The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Enfield Center Town House has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Following the Toleration Act of 1819, which prohibited taxpayer funds from being used to support buildings where religious services took place, towns across New Hampshire began building town houses to fill the need for municipal meeting space. The Enfield Center Town House was constructed for this purpose in 1845-46, then moved and expanded in 1859.
The building’s pedimented gable front, original sash windows and nine-panel door, corner pilasters, white clapboards and green shutters are all characteristic of the Greek Revival style that was popular in the early and mid-19th century. A Gothic-style bell tower over the front gable was removed at some point and not replaced.
Enfield Center Town Hall underwent major renovations in 1909 that expanded its functionality. A raised stage with proscenium arch and canvas backdrops of countryside scenery painted by West Lebanon artist William Culver were added, and the original slanted floor was replaced by a level one, turning the hall into both a theater and dance venue. Other changes at the time included replacing the plaster walls and ceiling with varnished bead board, adding a kitchen area with a tin dry sink behind the stage and installing an ornate potbelly stove.
Enfield Center Village Improvement Society helped transition the Town House to a social center by hosting plays, masquerade balls, game nights and more; the first event the Society sponsored was a whist party attended by 35 people. The Society was replaced by the women-only Earnest Workers Club in 1913 that organized events to raise money for social causes in the community.
The last town meeting held at Enfield Center Town Hall took place in 1916. Today, the building is open for town-wide events and some selectmen’s meetings. Enfield Center Union Church, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places, is across the street.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.
In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.
New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.