James House Landscape Project Rooted In History

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By Ann Kaiser

Special to the Atlantic News

Atlantic News, Friday, February 18, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]


SIGN OF THE FUTURE — Aided by grant funding, the James House Association, Inc. is currently developing a historic landscape master plan, in addition to archaeological and educational programs which focus on the Hampton homestead.
[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON -- On Saturday, February 5, the James House Association, Inc. held a brainstorming session (Charrette), at the Fellowship Hall of the First Congregational Church of Hampton. The purpose of this Charrette was to gather ideas from citizens, association members, and experts on how to restore the James House grounds to reflect their historical past.

Lucinda "Cindy" Brockway, a professional historic landscape preservationist, was hired by the James House Association to compile information about the James House, to research the history of the grounds and, as a final step, prepare a Landscape Master Plan.

Assisting Cindy has been UNH graduate student and volunteer Elizabeth "Beth" Cilley. Beth, who is using this project and her research on it as part of her Master's thesis, started the Charrette with a PowerPoint presentation and a brief history of the two families (the James and the Campbells) who occupied the James House since its construction in 1723.

Included in the presentation were maps showing how the use of the area had changed from the late 1700s through the construction of Route 95 and the addition of the large power lines. As part of her presentation, Cindy used the results obtained from the recent subsurface survey of the James House grounds, which was done in November by Daniel Lynch of Soil Sight LLC.

Following Beth's presentation, Cindy instructed the audience as to the part they would be playing in the Charrette. Attendees were divided into three groups, and were asked to consider answers to the following questions: What will the grounds eventually look like? Will there be gardens, and what type? How about orchards and animals? Who is going to tend the grounds and animals? What about a visitor center? What will be the sources for manpower and money? Considering the latter, how ambitious can the James House Association be?

The groups fell into their task with much enthusiasm and when called upon to present their ideas, it was obvious that the Charrette had accomplished much. Brockway will consider all the ideas, as well as the James House mission, in formulating her professional recommendations for the future of the landscape.

Among the experts in attendance were Anne Duncan and Anne Masury, both formerly associated with Strawbery Banke landscaping; archaeologist Sheila Charles; and Christopher Patzki of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now known as Historic New England.

During the James House 2005 season, Cindy and Beth will make a presentation to the public describing their landscape recommendations. (Writer's note: Please read our articles in the Atlantic News to obtain information about this and other James House programs.)

For more information about the James House Association and related projects, contact Treasurer/ Landscape Committee Chairman Ann Kaiser at (603) 926-8538 or Skip Webb, vice president, Archaeology Committee chairman and Program Committee chairman at (603) 926-3851.

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