The Nelson Town Hall is legendary for it’s cultural programs: concerts, dances, library forums, and more. But it’s also where Nelson has practiced its democracy for the last 175 years, with lively town meetings, and public hearings. It’s got a home feel to it, and many people feel an intimate connection to the building. It’s seen a few improvements (including a needed renovation in 2115), and earlier, the replacement of an outhouse with real plumbing, and a furnace eliminating the need for a wood stove. But it seems to hold on to the same spirit. It’s a special place for all who live here, and many who visit.
Not too long ago a piano tuner submitted a bill for work done on the piano in the Nelson Town Hall. With his invoice he included the following comment: “Because of the age of this piano and long abandoned construction practices, it is impossible to give this piano a highly accurate tuning. It has numerous false beats, inharmonicity, and heavy wear. Surprisingly, the overall tone is superior and the action is still fast and responsive. I suspect the piano is favored by those who play on it.”
Music and Dance in the Nelson Town Hall: The Myth, the Magic the Truth
What's behind the legendary status of the Nelson Town Hall? This video is from a Zoom presentation made for the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library, on December 19, 2020. Lisa Sieverts (dance caller) and Gordon Peery (piano player), both long-time participants in Nelson contra dances, have unearthed some charming [...]
The Nelson Town Hall Front Door
In 2013, the Town of Nelson received a grant from the State of New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources Moose Plate Program “to repair the historic windows and front door of the Nelson Town Hall.” The door was taken apart and each piece was studied, dissected, stripped, repaired, primed and painted. Here are excerpts from an example of the scrutiny that each piece received.
The Nelson Town Hall Over the Years
D-4-18: Reuel Nims gave land here to the Town of Nelson if it would, at its own expense, erect a 34×48’ meeting house, Nims to get full use of the basement as a store house. The Congregational Church had given up its use of the Second Meeting House on the hill above the village and built its own church at D-4-11. The old second meeting house, 45 x 60’ and built in the period 1786- 1790 was disassembled and parts of it used to construct our current Town Hall. Sometime after fire destroyed Nims’ store, the tall basement Nims had used for storage was lowered to create the building we have today.