Former Selectmens Office

Former Selectmens Office

Site: N08-118
Municipality: Cornish, NH
Location: School Street, Cornish Flat
Site Type: Miscellaneous.



"While the town was generally well satisfied with the Town House as a place for a full meeting of the town, there existed a pressing need of a place to safely deposit the accumulating records, books, papers, etc., belonging to the town. With every change of town clerk these valuables were shifted to a new home, incurring more or less risk of damage and loss. A large safe was provided by the town for the most valuable portion of its documents; but this afforded only a partial solution of the difficulty, as its capacity was insufficient for its requirements, and this cumbrous article had to migrate to the home of the newly elected clerk, there to remain until his successor was chosen Then, again, a convenient room for the selectmen to meet in for the transaction of the town's business was much needed."(11)

Because the Perfectionist Meetinghouse lacked all the accoutrements necessary for the Town House, the 1886 town meeting agreed to appropriate $800 to construct a Record Building. Thus the former Selectmen's Office was born. Child continues, noting that it was "a small brick building, containing all needful safety vaults, library cases, etc., with a commodious selectmen's room in front, with all necessary furnishings." The beautiful safe Child mentions is still there today. It was a Steam Fire Proof safe the town purchased in Boston for $300 from the American Steel Safe Company. It had previously been in the Boynton Brother's store, which has subsequently been "the E. P. Brown store, then A. C. Thornton's, and now the Schad building.(12)
In 1895, to the tune of $450, the town added an annex onto the Record Building "furnishing the only 'lock-up' belonging to the town. Its chief use has been to accommodate certain moneyless traveling gentry, called tramps, with cheap lodgings, crackers and cheese moistened with 'Adam's Ale,' all at the expense of the town. Sometimes this institution receives its share of patronage, but has no constant boarders."(13) Recent "boarders" in the jail have been Paul LaClair, who used it as a Civil Defense office, and Bernice Johnson, who moved the town clerk's office to it in the late 1970s. In the annex's centennial year, then, the town clerk's office moved with the selectmen to the new office building, with its rich religious and secular history.(14)
(Source 156:75)