The "Willows" at North Beach

By John M. Holman, Hampton History Volunteer

Lane Memorial Library

The Willows at North Beach
"The Willows" at North Beach
"The Willows, one of the real old time summer boarding houses, was located on North Shore (Road) (now Cusack Road), and built a little less than 50 years ago. Four rooms of the original building are incorporated in the front of the house as it now stands. Also, the small ell of the original house is now attached to the rear of the present house.

"The original house was built around 1820 by Jonathan Leavitt, who was born in 1797 and died in 1843.

"Moses Leavitt, son of Thomas, married December 7, 1894, Sarah, daughter of Amos Towle and was a tailor in the central part of Hampton for a few years. Then having bought of John Elkins his new house on Nut Island (across from Bicentennial Park at North Beach), near the fish-houses at the beach, he removed thither and for many years kept a house of entertainment. He carried on fishing, farming, and owned and operated a grist-mill.

"His widow lived there alone until her death in 1885. Moses Leavitt, son of Amos T. Leavitt and grandson of Moses Leavitt, bought the place from her estate soon after her death and very soon after that, sold it to his son, Irvin E. Leavitt, who with his wife, ran a summer boarding house there for many years."

(From 'Views and Reviews of Old Rockingham' By Rev. Roland D. Sawyer, January 29, 1948, Hampton Union.)

Footnote 1: Alzena (Leavitt) Elliot is the daughter of Irvin E. and Agnes Leavitt, and is the wife of William ("Bill") Elliot, Hampton's famous "Singing Cop" of the 1940s and 50s.

Additional info: The Willows was located at 245 North Shore Blvd., although the site is now addressed as 23 Cossack Road and is occupied by the Ocean Willows condominiums. Irvin and Agnes Leavitt ran the Willows for much of the first half of this century, until Irvin's death in 1942.

Here are Agnes Leavitt (mother of Alzena, Mrs. William I. ["Bill"] Elliot of Hampton) and Maurice Lane, father of Christine (Lane) Judkins of Exeter. Maurice Lane was employed by Mrs. Leavitt. Here they are shown at "The Willows" in the photo.
[Photo courtesy of Jewell Sherburne Brown and Christine (Lane) Judkins.]

Footnote 2: The following information on "The Willows" was recently received by this writer from Jean L. MacCannell of 23 Cusack Road, Hampton, the original site of 'The Willows.':

"'The Willows' was located on North Beach Road and the name of the street was changed to Cusack Road in the 1970's. The Ocean Willows Condominiums were built in the 1980's by the Yameen family of North Andover, MA. During these years, "The Willows" was owned by Herb and Maude Irish. The Irishes were responsible for sub-dividing and selling all the land that became Seaview Avenue in 1947 (this runs between Cusack Road and North Shore Road.) and Willow Lane (A dead end street off North Shore Road) several years later in the 1950s. Several of the original homes on Seaview Ave. were moved over the road from the Greenlands (formerly known as Leavitt's Campgrounds.)

"Maude Irish lived at 'The Willows' for many years and many a summer employee at the beach rented rooms in the barn of 'The Willows.'

"After standing empty for several years, the property was sold to the Yameen family, who originally planned to build a restaurant at the location, but eventually built Ocean Willows Condominiums instead.

"Seeing the picture of 'The Willows,' a beautiful old farm house, set in a really rural area, reminds me how fast an area can change with development."