HINSDALE, N.H. -- The Colonel Ebenezer Hinsdale House was recently added to the State Register of Historic Places, affirming the building's significance to New Hampshire's storied character.
Addition to the register is an honor for anyone associated with a place or structure of historical value and serves as a pre-qualification for a variety of some grants and financial assistance or relief in the application of access, building and safety codes.
John Smith, the president of the Hinsdale Historical Society, which holds its monthly and quarterly meetings at the house, said it is gratifying to know the property's importance has been validated by New Hampshire.
"It is a big achievement. A fair amount of effort went into the background work to get this designation," he said, adding that the historical society had to show a timeline of ownership and prove the house's historical and architectural significance.
There are roughly 40 acres of land associated with the house, which Smith said has three bedrooms, a bathroom, servants' quarters, kitchen, office, ballroom, formal parlor and informal parlor.
Elizabeth Muzzey, a state historic preservation officer and director of the Division of Historical Resources (which is part of the state Department of Cultural Resources), said something is added to the state register when it is proven to be important to the history of its community in some way.
"Either for the stories it tells (or if) it connects us to people who have made a difference," she told the Reformer. "(The Colonel Ebenezer Hinsdale House) is something we would hate to see escape from the landscape of New Hampshire."
Muzzey said buildings aren't the only things added to the state register, as the list includes objects, historic sites, engineering structures, bandstands and cemeteries. She said the state register was established for significant sites and structures in New Hampshire in 2001 and to more broadly open the categories of the National Register of Historic Places.
Smith said the Hinsdale House was built by its namesake (and that of the town) in 1759. Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale was an ordained minister and veteran of the French and Indian War. Though it is unknown if Hinsdale ever resided at the house, it was definitely used for defense purposes during the war and as a trading post.
Ownership of the house transferred to Hinsdale's wife after his death before it was bestowed upon a relative named Anna Hunt Marsh, the wife of Vermont Lt. Gov. Jonathan Hunt and the woman who willed the money used to form what is now the Brattleboro Retreat. The parcel of land and the house was provided as a dowry when Marsh got married.
Ownership eventually transferred to the Liscom family, which maintained possession of it until 1998, when Don and Linda Parsells acquired it and did the primary restoration. Smith said Don Parsells decided after his wife died that the Hinsdale Historical Society should have the building if it could generate the funds to purchase it.
"He didn't want it used for anything but historical uses," Smith said of Don Parsells.
Major fundraising was held and the house was purchased for about $450,000, Smith said.
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