Historic Home Tour

Last Saturday, I (and 100+ other people) took the New Boston Historical Home Tour.  I’d been looking forward to this event for months!  After a very rainy week, the sun was shining and the weather was perfect for all the people taking the tour and all the homeowners graciously opening their homes.

The tour was self-guided, with the Historical Society providing maps for the day’s fun, so I decided to start with the home furthest from the center of town.  It was located down a quiet country road lined with tall trees.  The sun was peeking between the leaves and the breeze was rustling them above my head…a most beautiful day.

No photography was allowed inside any of the homes, but outside photographs were permitted.  I think this may have been my favorite home on the tour, mostly because of its quiet, rural location.  The house has been added onto over the years, with the original part of the home (closet to you in this picture) built in 1740.  The home featured pumpkin pine wainscoting, original beams, and some really beautiful antiques.

The home was surrounded by extensive land.  The first cutting of hay has been brought in for the summer, and their fields were so lovely.

The second home on the tour was one I’ve long admired, a brick federal built in 1850 and once the home of a prosperous farmer.

The interior was decorated in an elegant English way, as the woman who lived there (and who, sadly, passed away recently) was from England.  The house is known as a “two over two”, meaning that on either side of the entry there are two rooms, a living room and a dining room, and above them are two bedrooms.  That would be the original house, although this one has been built onto in the rear, so it’s much larger than that now.

The homeowners tackled a different landscaping project each year, and the beautiful grounds certainly showed that love and care.  This is looking back at the house addition (furthest in this picture), at the carriage barn (to the left), and at the barn (on the right).

The bottom of the barn was filled with firewood.  There are a lot of fireplaces in that house!

On the other side of the barn was a horse shoe pit.  Fun!  I’ve got plans for Max to build us something similiar (or simpler) this summer.  And on the wall of the barn was a score-keeping device.

There was a large, and beautiful cascading waterfall (which didn’t photograph very well) that emptied into this pond.

The third house I visited has also been added onto over time.  The original part, a center chimney colonial, was built in 1748 by a founder of New Boston.  And the back portion appears to be more Victorian.  The kitchen inside was remodeled, but they retained a fabulous wall of Shaker cabinetry.

The property’s barn and (to the right) their vegetable garden.

One of the homeowners saw me admiring the barn and came over to talk to me.  We had quite a lengthy conversation, and he was just as sweet as could be (that’s him in the hat in the photo below).  The other building on the property is this “workshop”, housing his woodworking tools.  I was told that a doctor lived in the main house once and used to practice medicine out of this small building.  His patients would live with him and work on his farm to pay off their medical debts.

After eating the delicious box lunch that I purchased with my tour, I moved on to the fourth house.  This one is located in the center of town and used to be a water-powered grist mill.  It’s been a family residence since 1963.  The original mechanisms for the mill are still intact.  And the original millstone sits where it always has, in what is now the kitchen of the home.

The back view of the home.  This wall was once part of a dam that stretched across the river that runs just to the side of the house.  The dam formed a pond.  I once read that when the pond froze in the winter, people would ice skate on it.

The rear view of the grist mill home.  There used to be a wall that diverted water through those doors and under the mill, where the power of the water was used to run the mill.  Every so often, the  river runs high following a spring thaw and/or rain, and the town center floods.  The last time this happened, in 2007, the water level of the river came within just a few inches of the sub-floor of the home.  Yikes!  That would be the downside of  living in this location.  The upside?…that fabulous screened porch with its view of the river and the sound of the water rushing past.

Next was the largest home on the tour.  it was built in the early 1800′s and is a “four over four”, with four rooms on the original ground floor and four rooms above them.  The upstairs hall featured original Moses Eaton stencils dating to 1810…SO lovely!

From the side, the house is brick, and it’s easier to see how it is a “four over four”.

Whenever I drive past this beautiful, large home, I look to see if the cows are grazing in this pasture.  The cows were out today!

The smallest home on the tour was once a schoolhouse in town!  This picture shows only the schoolhouse part.  It’s difficult to see, but there’s quite a few rooms added onto this original building.  Inside, there is still the raised teacher platform, the spots on the floor where the desks were bolted down, and a few names etched into wood by naughty students.  The schoolhouse also used to have a 3-seater outhouse!

A sundial in the garden of the schoolhouse.

And last, but not least, was the oldest home in town.  It is a center chimney cape and was built in the 1740′s, before the town was incorporated.  The part to the right is original.  And the larger part, to the left, is a great room that was added in 2001.  But even that was built using the beams from an old barn in our town.  A hallway in the home shows the original clapboards to the 1740′s house!  The home also features fine fireplaces with firearms and cooking kettles.  Both this home and the one that belonged to one of the founders of our town had King’s Pine flooring.  Back when New Hampshire was a colony, representatives of the King of England would go through this land marking the tallest and straightest pine trees as “the King’s pines”.  These would be cut for the King and shipped back to England for use as ship masts.  That, seemingly unending supply of tall, straight trees helped to ensure the supremacy of England’s navy for more than a hundred years.  If these original homeowners had been caught procuring King’s pine for their personal use, they would’ve been prosecuted.  Those floors, with their 20″ wide boards, are still beautiful to this day!

The beautiful, small apple orchard on the property.

I had SO MUCH FUN on this tour, that I hope the Historical Society will do another one.  And I’m definitely interested in finding other such tours in nearby towns.

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