429 Main Street, New London NH


Current Use

  • Town Hall
  • Recreation Department

Formerly

  • District courthouse (19??-2009)
  • Town offices & archives
  • Movie theater, basketball arena
  • Old Town House, 1854-1917

Building History


Amos H. Whipple's bequest provided for construction of a Whipple Memorial Library. Feeling a greater need for a new town hall, citizens of New London worked with his executor, Sherman Whipple (brother), to alter the terms of his will, and the new brick structure was dedicated in June 1918. It was named in honor of Whipple's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Solomon Whipple.

Architects for the new building were Strickland and Law, and Horace Stanley was the contractor. The basement of the structure was fitted up for serving meals which were held for the levees, town meeting day, and before the Memorial Day parade. Moving pictures were shown in the Hall in 1920, under the sponsorship of the Academy during the school term and in the summer by William M. Kidder.[1] The municipal court was originally held in the basement of the building, but it moved upstairs in 1975 when the addition was added to the rear.

The first town hall to be erected on this site was erected in 1854. A small, wooden structure of one and a half stories, it was plain and unadorned. A small entry opened on the gable end, facing Main Street. A small platform was erected on the far side of the hall. A huge town safe, stoves, and large wood boxes were on either side of the entering door. Wooden benches lined either side of the room, and settees furnished space for audiences in the center. During the annual town meeting (for men only), sawdust covered the floor for "spitting purposes." In addition its use as a meeting space, social events were held here, including an annual Christmas party, the annual military levee, and forums, lectures, theatricals, and fairs. A room above the hall was finished off as an armory for the McCutchins Guards in 1859 and used briefly by the New London Grange and other organizations. Extensive repairs were made to the building in 1893.[2] Colby Academy Voice, Dec, 14, 1899, notes "an entertainment of moving pictures at the town hall. This is something new to many, nothing of the kind ever having been seen here before. The old town house was dismantled by Joseph Cutting and William M. Kidder, and the salvaged materials were used to make an addition to the Kidder Garage building.

In January, 2015, the building was listed on New Hampshire's State Register of Historic Places.

Stories & Trivia


A poem by Agnes D. Gay entitled "Grand Levee" gives a good description of the event, including Ransom Sargent's oyster stews.[3]

In her writeup of the town halls entitled New London's Town Houses, Mildred Tunis notes that the stage once had a curtain painted with a scene of a lake and mountains, probably painted by Sidney Bickford of Georges Mills.

Photos & Images

429-1.jpg
Whipple Hall


Whipple_Hall.jpg
Whipple Hall

  1. ^ Mildred C. Tunis, NL Archives
  2. ^ Mildred C. Tunis, NL Archives
  3. ^ Squires, p. 21