maintains the tradition of the New England Town Meeting Day and has
done so every year since 1803 when construction of its Meetinghouse was
completed. No other building in New Hampshire has held as many Town Meetings as
We are rehabilitating this historic building within the Secretary of the
Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings in order that
we continue this tradition. We welcome donations to assist in this work.
Donations can be sent to
The Langdon Heritage Commission
122 NH Rte 12A, Box 4
Langdon, NH 03602
The Langdon Meetinghouse is a 2-1/2 story timber-framed building measuring
40 by 50 feet. Construction of the Langdon Meetinghouse was begun in 1801,
and was completed in 1803. It has a gabled roof, hand-hewn roof trusses,
post-and-beam framing, clapboard siding, and a slate roof. It originally
featured porches on the two ends of the building that covered sets of stairs
that led up to a gallery on the east, west and south walls which were open
to the main floor below.
In 1819 New Hampshire enacted the Toleration Act mandating strict separation
of church and state. At the local level this meant our Meetinghouse could no
longer serve as the venue for religious services. It also meant no taxation
in support of ministers. It took awhile for NH towns to comply. In 1851 the
Universalists purchased the first ten feet of the first floor and the
gallery on the second floor. Renovations took place that caused the porches,
galleries, and box pews, to be removed. A second floor was installed in the
opening between the galleries. The box pews were removed from the
downstairs. It is unclear if they were moved upstairs or new box pews were
constructed. A steeple was added at this time. Beginning in 1851, the first
floor was used for town business, and the second floor was used for worship
by the Universalist Society. The worship space on the second floor has
remained virtually unchanged since 1851.
Langdon residents have appreciated the role Meetinghouse has had in their lives.
It began as both a place of worship and the seat of town government. It is still
used as the center of social and community activities. While the second floor is
no longer used for regular worship nor the first floor as its town hall, Langdon
has continuously used its Meetinghouse for town meetings, and holds the record
for the most consecutive town meetings in the same building in the United
States. Recent rehabilitation has increased its use by the public.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The New Hampshire Division of
Historical Resources (Moose Plate), The Land and Community Heritage Investment
Program (LCHIP), the NH Charitable Foundation, the Terra Nova Foundation and
Langdon’s citizens have all recognized the historic value of this early example
of a New England meeting house and have made contributions for its repair.
The Langdon Meetinghouse was honored by the New
Hampshire Preservation Alliance when it was placed on their Seven
to Save list of the most endangered Granite State properties. This
designation recognizes historic sites and buildings that are important to the
landscape and heritage of the state of New Hampshire. In January, 2009, the
Langdon Meetinghouse received a Commendation from
New Hampshire's Governor, John Lynch.
In 2008 and
2009 a long range master plan for the building was developed by the Langdon
Heritage Commission with the assistance of the late and noted historic
structures architect Richard M. Monahon Jr. AIA of Peterborough, NH. Within that
plan there are several projects that over time will bring the entire building
into a state of usefulness. Through the support of the town and the larger New
Hampshire community much has already been accomplished. A timeline of the key
rehabilitation accomplishments of the LHC along with the town of Langdon and in
accord with the Meetinghouse master plan is as follows: :
Langdon Heritage Commission Formed, Initial Fundraising Begins
2008: Structural Assessment & Repair of Truss and Rafter System
In 2008, the LHC was asked by the town to coordinate a structural assessment of
the building. A structural engineer identified a safety concern in an area of
broken collar tie, rotted trusses and rafters. Under the direction of the LHC
and at a cost of about $8,000 from town funds, these structural problems were
repaired by Griffin Construction Company of Langdon, NH.
Major Fundraising and Foundation Replacement
Thanks to a combination of grants from LCHIP ($99,600), the Marquis George
MacDonald Fund ($3,000), the Terra Nova Fund ($500), the NH Electric Coop
Foundation ($2,000), Landscapes by Jay Grant (in-kind donation $30,000 of heavy
equipment use), donations from “the foot by foot” fundraiser and town warrant
article funding ($29,100) in 2009 and 2010, LHC completed the replacement of the
building’s failing fieldstone and granite slab foundation in October 2010. The
original but failing foundation was replaced by a continuous concrete
foundation. The entire structure was lifted about eight feet off its foundation
in order that a partial basement be dug, rubble removed, footings installed and
concrete walls poured. All Seasons Construction of Springfield was the general
contractor. Not one window pane was broken in the process of lifting or lowering
the structure. Dozens of companies and individuals donated or discounted time,
services and materials for the project, including All Seasons Construction,
architect Richard Monahon, Brendan’s Concrete, Cold River Materials, Woodell &
Daughters Forest Products, Rodney Campbell (clerk of the works), LaValley
Building Supply, Geddes Moving Company, St. Pierre Construction, David Barton ,
Dennis McClary and Landscapes by Jay Grant.
An LCHIP grant in March 2011 for $7,987 partially funded the replacement of the
failing chimney. LHC raised funds to match the grant. This project made possible
the future installation of a new, quieter and more efficient heating system
during a later phase.
2011-12 Bathroom, Septic and Well Project
An LCHIP grant in December 2011 for $10,725 helped fund the construction of a
bathroom on the first floor, a new well, and new septic system. Additional funds
from private donors also supported this important step.
2013: Fundraising and Architectural Plans
The NH Charitable Foundation funded the development of architectural plans and
building specifications for rehabilitation of the first floor in order that it
meet Fire Code, ADA and Polling Place requirements.
Selectboard budgeted and completed the much needed painting of the building
exterior this past summer. The windows were glazed and washed. The Langdon sign
was restored and many clapboards were replaced.
Langdon Resident, Rodney Campbell donated his carpentry skills to repair all of
the meetinghouse benches.
Installation of New Furnace
Per order of the Selectmen a new, quieter, more efficient heating system was
installed in the newly constructed basement. Funding for this project was
provided by the Town’s building maintenance budget.
2015-2016: Rehabilitation of the First Floor
This phase of work addressed barrier free access and code compliance, through
the removal of several interior partitions and the addition of a code compliant
ADA parking area, access ramp and door. The LHC received a Round 13 grant of
$53,324 to continue to rehabilitate the Langdon Meetinghouse which also included
significant interior repairs of walls, ceilings and floors. Funds in our account
($12,896) (Includes $2000 Savings Bank Walpole, $2000 NH Charitable Foundation),
Moose Plate Grant ($10,000), Town of Langdon Warrant Article ($16,580),
Landscapes by Jay Grant in-kind donation ($13,000). The work is based off the
2009 recommendations of Rick Monahon and described in greater detail by UK
Architects the supervising architects for this First Floor Project. The removal
of the walls not only allowed the Town to address code requirements but also
brought the first floor a bit closer to its original 1801 design. Dozens of
companies and individuals donated or discounted time, services and materials for
the project, including Griffin Construction, Young Electric, Taylor Welding,
and Landscapes by Jay Grant.
Also in 2016 the Langdon Heritage Commission was awarded the prestigious New
Hampshire Preservation Alliance Achievement Award for the rehabilitation of
2017: Selective repair and/or replacement of the failing clapboards and trim
LCHIP Grant was awarded to the Town for the repair/replacement of clapboards on
the Meetinghouse. Some of the clapboards likely date back to 1803. We know this
from the nails, the hand “riven” boards, the close grain of slow growing, old
growth eastern white pine and the shortness of the boards.
The building was repainted at this time.
2018: With the help of a local volunteer and historic documents expert we
are gathering all the documentation and photographs required to apply the
National Park Service for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
We think we have a good chance!