state Division of Historical Resources. Having a property listed in the Register does not impose restrictions on private property owners. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/nhdhr.

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