Franklin railroad bridges, Boscawen’s King Street on annual Seven to Save list

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890.

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890, a timber structure that rests on piers of cut granite and was in use until the early 1970s.

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890, a timber structure that rests on piers of cut granite and was in use until the early 1970s. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

The 1765 Winthrop Carter House on King Street in Boscawen.

The 1765 Winthrop Carter House on King Street in Boscawen. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890, a timber structure that rests on piers of cut granite and was in use until the early 1970s.

The trestle bridge in downtown Franklin was built in 1890, a timber structure that rests on piers of cut granite and was in use until the early 1970s. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Among the annual Seven to Save list are the 1.25-mile stretch of Routes 3 and 4 in Boscawen known as King Street, which it called “one of the densest collections of Federal houses in New Hampshire, outside Portsmouth.”

Among the annual Seven to Save list are the 1.25-mile stretch of Routes 3 and 4 in Boscawen known as King Street, which it called “one of the densest collections of Federal houses in New Hampshire, outside Portsmouth.” GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

The 1765 Winthrop Carter House on King Street in Boscawen.

The 1765 Winthrop Carter House on King Street in Boscawen. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 11-01-2023 4:10 PM

Modified: 11-01-2023 4:30 PM


Two bridges in Franklin and the historic stretch of King Street in Boscawen are among this year’s list of historic New Hampshire locations in danger of being lost, along with a number of overlooked “tramp houses” throughout the state.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance released its annual Seven to Save list, something it has been doing annually since 2006. The program does not provide direct funding but is designed to attract attention and resources to landmarks around the state that are under-used or threatened by neglect or development.

Among this year’s sites are the 1.25-mile stretch of Routes 3 and 4 in Boscawen known as King Street, which it called “one of the densest collections of Federal houses in New Hampshire, outside Portsmouth.”

The road was developed on “the Plains” between the late 1700s and early 1800s, giving character to Boscawen’s village.

“The town is struggling with balancing expected new uses and new investment with the architectural and land use elements that offer predictability and underlying character,” the Preservation Alliance wrote in its nomination. “A village overlay district calls for retention of historic fabric but has fallen short of its goals.”

Also on the list are two railroad bridges over the Winnipesaukee River in Franklin associated with the Mill City Park: The trestle bridge, built in 1890, a timber structure that rests on piers of cut granite and was in use until the early 1970s; and the Upside Down Covered Bridge, also known as the Sulphite Bridge, that is the “sole surviving deck-type railroad covered bridge in the United States.” Both carried railroad traffic on a spur line connecting the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad to the Northern Railroad.

Franklin was awarded a pedestrian improvement grant to upgrade for the Trestle Bridge but will probably have to chip in as much as $1 million toward the $5 million project.

The Upside Down Covered Bridge, so-called because its trusswork is underneath the rail bed instead of on top, is owned by the state Department of Transportation and listed to the National Registrar of Historic Places, but there are no plans for its rehabilitation.

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“By including these unique resources on the Seven to Save list, the Preservation Alliance hopes to be a bridge itself, connecting resources to city leaders, the Department of Transportation, and the local advocates who see the potential of these restored landmarks,” the Preservation Alliance said in a statement.

The list includes an unusual addition: A half-dozen small buildings built to care for vagrants between the 1870s and the 1930s, known as Tramp Houses.

“Towns would construct these simple buildings that contained cots and stoves (sometimes jail cells, if serving dual purpose), and were mandated by the state to provide food rations. These social services were itemized in town reports during this era. … Several towns are working to restore these buildings independent of each other, including Weare, Errol, Richmond, Grafton, Hill, and Kingston. Many others likely exist but have since been converted into storage sheds,” the Preservation Alliance wrote.

Other locations on the 2023 list are: Lord’s Tavern in Effingham; the Congregational Church in Orford; Town Hall and Maxfield Parrish stage set in Plainfield; and the La Salette Shrine in Enfield.