Merrimack County Bank
Merrimack County Bank / Old Historical Society Building in Concord, New Hampshire
Backstory and Context
A noteworthy survivor of Concord's early history, the 1826-built bank building, stands in the town's "old North end" on Main Street and is an excellent example of a multi-story Federal-period commercial edifice. Though the building initially functioned as a bank in 1826, lawyers already maintained offices on its second floor. Its most famous resident was a young Franklin Pierce, who went on to serve as a General in the Mexican War, a United States Senator for New Hampshire, and in 1853, President of the United States.
The building also stands as a monument to local literature. In 1840, the New Hampshire Historical Society moved into the building and maintained a library of its collected works on the third story. In 1869, the Historical Society purchased the building and used it as both a museum and library. The library eventually moved into a newer space, but the New Hampshire Historical Society maintained its museum in the historic building until 1952.
Additionally, Dr. Nathaniel Bouton, historian, and pastor of the First Congregational Church (established, 1824), maintained his study in the building. Dr. Bouton published in 1856 a history of Concord in a book that enjoyed a lengthy title: The history of Concord, from its first grant in 1725, to the organization of the city government in 1853, with a history of the ancient Penacooks. The whole interspersed with numerous interesting incidents and anecdotes, down to the present period, 1885; embellished with maps; with portraits of distinguished citizens, and views of ancient and modern residences. 'This shall be written for the generations to come.'
In 1952, the Christian Mutual Life Insurance Company acquired the building and subsequently restored the interior to its original Federal appearance. The company outgrew the building in the 1970s. Consequently, the insurance company sold it to the law firm of Gallagher, Callahan, and Gartrel, who continue to operate out of the building (as of 2019).
Lyford, James O., ed. "History of Concord, New Hampshire From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-Five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century,." City History Commission. Concord, New Hampshire. Accessed September 16, 2019. http://concordnh.gov/1047/Lyfords-History-of-Concord.
New Hampshire Historical Society. Accessed September 16th 2019. https://www.nhhistory.org/.
Page, Robertson. "Nomination Form: Merrimack County Bank." National Register of Historic Places. nps.gov. February 28, 1980. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/6a21c1ab-2d85-4485-8883-017c7f63b2bc
Wallner, Peter. Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire's Favorite Son. Concord: Plaidswede Publishing, 2004
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