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Any discussion of important architecture in Walpole must begin with one of the most iconic building in town, the Walpole Academy. The Neoclassical style building was completed in 1831. Its design and construction, like so many of the buildings constructed in Walpole from 1830 to 1850, was attributed to Walpole’s own master builder Aaron Howland. The building is situated on a knoll overlooking the downtown on Main Street, a subtle allusion to the heightened position of the Parthenon of Athens, as it overlooks the city atop the acropolis. The building has a well-proportioned four-column Doric portico, with a Federal style louvered fan centered in the flush board façade and pediment. The columns support a full entablature, with architrave, frieze decorated with triglyphs, and a cornice with dentils. The louvered fan is a detail leftover from the Neoclassical style that had dominated building for the previous thirty years in Walpole, and the cupola harkens back to an earlier time as well. While the Academy is overwhelmingly Greek in style and detail, like so many of Walpole’s buildings, it features details from more than one architectural period. The building served as the town’s high school until 1950, and today serves as the Walpole Heritage Museum -- the home of the Walpole Historical Society.
-- Bill Ranauro
This is the first in a series of profiles of significant architecture in Walpole. Many of the buildings described in this series can be found in Frontier Elegance: The Early Architecture of Walpole, New Hampshire 1750 – 1850 by Bill Ranauro.
Greetings and best wishes for your good health!
Although we are distant from each other, we at the Historical Society thought a weekly email with a story, thought, fact, or question would be fun. Each Wednesday we will be sending you a step along an architectural tour of Walpole. And starting next week, we will add a second story on another topic. We hope you enjoy this series! As always, we welcome your thoughts and ideas for other historical topics - just reply to this email.