Special issue looks at building of State House

  • “Granite State House” from the New Hampshire Historical Society. Courtesy

Published: 2/20/2019 5:05:02 PM

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of New Hampshire’s State House, James and Donna-Belle Garvin have written a history of the building published by the New Hampshire Historical Society.

The Granite State House is an 80-page issue that details the construction and renovations of the building. It includes early drawings and building plans, biographies of the people behind the construction and information from a cache of bills and receipts from the original project.

The Garvins have been conducting research on the state house since the 1970s when then-state archivist Frank C. Mevers discovered in the New Hampshire Division of Archives and Records Management a forgotten hoard of documents related to the construction of the original state house.

The building itself has a fascinating history that goes far beyond the gold dome that shines over the state capital and serves as a symbol for so many New Hampshire businesses and organizations. The structure bears the marks of its three major building phases – the initial construction in 1816-19 and two expansion projects in 1864-66 and 1909-10. Each phase introduced technological innovations and exemplified the finest artistic expression of its respective era. From its granite foundation to the golden eagle perched atop its dome, the state house celebrates New Hampshire and reflects its history.

The building itself serves the same basic function today as it did when it first opened in 1819: to be the executive and legislative, as well as the ceremonial and symbolic, center of state government.

In the eyes of citizens and visitors alike, the N.H. State House represents the essence of the state and its government through the centuries.

The publication is an issue of Historical New Hampshire available as part of New Hampshire Historical Society membership. Copies are also available for purchase at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park St., Concord, or the State House Visitor Center, and online at nhhistory.org.

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