304 Main Street, New London NH


Current Use

  • Public library

Formerly

  • 1926 - present — Library and community center
  • 1918 - 1923 — New London Hospital
  • 1854 - 1917 — Morgan residences
  • 1848 — Peter Hersey and Jonathan Everett (November 1848)
  • 1848 — Jonathan F. Morgan, Haverhill (June 1848)
  • 1834 - 1848 — Walter P. Flanders, Esq. residence
  • 1823 - 1834 — Jonathan Everett, Jr. residence
  • 1816 — Jonathan Everett, Jr. acquires land from John Slack
  • 1793 — John Slack acquires land from proprietor Jonas Minot

Building History


Jonathan Everett, Jr. (1789-1856) acquired this land on April 8, 1816 from John Slack, a few months after marrying Apphia Burpee (1795-1869).[1] Jonathan was a saddler and harness maker, and he built this house in 1823. His shop was in the structure. An ardent abolitionist, along with his brothers, he was very involved in the Free Church, built around 1848 across Main Street on the current Kidder Building site.

On November 7, 1834, Everett sold the property to Walter P. Flanders (1805-1883) who had in September married Susan Everett Greeley (1811-1888).[2] Flanders graduated from Dartmouth in 1831, studied law with Judge Nesmith of Franklin, and was admitted to the bar the same year he acquired this property. He, too, was extremely active in the abolitionist movement, "receiving as personal guests Frederick Douglas, George Latimer, and others."[3]

In 1848 the Flanders moved to Milwaukee, selling the house and property to Jonathan P. Morgan, a shoe manufacturer from Haverhill, and exempting "said Flander's new large barn and grainery and right of Flanders to move them off any time within two years from date."[4] Three months later Flanders sold the property to Peter Hersey (minister at the Free Church) and Jonathan Everett, Jr.[5]

In 1854 Micajah Morgan (1809-1891) acquired the property.[6] By this time, his first two wives had died, and his third wife, Mary (Woodbury) Burpee, "tenderly reared the [3] children given to her care."[7] Micajah was married a fourth time in 1880 after Mary's death to Mrs. Phebe Cilley. Micajah's oldest child, Dura Pratt Morgan (1840-1892) became a Baptist minister, and in poor health, returned to the homestead with his wife Mary (Hill) Morgan in 1888. Micajah died in 1781, and Dura died here the follwing year. Dura's wife taught English and French at Colby Academy from 1892-1897. In 1893 she took in summer boarders[8] and thereafter part of the house was rented to other families. Maria died in 1917, and the property was inherited by Dura's only remaining sibling, Maria Betsey Fox. Mrs. Fox sold it to Mrs. Jane Tracy in 1917.

As Mrs. Tracy had not yet begun using the building, the New London Nurses Association approached her about using the structure for a hospital. It opened on October 1, 1918 (during the height of the influenza epipemic). It had four beds and an operating room, was lit by kerosene lamps but had no running water. The remainder of the building was rented. When the hospital moved to the Griffin Building in 1923, Mrs. Tracy, who was already involved with the library, began making plans to remake the building into a new library and community facility. She hired architect Sidney T. Strickland of the Boston firm of Blodgett and Law to design the changes. Wilbur C. Knowlton was the builder. At this time, the front entrance, which had been in the center of the building facing Pleasant St., was moved to Main Street; a kitchen, a dining area, a vault and safety deposit boxes were housed in the basement; a children's area and meeting room were placed in the second floor; and an auditorium built in what was the kitchen ell of the Morgans' time, enhanced by beams from an old barn on the Perley Farm in Springfield. A five petal design found on the old window sills was copied on the new windows and on the edge of a large table in the reading room. A two-story curved bay with windows at each level took the place of the original entrance. The building was dedicated on October 3, 1926 and called the New London Public Library.

A large barn which had been attached behind the ell had been removed during the rebuilding and was replaced with a large, terraced garden, designed by the Olmsted brothers in 1926-1927. For it, Wilbur Knowlton erected two arbors and an old-fashioned well sweep.[9]

Mrs. Tracy died in 1944, and when her estate was completely settled in 1951, the town accepted a $100,000 gift-in-trust from her estate and renamed the facility Tracy Memorial Library. As the library acquired more books, there was a need for shelving, and in 1971 the auditorium was converted to a stack room. In 1990 a major expansion of the library took place, on all three levels of the building. This included a new entrance, desk area and office, meeting room and stack room on the first floor; New Hampshire Room and staff kitchen on the second floor; and a new children's area in the lower level, including a room named for local author Tomie dePaola for the younger children. A Community Garden organization was formed in 2002 to restore and enhance the Olmsted gardens. The work was completed in 2003.

Stories & Trivia


During the mid-1800s, a spare room in the house was used as a classroom by the Colby Hill School across Pleasant Street (now the site of the Town Parking Lot). The building also housed a harness-making shop at that time.

Photos & Images

304-1.jpg
Tracy Library


Tracy_Library.jpg
Tracy Library

  1. ^ Merrimack County Register of Deeds, Vol. 109. p. 550
  2. ^ Merrimack County Register of Deeds, Vol. 39, p. 150
  3. ^ Lord, p. 344
  4. ^ Merrimack County Register of Deeds, June 19, 1848, Vol. 96, p. 46
  5. ^ Merrimack County Register of Deeds, Vol.91, p. 254
  6. ^ Lord, p. 365, says Morgan acquired the house from Flanders
  7. ^ Lord, p. 366
  8. ^ Summer Rest, August 1893, p. 19
  9. ^ The Highlander, June 4, 1929