The Heart of Nashua with Joan Stylianos: Nashua is home to some fine historical gems

What’s your favorite spot in Nashua? Oh, come on. I’m sure you have one. In fact, the Gate City has some fine historical gems that grace our landscape.

We might not have, for example, the sprawling skyline of Miami’s Art Deco district featuring pastel-colored resort buildings, but we do have our own charming appeal.

My number one location is Main Street’s Library Hill because it overlooks the splendid downtown and is surrounded by incredible architectural design and vintage beauty. Many photographs have been captured from this vantage point, and it still offers a wonderful snapshot of life here in NH’s second-largest city.

For me, it’s also a childhood thing. As kids, my brothers Andy and Philip and I would sometimes view a parade from inside my Uncle Ted and Aunt Katie’s nearby apartment. It offered an amazing view to watch the action unfold and hear the marching bands and the loud beat of the drums making their way down the hill.

Abbott Square at the top of Library Hill is home to the Civil War’s majestic Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the park there is like a tiny island surrounded by busy traffic. We used to run around the famous monument years ago and climb onto the cannon; we had lots of fun playing there. It’s a lovely spot that looks inviting when snowfall blankets the area and when the trees bloom in spring.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is dedicated to the “patriotism and valor of the thirteen hundred and fifty-five men” who served their country during the War of the Rebellion, 1861-65. The towering monument was created by Stephen J. O’Kelly and built in 1889 by John G. Foster.

I am fascinated still because hidden away beneath the cornerstone of this monument lies a time capsule from so long ago.

I also like the spot on the hill where the former Hunt Memorial Library still stands in all its Elizabethan Gothic elegance. Growing up in Nashua, the building looked like a castle to me. It’s a stately brick structure at the top of Main Street (hence, the name Library Hill), and thankfully, former Mayor Rob Wagner and the Board of Aldermen had the foresight in 1993 to keep the landmark as it was and not allow it to be razed for future development there.

The Hunt is owned by the city and managed by a volunteer board of trustees. It can be rented out for weddings or other events for a maximum capacity of 99 attendees.

Architect Ralph Adams designed the Hunt Memorial Library, and the generous Hunt family donated funds in 1892 for its construction.

Facing north of the Hunt is The First Church Nashua, UCC, constructed in 1894. This remarkable, large granite structure features Romanesque architecture with a tower that rises to 118 feet and a sanctuary that can seat 600.

Another nearby gem is the Abbot-Spalding House built by John Lund in 1804. My mother and I always fancied this beautiful old home designed in the Federal Revival style with its white clapboard, black shutters and red brick masonry features and white picket fence. The Nashua Historical Society purchased the home in the late 1970s, and it now serves as a treasured house-museum.

The prestigious home was also once owned by Daniel Abbot, who played a prominent role in establishing the Nashua Manufacturing Co. (the city’s first cotton mill). Abbot earned the nickname “Father of Nashua,” and it’s an appropriate title for the man who brought the textile industry and much economic success to the Gate City.

Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at