Front Page News
September 21, 2011
Chichester Historical Society ~ Chichester Town Hall - Part
Submitted By Walter Sanborn
It has been over a month since I wrote an article on the history of
the Chichester Town Hall. I have started to write this article
several times but I was hit with procrastination again.
Today I had a visit from “Irene” so it gave me time to write
between watching the news. There has been a week of news on TV
announcing the advance of the visit of “Irene”, which here was no
worse than many storms in New Hampshire and less destructive than a
winter ice storm. I remember the 1938 hurricane, of which we
had no warning, as still being the greatest destructive storm of the
century. With no knowledge of the coming of the hurricane, we
awoke next morning to the disaster I have never seen since.
To get on with the history of the Chichester Town Hall, I will
refresh your memory of the previous article Part VII. I
mentioned how the meeting house was abandoned by the Congregational
Church and given back to the town because of its deplorable
condition in 1828. The next articles described how the town
voted to move the hall and then rescind their previous votes.
This continued until 1846 when repairs were made and the town
started to use the hall for the selectmen’s office and town
In 1875 the Merrimack Guards asked to finish off the room over
the selectmen’s office for an armory. This room was formerly
the choir loft in the old meetinghouse. The choir loft was
enclosed with a partition separating it from the main hall.
Closets were built along the inside wall with doors for the militia
to hang their uniforms and swords on; each man having his own closet
assigned to him.
I can remember, as a boy in the 1930s when my grandmother was
librarian, visiting the library and there was still an old militia
uniform coat hanging in a closet. The doors were eventually
removed and shelves built in the closets to hold the library books.
At this time, the town hall consisted of the front entry into
the main hall with the selectmen’s office to the right of the entry.
To the left of the entry, were stairs to the militia room located
over the entry and the selectmen’s office, which consisted of the
library on the second floor.
Further reports of work on the town hall are only extracted from
the records of town meeting minutes and expenses listed in the town
The 1886 town report shows the town bought a box stove for the
town hall for $12.50 from W.J. Ford Foundry Co. which was located in
Concord, N.H. The main hall was heated with a large tall sheet
metal stove. The selectmen’s office was heated with a small
box stove from Ford Foundry which I presume is the one mentioned and
still preserved in this office.
The year 1892 lists expenses on the town vault which I will go
into detail in my next article.