Inside the Hampton District Courthouse

Hampton Grammar School THEN AND NOW

The building now known as the old Hampton District Courthouse has a long and storied history.  Built in 1873 as the Center Grammar School on Winnacunnet Rd., it was moved in 1916 to its present location across from the library.  Since then it has served as Hampton's first public Kindergarten, the American Legion Post #35 hall, and Fire Station #2 from 1932 until 1978 , when it officially became the Courthouse.  In 2005 the building was declared uninhabitable due to mold and asbestos contamination, and retired from public service.

After much debate and discussion , the Hampton Board of Selectmen made the decision in March of 2013 to demolish the Courthouse. Before it goes away forever, Town Manager Fred Welch gave permission for staff of the Lane Library and members of the Hampton Historical Society to don dust masks and take photographs of the interior rooms and spaces.  We've created a gallery to showcase the results, and reveal the inside of a building rarely seen by the public. We also have a gallery of photos and videos taken during the building's demolition on May 28, 2013.

For those interested in how the shots were made, I used a wide-angle lens coupled with a process known as HDR photography, where multiple exposures are blended together to achieve a broader tonal range and enhanced colors.  This gives a slightly surreal and melancholy effect, and is a popular choice when shooting abandoned or disused interiors.

Courthouse interior     Courthouse interior

Addendum:

Thanks to Cheryl Lassiter for supplying an image of a small plaque found on the sidewalk outside the Courthouse building commemorating the Cashman Bros. of Newburyport, contractors who moved and renovated the building.

Cashman Bros plaque