Clark Museum Complex
The Clark Museum Complex, consisting of four buildings.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.