Allenstown selectmen will meet in historic town building
DEERFIELD — The Old Allenstown Meeting House has bench seats, no bathrooms, and nearly burnt down in 1985.
Monday, in an effort to commemorate the history of the 199-year-old one-room building which is listed on both the New Hampshire and National Register of Historic Places — selectmen will convene for a regularly-scheduled meeting within its storied confines.
The meeting takes place Monday at 6:30 p.m., and an award will be presented to the town in recognition of significant restoration work done to the meeting house, which is located at 150 Deerfield Road.
“We’ve been having meetings there for the last three of four years to recognize this was the place where town business was conducted years and years ago,” said Town Administrator Shaun Mulholland. “It’s really kind of a neat place that’s used in a number of capacities these days, even by state (Representatives) and Senators.”
According to information provided by the Allenstown Historical Society, the single-story structure, built in 1815, is unique in construction because it has a slanted floor. The building was used as both a center for municipal meetings and as a church for its first 62 years before town officials discontinued using it.
Possession and responsibility for the building’s upkeep changed hands among various religious and civic organizations over the next 115 years.
In 1985, an arson-related fire nearly destroyed the meeting house, and in 1991 the state accepted ownership of the property, which was managed by the New Hampshire Division of Parks before it was transferred to the town of Allenstown in 2004.
That year, the Old Allenstown Meeting House Steering Committee was established to spearhead the restoration of the building, which Mulholland said included a new roof, new shutters, painting, replacement of some of the flooring, the addition of electricity and more.
The project was funded almost entirely through fundraisers held by various town departments and organizations, donations, and grants from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program and the Moose Plate program. PSNH and TD Bank also contributed to the effort.
The building was reopened late last year and various town and historical society functions are planned at the property this year.