The Mission of the Meredith Historical Society is to preserve, develop, and promote the knowledge and awareness of the unique history of Meredith, New Hampshire to all interested parties. To accomplish this Mission, the Society owns and maintains two of Meredith’s oldest and most historic buildings; collects, preserves, and displays a wide range of materials and media that provide broad insight into the history of the town; and undertakes a number of related activities including developing educational programs; supporting original historical research; and convening various programs and events that further the understanding of the town’s history. The Society strives to be a good Meredith citizen, working with Town authorities and other non-profit organizations to promote, improve, and enhance our town. The Society is a volunteer-based, 501(c) (3) charitable organization.
The Meredith Historical Society was incorporated in 1950. The Society’s roots, appropriately enough, found early nourishment among a group of long-time town residents, including Hope Lincoln, a great, great, great granddaughter of the Meredith canal builder, John Bond Swasey. After its incorporation, the Society took its first major step in July 1950 when it acquired the vacant Oak Hill/Pottle Meetinghouse on Winona Road.
The meetinghouse became the headquarters of the Society for the next 34 years. All monthly meetings and programs were held there. In 1955 the Society was a charter member in organizing the “Association of Historical Societies in New Hampshire.”
In 1994 the Society’s operations were transformed when it purchased the former Ladd building at 45 Main St. in downtown Meredith. This brought the Society into the heart of Meredith Village where it has served as a tourist attraction and civic leader ever since.
In 1998 the old meetinghouse on Winona Road was converted into a Farm Museum. Professionally designed, its elaborate displays depict the annual life cycle of New Hampshire farmers by seasons. The museum contains a remarkable collection of antique tools enhanced by pictures and educational descriptions.
While the two museums form the backbone of its operations, the Society also provides a very popular Speaker Series each year. Presentations are given by different speakers on the first Tuesday of each month from April through November. The presentations focus on widely different aspects of Meredith history and their impact or connection to the town. These programs became so popular that they were moved to the Meredith Community Center on Daniel Webster Highway in 2018.
Meredith is indeed a showplace town with a rich history that informs our lives and our experiences in it. The Officers and Directors of the Meredith Historical Society are very pleased to be a part of this enduring legacy. If you would like to play a role with us, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.
President – Karen Thorndike
Vice President of Preservation – Bonnie Edwards
Corresponding Secretary – Tom Witham
Recording Secretary- John Edgar
Treasurer – George Jewell
Assistant Treasurer – John Hopper
Rita Polhemus ♦ Dawn Dever ♦ Judy Dever ♦ Carol Davis
The work of the Meredith Historical Society is overseen by the Board and undertaken by Committees that include board members and volunteers. The primary committees are:
Museum: Chair-Bonnie Edwards
Speaker Series: Chair-John Edgar
History: Chair-John Hopper
Genealogy: Chair-Don MacFarlane
Communications: Chair-Jackie Roy and Tom Witham
Membership: Chair-Ceil Andrews
Finance: Chair-George Jewell
Maintenance: Chair-George Jewell