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" Bringing the Presence of the Past into the Present "

The Village Fountain – Thanks to the W.C.T.U & the New Hampton Garden Club
“You have done nicely in such a small town. No doubt it's created much interest and will give great pleasure.”

The cast iron fountain on Main Street has been in place for 119 years. Purchased by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) in the spring of 1900 for $145, the fountain provided water for, as the brochure says, “People, Horses, and Dogs.” The W.C.T.U. wanted to ensure there was a steady stream of a non-alcoholic beverage available 24 hours a day (except, as noted in the correspondence below, in winter – unless the residents wished to share the water in the big bowl with the horses). New Hampton School alumna and town activist, Emma Grace Bickford[1] successfully headed the effort to place one of the famed “Clapp’s Fountains” in the center of the village. Below are excerpts of letters from the Foundry to Emma.

[1]Emma Bickford’s husband, Rev. Lewis P. Bickford, was a fellow alum of New Hampton School and the first librarian at the Gordon-Nash Library. Their children were Grace, John, Ina and Annie Bickford. Grace and Ina were also librarians, and then ran the Pillars Guest House on Main Street for many years. John married his 1896 NHS classmate, Lillian Frost, and their son, Chaloner, was born in 1905. Many readers will, no doubt, have fond memories of Chaloner and his wife Ann.

May 14 - 1900
Dear Madam
I ship drinking fountain today in good condition and hope it will reach you the same… The fountain can be handled very easy by using a heavy pair of skids. Roll the fountain on to the skids, and with small rolls it can be moved anywhere.
The iron handles and stop-cocks are for dog trough and one for large bowl. The dog trough is to be shut off in winter. And the people's faucet is shut off in large bowl. The large bowl runs all the year round…

May 31 - 1900
Dear Madam;
Did you have any dedication at the time it was set? If so send us a paper containing it… Also, will you send us names of other W.C.T.U.s, to whom we could send our circulars?
You have done nicely so it seems to us in such a small town. No doubt it's created much interest and will give great pleasure.
Yours respectfully,
B.S. Rolfe, for Clapp, Esq.

While the dog trough may be gone, it is good to know that our fountain was intended to serve pure water to New Hampton’s horses, dogs and people! A big SHOUT OUT to the New Hampton Garden Club for ensuring that the fountain continues to give us all “great pleasure!”

Spring 1900 Correspondence from Concord      The Clapp’s Fountain today thanks to the kind efforts
Foundry to the New Hampton W.C.T.U.              of the New Hampton Garden Club
For more information on the history of the town, please visit the New Hampton Historical Society website at
Kent Bicknell
Historian, NHHS
April 9, 2019


Other Connections to our Town's Rich History....

Celebrating Sarah Dow MacGregor: A Most Generous Friend of New Hampton
New Hampton Had a Train Wreck?

Main Street - U.S. Cavalry enroute from Fort Ethan Allen VT to Portland ME
1798 Receipt for a Town House pew
New Hampton Town House
86 Town House Road

New Hampton Town House
Also known as the Center Meeting House, Old Meeting House
New Hampton, NH was incorporated on November 27, 1777.  By 1797-1798 the townspeople were already considering the construction of a meeting house.   At the annual town meeting in March of 1798, the voters of New Hampton decided to erect a meeting house.  Two more town meetings in April and September were required to settle all of the details of the building project.  But, the building was ready for use by the next annual town meeting in March of 1799.  It is believed that the architect/builder was Samuel Kelley, one of the town’s first settlers.  The New Hampton Town House began as the meeting house for the Town of New Hampton, serving both for religious services and town meetings.   The Town House stands on the town common on a 5.5 acre town owned lot at the northeast corner of Town House Road and Dana Hill Road, considered to be the “Center”.   This location was referred to as the “Town Common”, the “Center” and is now known as the “Old Institution”.

Click here for more on its history.
Click here for some interior and exterior photos.

Stage Curtain Restoration, 2014
A hundred years ago, grand drapes and painted backdrops were the primary artistic feature of the cultural life of almost every village and town in Northern New England and were found in town and grange halls, theaters and opera houses.

Click here for further information including photos of the curtains and biographies of the artists who painted them.

Click here for the Survey & Treatment Proposal for the Ives curtain - the Grand Drape Advertising Curtain depicting the covered bridge that once spanned the Pemigewasset River in the vicinity of the present Route 104 bridge.

Click here for the Survey & Treatment Proposal for the Thompson curtain - New Hampton Town House.
Supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
and the National Endowment for the Arts.