Milford’s Laurel/Abbott Schoolhouse Added to the NH State Register of Historic Places

scout house

Once one of eight district schoolhouses in Milford, the Abbott/Laurel Schoolhouse was built circa 1862 and served children in grades one through three until 1952. A typical New England 19th-century one-room schoolhouse, the gable-front 1-1/2 story building still has two walls covered by slate blackboards set low for primary school-aged children to reach. It has served as the “Scout House” for Boy Scout Troop #4 – considered the oldest continually active Boy Scout Troop in New Hampshire – for seventy years.  

The Schoolhouse nomination was researched, documented and submitted by Milford’s Heritage Commission.  The Commission is actively working to assess and restore the Abbot/Laurel Schoolhouse.  Inclusion on the State Register of Historic Places qualifies the building for matching grant funds from the NH Preservation Alliance.

Built circa 1880, Atkinson’s Center School is the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in town, operating until 1949 and primarily educating children in grades one through three. Its gable front has two entrances – one for boys and one for girls – and a full-width shed-roof porch. By 1918, when increasing the natural light in schoolrooms was recommended, a bank of windows was installed on the west side of the building, a feature often seen in rural New Hampshire schoolhouses. 

The William Swain Property in Gilmanton includes an expansive hayfield, English barn, building foundations and hardwood forest with trails; together, they illustrate the evolving agricultural use of the land beginning in the early part of the 19th century. Its flax retting pond, one of the only such known ponds to still exist in New Hampshire, has a large slightly submerged stone platform that prevented the flax from touching the pond’s muddy bottom during the linen production process.

The South Burying Ground in Sharon contains the graves of many of the town’s well-known and earliest settlers. There are 153 marked graves, many with initialed footstones; the oldest date is marked 1795 and the most recent is dated 1948. South Burying Ground’s rural design elements include a stonewall on all four sides, a white wooden gate, and gravestones with both winged soul effigies and urns and willows which were common in the late- 18th and early-19th centuries.

Sharon’s North Burying Ground was established in 1834 and the last of its 79 known burials is dated 1927. Originally known as “New” Cemetery, it has Sharon’s only receiving vault. A cut granite wall extends along the burying ground’s roadside and the other walls are piled fieldstone. In keeping with rural burying grounds of the 19th century, most markers are slate and marble; there are five slate monuments approximately four- to seven-feet tall.

Anyone wishing to nominate a property to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places must research the history of the nominated property and document it on an individual inventory form from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Having a property listed in the Register does not impose restrictions on property owners. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr.

New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit us online at nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling 603-271-3483.