Nineteenth century sources refer to the area at the junction of Route 111 and North Lowell Road as "the Centre" and for apparent good reason. This district, which today includes the Town Hall, the Armstrong Memorial Building (formerly housing Nesmith Library), the Bartley House (currently housing the Town's Planning Office), the stone front fire station, the Town Pound, and the Windham Presbyterian Church, actually is located at the approximate geographic center of the Town of Windham.
Building Architecture & History
With the exception of the fire station, which dates from the late 1940's, each of the buildings located in the district is of eighteenth or nineteenth century vintage. Several of the buildings share Greek Revival-style architectural elements. For example, the Presbyterian Church boasts many features of mid-nineteenth century Greek Revivalism. In addition, the Bartley House, destroyed by fire on April 7, 1856 and rebuilt, is of Greek Revival heritage.
The Windham Town Hall was first erected as a meetinghouse in 1798, marking not only the geographic, but also the civic center of the town. The building, which is one of the earlier surviving meeting houses in the state, was used for many years for town meetings and religious services. By 1834, the Presbyterian congregation decided to build its own church nearby, dedicating the Presbyterian Church on January 14, 1835. Since that time, the meetinghouse building has been used as the Town Hall. The original building was remodeled in April, 1868.
The Nesmith Free Public Library, established in 1871 under a $3,000 grant from the estate of Col. Thomas Nesmith, was originally located on the second floor of the Town Hall. The library was moved to the Armstrong Memorial Building, located next door to Town Hall, after its dedication on January 4, 1899. It remained there for nearly one hundred years.