Keene Heritage Commission
Click here to visit the Heritage Commission Web Page.
“It’s an extraordinary privilege to walk through one’s past in the present.”
Edie Clark, Yankee Magazine
PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE
The Keene Public Library, originally the Henry Colony house built in 1869,
given to the City of Keene by Edward C. Thayer in 1898.
In 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
. . . named Keene to “America’s Dozen Destinations” because of its commitment to historic preservation and attractive architecture.
. . . called Keene a “Currier and Ives comes to life . . . where pristine local landmarks, Revolutionary War reenactments, and bucolic rolling hills provide a perfect spot for family fun.”
. . . wrote, “Although its population is small, Keene is a giant when it comes to history" . . . and
. . . "because so many of the town’s earliest structures have remained unchanged for more than two centuries, it’s easy to get lost in time. Keene represents a truly distinctive slice of America. That makes it an exciting alternative to the homogenization of many other vacation spots.”
In 2005, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a White House initiative, named Keene a Preserve America Community, the first in the state to be so designated.
WHY PRESERVE OUR PAST?
“We are what we save from the past, and build for the future.”
Philip H. Faulkner, Jr.
St. James Episcopal Church on West Street, Keene, was constructed in 1864
“More and more economic developers and communities are grasping the importance of preserving our cultural and historic places as signposts of our authenticity, rich cultural heritage, and diversity in a world overrun with sameness.”
Peter Riviere, NH Economic Development Professional, NH Preservation Alliance News, Fall 2008
"It would Be worthwhile if in each town there were a committee appointed to see that the beauty of the town receive no detriment.”
Henry David Thoreau
Cheshire County Court House, circa 1858
Information is available on the Heritage Commission Web Page or by contacting the City Clerk’s office at 3 Washington Street, Keene, NH 03431, Telephone: 603.352.0133.
A map of the Historic District is available at the City's website or by contacting the Keene Planning Department (603.352.5474) or the Keene Code Enforcement Department (603.352.5440).
Historic architecture dots Court Street and Washington Street. Carriage barns were once a necessity and point of pride.
Can you match the carriage barns to the appropriate historic home? (Hint: The address will show if you hover over the photo)
Because of Keene’s commitment to historic preservation many of its earliest structures remain unchanged. Above are structures from the mid 1800’s to 1900’s typical of the many treasured historic homes of the area.
Carriage barns were essential to everyday life at the turn of the19th century. They housed the horse drawn carriages, possibly the horses, hay and tack. The architecture of the carriage barn often mimicked the style of the main house accentuating the elegance and wealth of its owner. Today these historic structures are often repurposed as garages, living quarters, shops, and artists’ studios. Even though the original concept of the carriage house as the indispensable element in transportation has faded, the term is still synonymous with ‘value.’