Hampton History Blog

  • Farewell to the Hampton Beach Firehouse (photos)

    Hampton Beach Firehouse 1928Hampton Beach Firehouse - 2013

    On August 13, 1936, the Hampton Union ran a story in the Souvenir Edition about the history of the Hampton Beach Fire Department.  It read in part, "... In 1922, the first fire house was built also under the direction of Chief A. H. Brown. In the same year, an Aherns-Fox pump and ladder combination was put into use making two motor driven fire engines.  In 1923, the fire house was burned down. Immediately, the work was started to rebuild a fire station of modern design and soon there was a 2-story stone structure of a cement base and has a capacity of housing 5 modern fire trucks with a 3 door run. It was rebuilt on the site of the first fire house on Marsh (Ashworth) Ave. where it still stands."

    This year the new Hampton Beach firehouse was completed, marking the end of nearly a century of life for this grand old building.  To mark its passing, staff from the Lane Library was allowed inside just prior to demolition in order to take some photographs.  These shots are now available for viewing on...

  • Thirty years ago today

    September 26, 1983 - September 26, 2013

    The date September 26th has been stuck in my brain for 30 years. It has now been that long since the construction of our current library building began. At that time the library was housed in a much smaller building that included our original 1910 structure (which still forms the front of the library) and a 1957 addition that needed to be torn down. That obviously meant that we had to move the library during the entire construction period, which lasted a year and a half. We moved to a very small space in the back of Stickney Terrace, past where the Post Office is now, and also had a rented trailer out in the parking lot. To accomplish the move I came up with the 'bright' idea of asking our library patrons to check out as many books as possible and return them to the new library. It worked like a charm, and over the course of a few weeks the people of Hampton, and even neighboring libraries, checked out half of our collection. The problem with this idea was that when they were returned they all had to be reshelved! And they were not in any kind of order, as they would have been had we just removed them in order from their shelves and moved them that way.

    So what is the significance of September 26th? We used orange date due index cards in those days, and that date was stamped on the cards in every one of the books that we checked out for the move. So as you can probably imagine, September...

  • A Presidential Trip Through Hampton

     

    George WashingtonOne would think, given New Hampshire’s status as the first in the nation Presidential Primary state, that there would be any number of sitting Presidents who had visited Hampton. But the reality is quite different. As far as I know, there have been only two sitting Presidents who have ever been in Hampton, and they were both just passing through on their way to Portsmouth. Any number of Presidential candidates have been to Hampton, and you can read about many of their visits on our website. But once in office they have not come back. I imagine you’ll be surprised to hear that one of the two who did make it to Hampton was none other than George Washington.

    An entire book has been written about Washington’s visit to New Hampshire in 1789. He crossed into New Hampshire from Salisbury and traveled up what is now Route One to Portsmouth, passing through Hampton along the way. After staying a few days in Portsmouth he returned south through Greenland and Stratham to a stop in Exeter, and finally out of the state through Kingston and Plaistow.

    It was just twelve days after his inauguration as our nation’s...

  • Inside the Hampton District Courthouse

    Hampton Grammar School THEN AND NOW

    The building now known as the old Hampton District Courthouse has a long and storied history.  Built in 1873 as the Center Grammar School on Winnacunnet Rd., it was moved in 1916 to its present location across from the library.  Since then it has served as Hampton's first public Kindergarten, the American Legion Post #35 hall, and Fire Station #2 from 1932 until 1978 , when it officially became the Courthouse.  In 2005 the building was declared uninhabitable due to mold and asbestos contamination, and retired from public service.

    After much debate and discussion , the Hampton Board of Selectmen made the decision in March of 2013...