375 Main Street, New London NH

Current Use

  • Town offices & archives


  • 1999 — Colby-Sawyer College donates Academy Building and land in front of it to Town of New London for use as town offices and archives.
  • 1960 — Academy Building converted with two large rooms on first floor for trustee and other meetings, and guest accommodations on the second floor, along with a living room space. Susan Colgate Cleveland, Vicechair of the Board, was largely responsible for undertaking the changes.
  • 1922 — the Academy building was made into four apartments for faculty and staff.
  • After current Colgate was completed in 1912, the Academy building was used for agricultural classes, later for carpentry classes, and finally had a track.
  • After fire of building at Colgate site in 1892, Academy Building is again used as for classrooms and library.
  • 1878 — school renamed Colby Academy in honor of the Colby family.
  • 1870 — after new building erected on site of Colgate Hall, building used as a gymnasium.
  • August, 1853 — school taken over by NH Baptists and renamed The New London Literary and Scientific Institution.
  • 1837 — Colby Academy building construction begun in fall and opened in May 1838 as the New London Institution, a co-educational, private high school.

Building History

July, 1837 — New London Academy chartered by incorporators Joseph Colby, Anthony Colby, Perley Burpee, Jonathan Greeley, John Brown, David Everett, Samuel Carr, Marshall Train, Jonathan Herrick, Jonathan Addison, and Walter Flanders.[1] Anthony Colby, Perley Burpee, John Brown, and Walter P. Flanders purchased 5 acres on Main Street from Seasmans Road to the Four Corners. In 1840 the property was turned over to New London Academy for $1,400. Luther McCutchins "was one of two men who drew the first timber for the present Academy."[2]

A public subscription for the building was undertaken, and the people of New London responded generously. The school opened for instruction in May 1838 with Susan F. Colby as principal and Martha E. Greenwood as assistant. Male students enter in the fall. New London Academy was successful for the first few years but did not flourish by 1850, closing some terms. In August 1853, the NH Baptists took over the school, changed its name to the New London Literary and Scientific Institution, and the Academy building was once again used for classes. In 1870, a large Victorian building was erected on the top of Colby Hill (site of today's Colgate Hall), and the Academy building was used as a gymnasium. There was a bowling alley on the first floor and space for polo on the second floor. On the walls were painted the scores of the baseball and track teams.[3]

After an 1892 fire destroyed the brick building on Colby Hill, classes were again held in the Academy Building. There was a chapel, recitation room for math, and a library on the first floor, and a science department with laboratories, 2 recitation rooms, the President's office, and a bookstore on the second. Summer Rest for August 1892, p. 13, notes, "The old adademy building, as repaired, remodelled and rehabilitated, with its convenient recitation rooms, its steam heat, and its fire-place in the chapel, is fitted for the school as it neer was in the olden time."

An agricultural department was developed from 1913-1918. Other courses included carpentry, blacksmithing, road building, and forestry.[4] A student reported in a letter that "by 1915, there was a small building in back of the Academy Building which housed a carpenter's shop and metal forge." Around 1920 the inside of the building was torn out to create an indoor race track.[5] In 1922, the Academy building was converted to four apartments for faculty and staff. In 1960 it was restored to its earlier configuration, with two large rooms on the first floor (used for Trustee and other meetings) and guest accommodations on the second floor. (Furnishings for these upper room came from the Burpee Homestead). Susan Colgate Cleveland, Vice Chair of the Board in this period, was largely responsible for undertaking the changes. The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities oversaw the work, and Roy Baker and son of Antrim, with noted historic building experience, served as consultants.

In 1999, Colby-Sawyer College donated the Academy building and land to the town of New London for use as town offices and archives. The building was moved off of its foundation by Geddes Building Movers of Concord in September of 1999, so that a new foundation could be constructed to support it. In 2015, the exterior of the building was stripped, foam insulation was sprayed into the wall cavities, and new sheathing, clapboards, trim, and windows were installed.

Stories & Trivia

The building is reportedly haunted.

Photos & Images

Town Offices

Colby Academy Building

  1. ^ Rowe, pp. 45-46.
  2. ^ Colby Life, Spring 24, 1896
  3. ^ Rowe, p. 155 and 371
  4. ^ Rowe, pp. 228-229
  5. ^ Frank Butler tape, 2/16/1972