Students Take On Blacksmith Shop As Project

Winnacunnet High School Historical Society

By Martha Hamilton, Staff Writer

The Portsmouth Herald, Saturday, April 4, 1970

[The following article is courtesy of The Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online.]
The Winnacnnnet High School Historical Society stood proudly in front of the old blacksmith shop (above) which the club is restoring for the Winnacunnet Plantation Restoration Project. From left to right in the front row are Susan Yuskiewicz and Jane Ouellet, both of Hampton Falls; Melanie A. Holman, Julia Brown and Carol Cummings, all of Hampton. Standing behind the girls are advisors Richard Montgomery, left, and Harold E. Fernald, right, both of the social studies department of the high school.

HAMPTON -- The old blacksmith shop looked as if a strong wind would leave it a pile of boards. It came to Meetinghouse Green, located near Winnacunnet High School, with 18 inches of dirt and iron pieces on the floor. But, it was just what the Winnacunnet High School Historical Society wanted.

The club carefully sifted every bit of the dirt and found pewter spoons, nails, hoof-nippers. harnesses, horseshoes and other artifacts left when the shop was closed down about 60 years ago.

The old forge and tools were still in the shop, too.

Every object found was catalogued and saved, to be put on display when the shop is restored.

The blacksmith shop is part of the Winnacunnet Plantation Restoration Project of the Hampton Historical Society. The goal for the project is a street about 100 yards long with six small craftsman's shops. The street will be called Ormsby Street, after the English town of Ormsby from which the founders of Hampton came.

The high school club has made the blacksmith shop its personal project. Besides cleaning out the building the club will paint it, set up displays and act as guides when the shop is completed.

Harold Fernald, chairman of the club and social studies teacher at Winnacunnet, said of the projected restoration, "We're starting small and staying small."

He went on to explain that the project, as a whole, is not for the purpose of restoring specific buildings of historical value but, rather, to show how people in a rural community worked during the pre-Civil days.

It is hoped that craftsmen can be found to demostrate the old tools and work in the shops for the benefit of guided tours.

The blacksmith shop has been donated to the project at a cost of $1 for 25 years. It is the property of John and Clifton Philbrick and was moved from their Rye farm, where it had been a working shop until 60 Years ago.

Besides the blacksmith's shop, an 1854 one-room schoolhouse with displays and Tuck Memorial Museum are already located on the green.

The next craftsman's shop will be a print shop, made from a building belonging to the Toppan family in Hampton.

The director of the Winnacunnet Plantation Restoration Project is Cleon Ross of the Hampton Historical Society.

The project will represent Hampton and its daughter towns and the buildings will all be from these towns.