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Association Hall and Its History!

Part 1 of a 3 part interview with the engaging and historical mastermind Dr. Mark Mastromarino. He fills me in on all the prior uses and businesses that have been in the building that now proudly houses my shop :



 

Some of my customers have asked me about the building I’m in, either after looking up at the tin ceilings or admiring the original front windows. I sat down with my friend Dr. Mark Mastromarino, Pinkerton Academy’s school historian and the person who helped get this building on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places in 2021 to learn more about the history of the building at 1 Pinkerton Street. This summer, Mark plans on opening a bookstore in a shared space on the first floor featuring local history and used books for sale and an exhibit on the history of Derry Village.

 

LM: I know the name of the building is called Association Hall, but I don’t know why.

 

MM: The Association Hall was built in 1875 as a social hall and commercial venue by an association of local investors who each purchased 36 shares of stock at $100 each. Local mill owner Hazen R. Underhill, dairy magnate Harvey Perley Hood I, and prominent lawyer Greenleaf C. Bartlett were all members of the new corporation. Its purpose was to buy land in Derry Village and construct and rent out a commercial building on it. The vacant lot they purchased was originally granted to settler James Gregg in 1720. The 1822 house and store that was purchased by Leonard Brickett in 1855 burned in 1870.

 

LM: So the building was originally a money-making venture. Who were some of its earlier commercial tenants?

 

MM: Samuel H. Bell’s drugstore on the west side of the first floor (Unit C), opened in 1879, was the most successful, but he eventually moved downtown to East Broadway. From 1893 to 1897 Derry Village had its own post office, which was located in that space. Advertisements in the Derry News (first published by Bartlett in an office in the Village in 1880) provide evidence of several dressmakers shops and millineries, a cobbler, and Brown’s Bakery as tenants. The sign for the bakery appears in old photos. The temple of St. Mark’s Lodge of Freemasons took up the entire third floor (note the restored square and compass symbols applied to the triangular pediments of the third-floor windows). The lodge also moved to East Broadway in West Derry in 1924, across Boyd Road from the current Derry Public Library.

 

LM: Who else owned the building before Muharem[Mahmutovic of Manchester] purchased it in 2018?

 

MM: Before the original Derry Building Company, Inc., dissolved in 1925 it had mortgaged half of the property in 1883to Alexis Proctor. Greenleaf K. Bartlett, son of one of the original incorporators, purchased the other half in 1888 when the mortgage was foreclosed. He sold his half to the Central Congregational Church for a parish house and social center. In 1922, the church purchased the other half of the property, and it was under the care of the church’s Ladies Benevolent Society until sold in 1971. Five other owners were unable to make a go of it before Muharem bought the property from the bank, as another mortgage on it was foreclosed.

 

For more, see Mark’s article “Association Hall’s New Lease on Life” on pp. 6–7 in Pinkerton Academy’s Spring 2019 Alumnusmagazine athttps://www.pinkertonacademy.org/uploads/files/The_Alumnus/Spring-2019-Pinkerton-Alumunus.pdf?v=1656522273602.

 


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