Marelli's Market Listed on New Hampshire's State Register of Historic Places

By Karen Raynes

Hampton Union, Friday, May 30, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
The new Hampton Town Center on Lafayette Road, after the buildings were moved, is seen circa 1900. Marelli's Market is second building from the right, directly across from the former Depot Square. The Joshua A. Lane Block, shown here shortly after it was completed in 1900, now houses Hampton Center Hardware and several small businesses.
[Photo courtesy of Emile Dumont from the book "Images of America - Hampton and Hampton Beach" by William H. Teschek.]

HAMPTON -- The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources recently listed 12 additional properties in the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. Among them is Marelli's Market in Hampton.

"All of us are thrilled with this honor and recognition from the state of New Hampshire," said Marcia Hannon, granddaughter of the late Luigi and Celestina Marelli. "Tons of research was done by my sister Karen, who found herself in libraries and at the county courthouse of records logging endless hours of discovery. She did a great job."

Hannon also praised the work of Christine Fonda Rankie, architectural historian at the N. H. Division of Historical Resources.

The history of the Marelli building dates from 1841 when it was built along the south side of Exeter Street, now known as High Street or the Exeter Road, and directly abutting the railroad tracks. In 1857, the building was the home of M.S. Akerman, the railroad station master. In 1889, the building was both a dry-goods store and a residence for the owner J.W. Mason. In 1892, John A. Towle was the owner of the building and it remained a goods store.

In 1900, the building was moved from Exeter Road, along with two other buildings, to its present location at 465 Lafayette Road, in order to create a new town center. In 1914, Luigi and Celestina Marelli established a market selling primarily produce and candies. Over the years, Marelli's has been known as an institution in the business district and a rare survivor of the small village markets that were once so plentiful. It is the longest continually operating business in Hampton Center.

Today Marelli's Market continues as a family business with Richard Marelli, the proprietor, and many family members still involved in its operation. Generations of townspeople have come to Marelli's to pick from its "Wall of Candy" and purchase cashews, for which it is most noted today. Marelli's Market is located in the center of downtown Hampton, directly across from the Gazebo at Luigi Marelli Square.

On hearing of the award from the state of New Hampshire to Marelli's, other residents expressed their delight.

"I remember as a kid, the ice cream counter in Marelli's right over here," said Glyn Eastman of Hampton, pointing to an area in the front of the store. "The old tin ceiling is still here, and there was a table and benches in the middle of the store where many locals came to have coffee and talk. It's good that you got the award!"

"Oh, that's great, after all these years, it's great!," exclaimed Mickey Wardle of Hampton.

Vicky Lessard of Hampton said she remembered when there used to be S.S. Pierce fine foods.

"I think it's great," Lessard added.

Peter Lucas said Marelli's is an institution.

"That's wonderful, it's fantastic," said Lucas, who owns a new plaza on Lafayette Road in Hampton.

New designs for plaques from the New Hampshire State Register of Historical Places are in the making and Marelli's Market will receive its plaque soon.

View a 30-minute video on the history of Marelli's