"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, July 17, 2017

French-Taylor Building Open House. Who Was James E. French?

Another open house was held this past Saturday at the town owned Taylor building, to allow interested members of the public to walk through the property and learn about the history and features of the building. It was hosted by the Moultonboro Heritage Commission.
The property is being billed as the French-Taylor building in honor of James E. French ( 1845-1919) who owned the building and made numerous changes to it , including the addition of a second story,  around the turn of the 19th century.

 In a time when the NH Legislature was controlled by the larger and more prosperous cities to the south such as Concord, Manchester and Nashua, French was able to gain unprecedented power and influence representing a small community in the Lakes Region as the oldest serving member of the legislature having been sent back to Concord year after year by local voters. He also served as a NH State Senator. In addition to having served on many important committees, he was also the district collector for the US Internal Revenue Service for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

He was also a mover and shaker in Moultonboro. According to this article from the Moultonboro Historical Society  James E. French Jr. was born in Tuftonboro in 1845, and moved to Moultonboro at age six. He was educated in the “common schools” of our town and at the New Hampshire Conference Seminary in Tilton, the predecessor of Tilton School. He was “engaged in the mercantile business at Moultonborough” from 1869 to 1884, when he retired to pursue politics. He continued to own the store, however, and it operated under the management of Hamlin Huntress. He was elected town clerk in 1870, and was both moderator and treasurer for 40 years, and chairman of the school board 18 years. He was postmaster from 1873-1884. He was also a Mason, a member of the Grange, and attended the Methodist Church. He sold insurance, and was a Justice of the Peace.

James E. French

French-Taylor Building Circa 1870.

Taylor Property Today.

As I walked through the property, the first thing I noticed was that much of it looks as it did around 1900, with unpainted beautiful wood trim and flooring throughout. It was not pristine of course, but in remarkably good condition. 

Bedroom on second floor 

View onto Whittier Highway from second floor.

Numerous examples of these old light fixture throughout the house as well as " antique" door knobs and hardware.

Beautiful claw foot tub in upstairs bathroom.

Built in cabinetry in upstairs bathroom

Very old stenciling in a bedroom closet

Entry Hall

Exquisite glass window on front door. Unfortunately, the other side of the front door was
 missing a sister window which was broken during a recent Moultonboro Fire Department training exercise.

Stairway to the second floor
What will ultimately become of this property is still an unknown. I am not a fan of the arbitrary 90 day deadline imposed by the BoS to the Heritage Commission to decide it's fate. There is no rush and no pressing need to do anything with the property. The roof damage was covered by insurance so repairs, while not perhaps aesthetically pleasing, would keep the building water tight.

Moultonboro has traditionally taken a slow approach to just about everything and the future of this historic property should be no exception.  Lets get it right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I recall the BoS minutes correctly, a potential buyer has looked at the property. What are the building code deficiencies that must be corrected prior to receiving an occupancy permit. Is the barn in such poor condition t must be torn down?