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Tour shares the history of Gilford Village houses

Kathy Lacroix from the Thompson-Ames Historical Society and Kayleigh Mahan from the Gilford Public Library describe the different buildings on the historic walking tour of Gilford Village. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
August 08, 2018
A group of visitors learned about the historic houses lining Gilford Village in a special tour hosted by the Gilford Public Library and Thompson-Ames Historical Society.

On Friday morning, a group of around 20 people took part in a historical walking tour of Gilford Village, starting from the library and down Belknap Mountain Road that covered a number of historical buildings and homes. The tour included publicly accessible buildings like the Belknap Mountain Grange, the Union Meetinghouse, the Benjamin Rowe House, and the SAU office and old library. There were also a number of private homes included in the tour as well.

Kathy Lacroix, education coordinator for the Historical Society, and Kayleigh Mahan, assistant librarian at the Gilford Public Library, led the tour and gave descriptions for each of the buildings.

The tour ended with the Benjamin Rowe House, where visitors could take a look inside the ell section of the building that is currently being renovated.

Mahan came up with the idea for the tour, saying she wanted to do an activity that was outside the library. She asked the Thompson-Ames if they would be interested in collaborating on this and the society said yes.

Mahan said a lot of people live in the village and have no idea of the history of the different buildings.

She said she wanted to keep the information basic and present it in a way people could understand. Much of the tour's information was based on the pamphlet "A Walking Tour of Gilford" created by the Gilford Village Historic District in 1990.

A guidebook was compiled and given to the participants with photos of the buildings today taken by Mahan and Donna Schinlever from the Historical Society.

This was the first ever tour, and Lacroix said the society would be open to doing this again sometime.

"People were interested in wanting to know instead of taking it for granted," Lacroix said.

Lacroix said there were so many little details in the buildings that she herself hadn't given much thought to, such as the boot scrapers on front steps where people would scrape off the mud from the dirt road.

Mahan said it was also good to do this around Old Home Day and give people more information of the historical values of the village. She said she would love to do a tour that included more building in the village.

The library regularly collaborates with the Thompson-Ames, aiming to do at least one or two programs a year with them. They will also be collaborating on the coming presentation in September on the sheep boom if the 19th century by Steve Taylor.

"We try to stay working with them because we have the same goals," Mahan said.

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