The Damming Story of Hill NH

by Robin LeBlanc | Feb 17th, 2015 | Leave a comment

The following was submitted by Andrew Cushing, a native of Grafton, NH, recent grad of Bowdoin College and currently studying for a Masters in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania:

The year was February 1937 and Fred Clark, a recent Cornell architecture graduate, rumbled along the elm-lined main street of Hill, New Hampshire, a one mile stretch of stately old homes paralleling the Pemigewasset River. Rumors had reached the state’s planning circles that new flood control projects would inundate Hill village and Clark, the director of the new Planning and Development Commission, had a thought. What if he could sell to the threatened village his dream of an entirely new village? Hill’s main street in 1937 included nearly one hundred buildings: two churches, a newly constructed school, a brick town hall, large rambling farmhouses in the Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian style, small mills, a depot and freight house, and general stores. In the summertime, people described Hill as the quintessential small town. Its residents played baseball, ate at church suppers, played in the town band, enjoyed parades under the shadows of the elms, greeted one another from their front porch.  1   Damming the Pemigewasset River would destroy Hill’s physical and community fabric.

Hill story full text

A typical house in New Hill Village
A typical house in New Hill Village

Old Main Street
Old Main Street

 

Hill Congregational Church ca 1900
Hill Congregational Church ca 1900

 

photo by John Chandler
photo by John Chandler

 

From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941
From Frederick P. Clark, “The New Village of Hill, New Hampshire,” The Planners’ Journal (January-March 1941

 

 



[1] Steven P. Adler and Edmund F. Jansen, “Hill Reestablishment: a Retrospective Community Study of a Relocated New England Town,” (Fort Belvoir, VA: The Institute, 1978), 11.