The Complex

1778 Clark House

The South Wolfeboro Firehouse Replica

1820 Hampton Beach Barn

1805 Pleasant Valley School

 

 


Clark Museum Complex

The Clark Museum Complex, consisting of four buildings.

Clark House

This house was built in 1778, the builder unknown. It remains on its original foundation and was once the family home of a 100-acre working farm that extended from South Main Street to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Joseph Clark purchased the house in 1817 from the widow Evans who used the house as a tavern. Taverns in those days were establishments for eating and sleeping as opposed to how we perceive taverns today. Joseph Clark was a cabinetmaker from Greenland, NH, a town near Portsmouth. Three generations of the Clark family lived in this house for one hundred years, from 1817 to 1917. The families were Joseph and Comfort Clark and children, Enoch and Sarah Clark and their 10 children, and finally, Greenleaf Clark, who was one of Enoch's sons.

In 1917 the house and remaining land were donated to the Town of Wolfeboro by Greenleaf Clark to be used as a living history museum. The ell and barn were taken off the property. We do not know what became of the ell, but the barn was moved to nearby Goodrich Road where it stands today.

A complete tour of the authentically furnished house includes: keeping room, morning room, dining room, parlor, two bedrooms and an unfurnished area full of curiosities.  

Schoolhouse

This one-room school was erected about 1805 in Pleasant Valley in South Wolfeboro. At one time, schools were given the name of the district where they were located. The Pleasant Valley School was located in District Three and was, for a time, known as the District #3 School. It was also known as the Townsend School because of its proximity to the home of Reverend Isaac Townsend, the first minister ordained in Wolfeboro.

A bell for the school was purchased by public subscription in 1898. It was 21 inches in diameter, weighed 100 pounds, and cost between $7 and $8. It was used as a fire alarm and to call worshippers to Sunday services. It was not used to summon children to school. The building was used for religious services more than any other local school until well into the late 1890's.

From the beginning years, repairs were necessary, one such repair required removal of the entire ceiling. One report states that there were no outside facilities, but that can be disputed by a picture on page 263 of the Bowers History, Volume II . When, indeed, no facilities were available, the children would go to the neighbor's farm. Drinking water had to be transported to the schoolhouse from a neighbor. 

A stove sat between the doors at the front of the room in a shallow box filled with five inches of sand. The stovepipe spanned the length of the room to the chimney in the rear. Heat for the room came from this pipe. 

The teacher's desk, made by a preacher/teacher was on a raised platform in the center of the room. The original benches were replaced in 1895 at a time of refurbishing. Some of those replacements are now in the Schoolhouse. All grades were taught in this room, with the number of students ranging from 20 to 50, depending on the time of year.

The Schoolhouse was moved to the Clark Museum Complex in 1959.

Firehouse

Volunteers from  WHS restored a number of antique fire-fighting pieces used in Wolfeboro dating from the mid 1800's. Two of these are "hand tubs" built by the Hunneman Company in Boston Mass.

Hand tubs were simple pumps "on wheels" consisting of a center pivoted lever connected to two pistons located in the water reservoir. Volunteers from the firehouse muster provided the power to move the pistons up and down using bars connected to the pivot lever. Mechanical valves working in conjunction with ballast tanks served to smooth the pressure applied to the water stream at the output. A picture of the "Carroll" hand tub is shown above.

Because the hand tub chassis was rigidly mounted and  the overall weight was in access of one ton it could not be safely drawn by horses. Rather, it had  to be pulled to the fire by members of the muster. Hard work indeed. 

Upon arrival at the fire scene, large intake hoses were placed in a local water source. Once the tub was primed and filled, output hoses up to 1000 ft long were linked to direct  the water stream at the fire. Hand tubs were used in Wolfeboro through the 1800's and up to the early 1900's, minimizing the losses to many homes and businesses.

Also at the Museum, on loan from Q. David Bowers, is a restored Amoskeag horse drawn fire engine. This engine uses a wood/coal fired burner to convert water to steam thereby providing a source of pressure to pump water though an output hose directed at the fire. This engine is truly a magnificent piece of machinery. While it was never used to fight fires in Wolfeboro, it is only one of 75 still in existence and it's exhibition alone is well worth the visit.

The Firehouse Museum also displays two restored hose carriers dating from the 1800's. One of these was hand drawn and carried up to 300 ft of hose. The other was horse drawn, carried up to 1000 ft of hose, and was fitted with either wheels or skis.

The Barn

Finally, the barn project, which started construction in 2006, has reached fulfillment as the OCCUPANCY PERMIT  WAS GRANTED, JULY 3, 2018.  

The preparation of exhibits has been completed over the last couple of years. A number of items are now on display which were hidden for decades in the back of the Schoolhouse, behind the Clark House chimney and in the Firehouse attic. Many people have also stepped forward with new donations of vintage items. 

The collection is an eclectic display of items including things normally found in an agricultural area, items related to the trades and industries in the local area, items found in the house and a few oddities dating from the early 1800's into the mid'1900's. There is also an extensive cataloged library, house files and genealogical files which have been in use for several years as research requests are answered on a year-round basis. 

The Barn is a self-guided facility, with signage explaining the exhibit items when needed. Personnel will be available to answer questions and provide further explanation. 

Restrooms, including handicapped accessible, are in the Barn.

 


Plan Your Visit

The Town of Wolfeboro will not allow the buildings to open for the 2020 season. Some outdoor events are listed on the Events page. Also, see the Links Page for new Virtual Tours.


Admission Fees

Adults  $4 

Students $2

Children under 12, active military  FREE

Members & Guests   FREE


Location

233 South Main Street

Wolfeboro, NH  03894

Across from Huggins Hospital

 


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The Wolfeboro Historical Society is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization
supported by volunteers, admissions, and generous contributions