History Saved 4: The Farley Building in Hollis, New Hampshire

Current Picture of the Farley Building in Hollis New Hampshire

The Farley Building in Hollis, New Hampshire (Hollis Historical Society)

Good news . . . the Farley Building in Hollis, New Hampshire is being stabilized for future restoration.  It was featured in the 2011 “Seven to Save” by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance:

Built in the Italianate style, with a symmetrical facade and tall bell-tower surmounting the gabled roof, this former school has undergone several alternations since its construction in 1877. It has been vacant since 2005 and despite roof leaks, is in sound condition.

Here is more on the history of the Farley Building from the Hollis Historical Society:

The history of the Farley building begain in 1874 as the town considered the consolidationo f their school district’s fourteen grammar schools to save money that might defray the expense of a high school. Building a high school was thought to be a benefit to the town by providing a local high school education, raising education standards and increasing property values. The town voted to buy land in the center of town and to build a new two-story school. The following year, Miss Mary Farley died and willed $10,000 to the town with the stipulation that a high school be built within two years of her death.

In 1877, the town of Hollis built a high school with the bequest of Mary Farley. The school was located on Main Street set back from the road on a long curved driveway lined with elm trees. The original building was constructed in the Italianate or American Bracketed style of architecture. It originally had a symmetrical facade two and a half stories high, clapboard siding, corner pilasters, wide cornices supported by pairs of decorative brackets, six over six double hung windows capped with pediments, and louvered shutters. Large windows provided ample light for classrooms, and a single story porch with ornate brackets at the top of its support posts sheltered the two front doors. The symmetrical look continued with three windows on the second floor, and two on the third all shuttered. The roof was crowned by a two-staged cupola with a flared roof and an elaborate metal crest and finials . . .

Original Picture of the Farley House in Hollis New Hampshire

Original Picture of the Farley House in Hollis New Hampshire (Hollis Historical Society)

The first notable change to the building was the 1904 addition. The addition was built on the north side of the school using a cross gable design. A third-floor dormer was added on the south side roof. The front doors were relocated and the front porch extended. The old District 8 schoolhouse was moved from the North end of town and attached to the rear of the building.

By 1920, crowded conditions created a poor learning environment in the elementary grades. In 1921 Hollis approved a two and a half story addition to the existing building. Four large rooms were built on the North side of the building for grades five, six, seven and eight, a high school science lab and a girl’s lunchroom. The project included internal improvements to heating, lighting, ventilation and sanitary facilities. Some classrooms were divided to allow the number of grades per classroom reduced from three to two . . .

The building footprint remained the same, however, the original aesthetics were modified for practical considerations. Many of the large windows were either boarded over or replaced with smaller more energy efficient sash units. The classic tower was damaged by lightning in 1958 and later removed. The bell in the bell tower was given away. Although the building underwent many interior changes that met new and developing educational standards, some original details remained. The character of the original 1877 building is evident in pressed patterned tin ceilings and walls, wainscoting, and slate blackboards.

Source: Hollis Historical Society

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