The Eastman House was built in 1884 as the residence for the Charles F. Eastman family. Built on a one-acre lot situated on a lovely hill on Main Street only the best materials and the finest craftsmen were used. Granite stairs allowed ladies to enter their carriages in a dignified manner. Between July and September 1885, Mr. Eastman moved his barn to the new site and had a large addition built transforming the structure into a lovely Queen Anne Style Carriage Barn.
Entering the first floor from the porte-cochere a visitor would have observed a lovely Empire mirror on a marble base. The paneling going up the side stairs was cherry; the floors were inlaid with oak and cherry. All the fireplaces had beautiful imported Italian tiles, and there were marble slabs on the radiators. The dining room had a painted scenic ceiling and the walls were scrolled in gold leaf. There was a nice china room and a spacious kitchen. Most of these features remain today. The Eastman library was also located on this floor.
The second floor was used as a living and bedroom area by the Eastman’s including a lovely parlor and a bathroom. Keys with directions to their use in Mr. Eastman’s handwriting flanked the fireplace. A most attractive feature was a Victorian lady’s chair and footstool with a marble topside table (still present). The front stairway was especially suited to a bride’s entrance, and has been used for just that purpose. Lovely woodwork of oak, cherry, mahogany, and birch added elegance and reminds one of an age of more genteel living. The maids and butler used the third floor which included a bathroom with a tin tub.
The Eastman House is the only historic home in New Hampshire that is open free to the public on a daily, year-round basis.
A HOME BECOMES A COMMUNITY
Emotions ran high in Littleton after the signing of the armistice to end World War 1 on November 11th 1918. First and foremost was the desire for a suitable memorial to the men who represented the town in the Great War. Rather than the commonplace idea of erecting a monument, the Board of Trade (predecessor to the Chamber of Commerce) decided to pursue the concept of a living memorial – such as a clubhouse or comfort station. The desire was to help the living while commemorating the dead. Fortunately, Daniel C. Remich had envisioned the establishment of some sort of civic center in Littleton and his will stipulated the sum of $6,000 for this purpose. Similar sentiments were expressed in the William M. Jeffries Estate.
The property became the Littleton Community Center (LCC) in September 1919, when 119 townspeople, led by Judge Harry L. Heald, signed articles of incorporation dedicating it to the community for “…the advancement of health, training for service and the social, moral, recreational and general welfare of Littleton and surrounding communities”. In March 1920 the town voted to approve the officers and board of directors of the LCC and to support the organization to the tune of $3,000. The substantial support via taxation from the very beginning has made the CH “a town affair and everybody an owner in it”.
Clearly, the LCC is more than a building – it is a purpose. All of this was in concert with President Wilson’s effort to confront the anticipated problems of social, political, and economic reconstruction by promoting social contact among all kinds and conditions of people. The recently concluded war brought a new use to an old idea – all getting together to do for each other. This was thought to be a fitting tribute to democracy, for which so many had recently given their lives. Community service and community solidarity had, after all, been the hallmark of the nation’s success in the war. Toward this goal the LCC adopted the motto “Each for the Other”.
One example of this sentiment was a unique fundraising technique employed to furnish two rooms on the second floor for rest and meeting places for women. Comfortable chairs, rugs, a desk and a couch were needed to make these rooms as homelike as possible. Members of the House Committee canvassed the entire community for “shareholders”. For as little as 25 cents, any and every woman in town could feel that she had become a partner in furnishing the rooms. The rooms, thereby, became available to all for rest or recreation entirely free of charge.
Similarly, the Music Committee raised funds from local businesses and summer visitors to purchase a piano. Out of town visitors were plentiful, with some 175 registering in a three-week period in 1920. Locals generously donated innumerable gifts ranging from a Columbia grafonola with records to a telescope, from a croquet set to a stereoscopic viewer.
Today, The LCC remains a popular choice for hosting community events, family celebrations and town meetings. All told, the LCC gets more than 7,000 visits by area residents and tourists each year.