The Heart of Nashua with Joan Stylianos: A little genealogy goes a long way in the study of city's pastBy JOAN STYLIANOS
September 05. 2018 11:34PM
I have to admit, genealogy is pretty fascinating stuff. Tracing a line of descent by combing through the birth records and history of a person or family can unearth some incredible finds.
We can all learn from the past, and in this case prominent city forefathers like the Greeley brothers are in the spotlight.
Take, for instance, a new home for sale located by Library Hill in Nashua’s Historic District just a few yards away at the corner of Amherst (#7) and Abbott Streets. It’s a large, gray-colored beauty that was originally built in 1825 (or as early as 1799 from other sources) and features a brick-end Federal style design.
If you happen to have a pretty penny, she is yours for the listed price of $675,000. The home is brokered by Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group.
The single-family home sits in the heart of Nashua featuring eight fireplaces, two grand porticos, four bedrooms and three baths — all elegantly laid out in a square footage of 3,648.
More than a year and a half ago, the gorgeous mansion was in dire disrepair; you probably drove past it many times but would never look twice. Today, it’s a stunner with its original clean, symmetrical lines. A team of local developers set out to renovate the famous home and keep its historic district charm and roots intact.
One of these restoration experts is Mark Nash, and his last name needs little introduction. He’s the son of the late Gerald “Jerry” Nash. Jerry and the late Samuel “Sam” Tamposi Sr. were titans in commercial and industrial development, dominating the state in the 1960s and 1970s and then Central Florida with the Citrus Hills community.
Mark Nash, his stepson Stephen Boilard and James McCormick knew right away that 7 Amherst St. was a gem and full of rich city history.
“The house had been neglected since the 1980s,” Mark Nash told me. At one point, he says tar was even being poured onto the roof to stop leaks. It was a mess.
“But it had good bones, and the foundation was sound. We tore out all the old ceilings and walls and flooring.” And the transformation is incredible.
Going back in time, merchant brothers Joseph, Ezekiel and Alfred came from Hudson to Nashua and left their mark in the Gate City. The trio built the handsome home at Amherst and Abbott streets, and Ezekiel resided there for his lifetime.
The Greeley brothers had the deep pockets and foresight to invest in the development of the Nashua Manufacturing Company along with notable Gate City residents like Daniel Abbott and Benjamin French. The venture began operations in 1823, and our new industrial city just down the river was born.
The cotton textile factories run by water power were a huge engine for the Nashua economy for decades, and at one point, the Nashua Manufacturing Company employed a fifth of the city’s workers. The mills were humming with action until after World War II, shutting down in 1945. By then, most of the industry had relocated south for cheaper labor and land.
The enterprising brothers also built the former granite and brick Greeley Building in 1833, now located on the east side of Clinton Street (#9). From what I gathered, the structure was initially home to a church, town hall and meeting place. Later, it became the Tavern Hotel. Today, it serves as Fody’s Great American Tavern.
Just imagine, Nashua was once called “The Neck,” and then there was Dunstable, Indian Head, Nashville, Nashua Village. And maybe there are other names I’ve missed.
We’ve come a long way, folks.
Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.