|For Rent by the Week or Month
|1855 Restored New Hampshire Farmhouse
North Star House was built circa 1855 by Thomas G. Hayden, a prosperous farmer working the
fertile Connecticut River Valley soils. It’s likely that North Star House replaced an earlier
structure, possibly using the same stone foundation that exists today. North Star House’s
“balloon framing” (long vertical supports that extend from the foundation sill plate all the way to
the attic) came into vogue nationally in the late 1840s. Prior to the availability of powered saw
mills, all houses in the area were built of much heavier post and beam construction, requiring
time-consuming joinery (with pegs rather than nails) to attach each structural member. During
the 2011 renovation of North Star House, a number of 1858 documents were found in the house,
indicating that the structure dates from that year or earlier.
Prior to the construction of North Star House, in 1846, the New Hampshire Legislature had
chartered the construction of the Sullivan County Railroad to run from Bellows Falls to Windsor
(by way of Claremont and Cornish). Irish immigrant labor, working with black powder for
blasting and horse-and-cart gangs for moving vast quantities of earth, was recruited to build the
railroad. There is documentation of Mr. Hayden and his wife, Sophia, selling a sliver of land to the
railroad in 1847. At that time, the property was known as the Silas Spaulding Farm, a likely
reference to older farm buildings existing on the site.
Local farmers earned valuable income assisting with the construction of the new railroad.
Charles E. Bugbee recorded an anecdote about the Balloch Farm (now the home of North Star
Canoe and Kayak just north of North Star House):
“One spring...after William Balloch had finished his spring farm work he hired out with his ox team to
work on the railroad which was being built through the Connecticut valley and ran across his farm.
He was put to work hauling fill for the grade a little north of his farm. When he arrived at the bank
to get his first load he found a crew of Irish immigrants doing the shoveling. They informed him that
it was customary for a new man on the job to treat them. They all went over and [Balloch’s wife]
produced a jug of strong whiskey which was passed around. From then on, William was a favorite
with the crew. They would hurry to load his cart first and often hurry him off with only half a load.”
|1860 map of Sullivan County (detail) showing North Star House
as being occupied by "T G Hayden". The boundaries of each town
are colored by hand -- red for Claremont and green for Cornish.
|North Star House after a big 1948 snow storm, showing
long-removed sheds and the effect of clear-cutting on Mount
Ascutney (left), the road in front of North Star House circa 1905.