William Rossiter House

Site: N07-19
: Claremont, NH
: 11 Mulberry Street
Site Type
: House
: (Zone 18) E: 715125. N: 4805375
National Register Nomination Information:


The William Rossiter residence consists of three distinct connected buildings, preserving the visible changes of its architectural history. The original dwelling faces the street and was built during the Federal period, circa 1813; the ell was added during the Greek Revival period, 1830-1850, at which time major exterior changes were made to the original building; the two-stall garage was added in the early twentieth century.

The original building is an "I" house type, characteristically one room deep, two and a half stories high, and five bays wide. The building is of post and beam construction, it's structural members of hand-hewn pine. The roof was dramatically altered during the Greek Revival period to extend beyond the southeast elevation and form a monumental tetrastyle portico with wooden columns of the Doric order, that extend two stories high and support a full entablature. The front entrance consists of an eight paneled door with applied ogee moulding surrounded by two-thirds length sidelights, transom lights, fluted pilasters and a full entablature. Nearly all of the original twelve over twelve window sash have had the lower sash replaced with a late nineteenth century one light sash. Although this twelve Over one window treatment is seen consistently throughout the later additions, the muntins of the original building's twelve pane sash indicate an earlier construction. Two chimneys project behind the ridge and the roof's original wooden shingles have been replaced recently with asphalt shingling.

The interior of the original structure has undergone several changes. The best remaining examples of the original woodwork are the four Federal fireplace mantelpieces. Flat pilasters, as originally suggested by Asher 8enjamin's American Builder's Companion of 1806, support the delicate mantels. The fireplaces were built according to the recommendations of Count Rumford. The doors are also original to the Federal building, four fielded panels and ovolo mouldings distinguishing their age. They are hung by butt-hinges, and many retain their original Norfolk latches. Door frames have ogee-moulded backbands. Cornice moulding and baseboards with beading remain intact throughout the four rooms and entranceway. Hardwood floors, probably a mid-nineteenth century addition, and the sand-paint on the ceilings, a recent addition, are also seen throughout. The woodwork in the staircase suggests a form characteristic of the Renaissance Revival. The heavy newell-post has a square base and hexagonal column decorated with applied ornaments and a flattened urn finial. There are two balusters of typical late nineteenth century classical form per tread. Local legend states that this balustrade was added about 1890 when a local woodworking firm liquidated its stock. Two bathrooms have been recently added in the southwest rooms of the first and second stories.

During the Greek Revival period, the ell was added to the northwest elevation of the original building. The addition is four rooms square, two stories high, with a central stove chimney. The smaller addition projecting off the northwest wall of the ell appears to be contemporary with the ell. It serves as an entrance stairwell and porch on the second floor. The walls and ceiling of the stairwell are rendered in unpainted-beaded matchboarding.

The construction of the ell is lighter than the original building, yet still depends on the post and beam support system. The pine framing members were hand-hewn; circular saw marks are visible on other exposed members.

Greek Revival characteristics of the ell include simplicity and symmetry. Other exterior features include the use of echines moulding in the crown of the eaves, a window treatment similar to those in the original building, and a northeast entrance consisting of a small porch recently enclosed to create a study area.

Interior details include applied baseboards and simple crown moulding. The four paneled doors have raised panels with applied ogee moulding and plain frames. The floors are hardwood. Other than a recently modernized kitchen on the first story, the detailing in the ell remains intact.

Last to be added to the structure is a two-stall garage. The ceilings and walls of the separate stalls are rendered with unpainted-beaded matchboarding similar to that in the northwest entrance stairwell.


The William Rossiter house exhibits one of the most impressive Greek Revival porticoes in Claremont and surrounding area. The monumental classical temple form is amply embodied in this connected vernacular structure. As the house of the prosperous Claremont businessman, William Rossiter, it reflects certain sophisticated architectural elements that he used to "modernize" his home.

The house was built circa 1813 by Austin Tyler. William Rossiter, 1805 1860, owned the house. Rossiter was an active businessman in Claremont, New Hampshire, operating the Sullivan Woolen Mills. He served as a selectman in 1839, 1845, 1850, and 1852 and as a State legislator in 1842 and 1848.


History of the Town of Claremont, New Hampshire, by Otis F. R. Waite, 1885, pp. 65, 198, 201, 202, 308, 311, 347, 361, 459, 460 and 476.

FORM PREPARED BY: Wayne Bishop and Jack Kline, 11 Mulberry Street, Claremont, NH. Tel: 603-542-7980. Date: March 14, 1978.

DATE ENTERED: May 25, 1979.
(Source 27)