James House Puts Grant Award To Work
By Bill Keating
Special to Atlantic News
Atlantic News, Thursday, November 11, 2004
HAMPTON - The James House Association has entered into contracts with several professionals to carry out the terms of the grant the Association has received from the New Hampshire Coastal Program.
The grant was made to continue the preservation and restoration of the historic James House, to create an historic landscape design, and to allow further archaeological study of the property, located on Towle Farm Road in Hampton.
Sheila Charles, a noted archaeologist and educator from Historic and Archaeological Research in Nashua, has accepted the position of professional archaeologist. She is currently cleaning and organizing artifacts collected during earlier digs on the James House site. Sheila will provide an archaeological education program and manage future archaeological digs.
Lucinda A. Brockway of Past Designs in Kennebunk, Maine, is in the process of researching the historic uses of the land surrounding the James House through a collection of old wills, probate papers, maps, and pictures, as well as a study of the land itself. In January, she will lead volunteers through a brainstorming ("charrette") session of planning for the future design of the James House grounds and out buildings, including types and location of plants and gardens. Lucinda's historic landscape report will include a master plan illustrating the proposed treatment for the landscape. Once this is done, the James House Association will begin the process of digging and planting the period gardens, reflecting the 300 years of history of the property.
Daniel Lynch of Soil Sight LLC of Providence, Rhode Island, will perform a subsurface survey of the James House property within the month of November. The purpose of the survey is to chart a possible farm road, wells, foundations, areas of archaeological interest, and where past gardens were located. His report on subsurface findings will serve as a guide for archaeological and landscaping projects.
First Period Colonial Restoration's Bob Pothier has completed the hand planed clapboards and nails according to 18th century first period requirements, using the same tools and methods as the original carpenters would have used. He is expected to complete repairing the sills, and replacing windows, siding and trim on the house by spring.
The James House is a First Period House which has been designated as a recognized national historic site. It is believed to be the earliest surviving example of "three-post per bent" frame construction in New Hampshire. During its 281-year history - from a Colonial farm house on the frontier of Hampton through its evolution into a 20th century farm house - only two families (seven generations of James and two generations of Campbells) have owned and lived on the property.
Visitors have been welcomed to open houses during the summer months. School children from Hampton and North Hampton have participated in the education program, learning about first period construction, early Colonial life, and early farming methods.
For more information about the James House Association, Inc., call President Bill Keating at (603) 926-2813.