468 Main Street, New London NH


Current Use

  • Law offices of Dufault & Dufault

Formerly

  • New Hampshire State Grange (1980 - 1992)
  • New London Grange (1885 - 1980)
  • Tenants:
    • Christian Science Church & Reading Room (1948 - ?)
    • St. Andrew's Episcopal Church (winters, 1950s?)
    • League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Store (1937 - ?)
    • New London Public Library (1900 - 1906)

Building History


Land of Josiah Brown and later his son-in-law [?], John Brown, who sold it to Colby Academy. On September 7, 1894, the Colby Academy Trustees voted to sell "House Lots the west side of the Highway in front of the ruins of the Old Academy [i.e. building on Colby Hill destroyed by fire in 1892]," (Diary of Anthony C. Burpee, Colby-Sawyer College Archives).

July 26, 1895 — Colby Academy sells land to New London Grange for $100 (Merrimack Co. deeds, V. 317, p. 348). On November 27 of that year the Grange signed a promisory note to Baxter Gay, Fred Farwell, J.E. Shepard, J.M. Clough, Carlton Woodbury, E.A. Todd, A.F. Messer, Charles F. Putney, C.E. Shepard, and W.A. Messer, probably for funds to construct the building, (V. 316, p. 161). Summer Rest for August, 1895, p. 10, observes: "The New London Grange has purchased a lot of Colby Academy between Mr. Fales' house and the old retreat, and they have already commenced the erection of a large hall thereon."

New London's Grange Hall was dedicated on November 9, 1895. The first floor rooms were often remodeled as new tenants rented the spaces. The upstairs meeting hall remains much as it did when the building was first constructed.

Stories & Trivia


The New London Grange No. 65, officially the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, was formed in 1883 by 22 charter members, four of whom soon withdrew. (The National Grange had been created in Washington, DC, in 1867.) Some townspeople were concerned by the formation of another secret society (modeled after the Freemasons), but membership soon increased and their purpose became more clearly understood—the preservation and promotion of a rural lifestyle that was increasingly threatened by emigration, industrialization, and urbanization. Initially the group met at the old Town Hall and then at Sargent's Hall, located behind the Hotel Sargent (now New London Inn). By one account, the newly-formed Odd Fellows secured a lease for Sargent's Hall and offered to sublet the space for Grange functions, but the Grange declined the offer and built its own meeting hall on Main Street in 1895.

Starting in 1900, one downstairs room served as the town's public library, open on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. In 1906, the New London Central School replaced the Colby Hill Schoolhouse, and the library was moved to a room in that building, where it remained until the Tracy Memorial Building opened in 1926.

In the summer of 1939 the "New London Home Industries of the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts" operated a shop in the Grange. (The Speaker, Sept., 1939, p. 5). The League shop operated in the Grange for "several summers thereafter;" (Squires, p. 228).

After the New London Grange closed in 1980, the building was used for the storage of items from other Granges by the New Hampshire State Grange for many years; a large auction of Grange-related items was held here in 1992.

Photos & Images


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