RESEARCHING THE HISTORY OF A BUILDING IN CONCORD, NH

Finding out more about the history of your building – when it was built and who has owned it – can be a fascinating process. Since many of the city’s older buildings have been inventoried already, it makes sense to check the inventory first, for basic information and a starting point for further research if desired.

  1. Check the Concord historic building inventory to see if the property was surveyed. The inventory is filed at:
  2. Check National Register of Historic Places nominations (available at NH Division of Historical Resources, Concord Room or NHHS). Again, NHDHR has the most complete files.
NB: Both the National Register nominations and the building inventory will soon be available on the web, accessed via the city’s web site.

If the building is not listed on the Register and has not been inventoried, try the following:

  1. Locate the building on Concord’s historic maps (at Concord Room and NHHS), published in 1827 (shows Main Street area), 1846 (Fisherville – now Penacook), 1851 (downtown and surrounding neighborhoods), 1858, 1868 (downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as Penacook), 1875 (bird’s eye view of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods), 1886 (bird’s eye view of Penacook), 1892 and the various Sanborn fire insurance company maps, published variously 1869-1965.
  2. If the map gives the name of the owner, look the owner up in the appropriate city directory (published nearly annually 1832 onward). The directory will give the owner’s address and occupation. Go backwards to see when the owner is first listed in the directory at that address. Directories published after 1930 are indexed not only by surname, but by street address.
  3. Go to the Registry of Deeds and look up the earliest owner available in the grantee index to determine when he purchased the property (and if a building was standing then). Then look him up in the city directory for that year to determine his occupation.

You should now have good basic information, but if you are ambitious, the following can also be checked, in no particular order:

NB: To best determine the date of a house, the historical record should be complemented by a visual inspection of the building (typically exterior will suffice) to be certain it was not replaced at some point, as that often is not reflected in the written record.

Prepared by Elizabeth Durfee Hengen, Historic Preservation Consultant, 2004