Hampton Academy Destroyed by Fire

The Exeter News-Letter

Monday, September 1, 1851

A rare view of the original Hampton Academy when it stood on the Meeting House Green, approximately where Tuck Memorial Museum stands today [at 40 Park Avenue]. Built in 1852 on the ashes of its predecessor, it was moved in January 1883 by 160 yoke of oxen and 20 heavy horses to the site of today's Hampton Academy Junior High School. It was razed in 1940 after the construction of the present Junior High (now named Hampton Academy in 2005). Both buildings served as the town's High School until the construction of Winnacunnet High School in 1957-58.
[Photo not in original newspaper article.]

Fire in Hampton

On Friday morning last [August 29th], about one o'clock, the Academy at Hampton was discovered to be on fire, and in a short time it was completely destroyed. A library of about six hundred volumes, belonging to the Olive Branch, a society connected with the institution, and the chemical apparatus, were also destroyed. There was an insurance of $1200 upon the building, in the Portsmouth Mutual Co., Portsmouth. We learn that the Academy has a fund, but whether or not any portion of it can be appropriated towards the rebuilding, we are uninformed.

It is supposed that this fire was the work of an incendiary, although it was possibly the result of accident, as the Sons of Temperance held a meeting in the hall of the Academy on the evening. They left, however at nine o'clock, supposing all safe.


Nearly every night during the last week, commencing with Sunday, fires have been seen from this town, lighting up some one or more quarters of the horizon. The light of the Concord fire was distinctly seen in this town for several hours. The beautiful Academy at South Berwick was burnt, the fire having been communicated by incendiaries, on the same night that the Hampton Academy was destroyed.

Read more about this rash of fires in 1851