Littleton Community House and Annex listed in the National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has announced that the United States Secretary of the Interior has listed Littleton Community House and Annex in the National Register of Historic Places both for its architecture and for its contributions to the community.
Built on Littleton’s Main Street in 1884, the home and carriage house showcase the prominence of local lumber baron Charles Franklin Eastman (1841-1912). At that time, several wealthy Littleton residents had ornate homes in the neighborhood, but a majority of the houses and all of the carriage houses no longer exist.
The three-story wood-frame house with two-and-a-half story ell are examples of high-style Queen Anne architecture, the dominant domestic design from 1880-1900. Features include a complex roofline with many dormers and turrets, windows of mixed sizes and designs, and a variety of decorative elements, including carved wooden brackets, eave details, fluted posts and patterned railings.
The house’s interior has changed little from the time it served as the grand house of the Charles Eastman family. Public front rooms on the first and second floors are particularly ornate, with a variety of wooden finishes that showcase the wealth of the owner and his connection to the lumber industry.
The entry hall’s fireplace is adorned with Victorian glazed tiles that are predominantly floral in nature and include panels depicting hollyhocks on either side of the firebox along with a single human face in profile centered above the opening. Other fireplaces in the home also incorporate tiles, marble and bracketed pilasters.
The two-and-a-half story, L-shaped, wood-framed annex, originally built in 1884 as a carriage house, has a ventilator cupola at the main roof that allows for passive conductive air circulation. The annex’s inside was designed with horse stalls, storage for carriages and a carriage wash on the main floor. The second floor was primarily an expansive hayloft. In the late 1950s, the building was reconfigured to serve as a “Teen Town” by the Littleton Community Center.
Established in September 1919 “for the advancement of the general welfare of Littleton,” Littleton Community House was founded as a volunteer organization originally started to help reacclimate soldiers returning to civilian life after serving in World War I. The organization purchased the property on December 29, 1919 and modified the house to include showers, bathrooms and cots for use by returning soldiers and sailors. At that time, the second floor became home to the Red Cross and the Littleton Community Nurse Association while the third floor was home to the newly formed Riley Strong Post of the American Legion.
The building was formally dedicated on November 11, 1921, with exercises held both onsite and at the Littleton Opera House. A granite Soldier’s Memorial installed in 1948 contributes to the building’s history as a monument to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
A bronze plaque with an American eagle holding two crossed flags lists the names of Littleton’s fallen World War I and World War II soldiers. A second bronze plaque honoring Littleton’s fallen Korean and Vietnam War soldiers was added in 1983.
Today, Littleton Community House is now dedicated to cultivating a sense of community by providing space where all of Littleton can gather for private and public functions ranging from Selectboard Meetings to Garden Club and private functions.
National Register of Historic Places
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 historic 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.
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr. New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit us online at nh.gov/nhdhr