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Benjamin Bean House open for tours Saturday as part of Bow History Day

  • The water spigot jug used by students in the 1920s is seen inside the old Bow Center schoolhouse, built in 1894, in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The teacher's desk is seen inside the old Bow Center schoolhouse, built in 1894, in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • A stone foundation wall is seen through brick arches in the basement of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Brick arches supporting the weight of multiple fireplaces are seen in the basement of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The dinning room of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, is seen in Bow on Tuesday.

  • Multiple fireplaces make up the core of the original section of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, as seen in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The original living room, now used more as a parlor, of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, is seen in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The fireplace in the dinning room of the Benjamin Bean Home, owned by Bill and Gisele Emerson, is seen in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bill and Gisele Emerson stand in a newer section of their home in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.The original house was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bill Emerson looks at an old barn foundation wall behind his home in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The old Bow Center schoolhouse, built in 1894, is seen in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Weathered but still visible, the etched date of Jan. 9, 1874, is seen on a stone that was part of a barn foundation behind the Benjamin Bean Home in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • The old Bow Center schoolhouse, built in 1894, is seen in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Bill Emerson opens a pocket shutter, or "Indian shutter", panel at his home in Bow on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The home was built in 1760 by Francis Carr and bought by militia Capt. Benjamin Bean in 1771. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Friday, June 22, 2018

When Bill Emerson was looking for a house in Bow during the real estate boom of the 1990s, affordability was his biggest concern. He knew that likely meant an old fixer-upper, but as a carpenter, he was fine with that. He snatched up a place in disrepair on White Rock Hill Road.

“It was a house I could afford. That’s how I purchased it, and it was an old house and I wanted an old house,” he said.

He learned snippets of the home’s history talking to the former owners and his neighbors, but the historical significance of the property didn’t hit Emerson and his wife Gisele until they came across the book 100 acres more or less: The history of the land and people of Bow, New Hampshire by David A Bundy.

“It had a picture of our house and we’re going, ‘Whoa, this is cool,’ ” Bill Emerson said.

The couple looked at the house differently from then on and tried to do some of their own research. They learned from various sources that the original house was built in 1760 by Francis Carr, Bow’s first constable. In 1771, it was sold to militia Captain Benjamin Bean, a veteran of the French and Indian War who went on to become a Bow selectman in 1775 and was with Gen. John Stark at the Battle of Bennington in 1777 during the Revolutionary War.

Over the years, the Emersons have approached renovations and additions on the home through the lens of history. They have continued preservation efforts of previous owners by keeping the oldest part of the house very much intact.

This Saturday, they are opening sections of what is known as the Benjamin Bean House to tours as part of a History Day event sponsored by the Bow Heritage Commission.

To stagger the number of visitors since the home has limited parking, the commission is organizing tours from the old schoolhouse on Bow Center Road. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, interested visitors are encouraged to come to the Bow Center Schoolhouse before going to the Benjamin Bean Home.

The school itself is full of history and will be open Saturday for the first time in two years. Built in 1894, the one-room building was moved by horse in 1924 to the Bow Center intersection from its original foundations in North Bow – though the exact location is up for debate.

“We have a lot of writings about exactly where it came from, but there’s some conflicts in the write ups,” said Secretary of the Bow Heritage Commission Faye Johnson. What has been decided is that “it was near the Concord/Bow line on the Bow side of the line near the end of the Branch Londonderry Turnpike on Clinton Street.”

By 1944, only 10 students were left in attendance and WWII factory labor demands had contributed to a shortage of teachers. The school was closed, and students were folded into the Bow Mills School, a much bigger four-room schoolhouse. Since then, an addition was added and the building has switched hands a few times, but is now owned by the town of Bow and is run as a museum by the Bow Heritage Commission. It’s the last of 14 one-room schools that once stood in town.

It’s filled with period appropriate furniture, including a spigot water jug used by students, and a desk believed to have been used by a former teacher, Maude Putney, who’s name is written on the chalkboard.

Questions about the event can be directed to Faye Johnson at (603) 228-8149. The Bow Men’s Club will also be offering lunch during part of the day at the schoolhouse for a suggested donation of $6.

During tours of the Bean Home, visitors will be able to walk through the main rooms of the original house that were most likely used as a living room, kitchen and bedroom.

“Woodwork in that part of the house is all original,” Bill Emerson said.

The original fireplaces are still there and the pocket shutters have been restored. The property features a stone engraved with the date 1874 and shed made from wood that belonged to the original barn, which is long gone.

The basement won’t be open, but two brick arches still support the chimney columns that form the core of the structure. Concrete now covers the original dirt floor and winter well that allowed former owners to draw water without going outside.

What’s not original has been updated in the fashion of the times, sometimes almost seamlessly because of the decorating of Gisele Emerson. She’s drawn to traditional paint schemes and the simple elegance of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Heirlooms hold special meaning to her, she said.

“I just love old primitive design. Love it. I just work off of it and I go antique shopping all the time,” she said.

If you go

What: Tours of the Benjamin Bean House

Where: Visitors are encouraged to come to the Bow Center Schoolhouse on Bow Center Road before going to the Benjamin Bean House.

When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Bow Men’s Club will also be offering lunch part of the day at the schoolhouse for a suggested donation of $6.

For more info: For more information: Questions about the event can be directed to Faye Johnson at 603-228-8149.