A Visit to the Toppan Garrison House

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Lafayette Road, Hampton, New Hampshire

By Mary C. Toppan

Toppan Garrison House
The Toppan Garrison House with the "Spider Web" fence.

It was built sometime in 1600. In three sections. Unoccupied for some time, the house was torn down by owner Christopher Toppan in October 1901. We will now go on a visit. A large green lawn in front. A white fence which was all built in different sections. Grandpa was having bad luck to get all different kinds, when a spider built a web. So the last was a spider web. [So the name, "The Spider Web Fence" was born] There were no gates to enter, we will go up to the first gate nearest the warehouse. Walk up the cobble stones, open the large black door which has a large brass knocker on it. Open and walk in the front hall which extends through the house, where we find another door leading out of doors.

On my left is a door which leads into a room. It has closets in the corner, which contains old fashioned dishes, and two children sets. One is made of wood all red. These belong to Aunt Annie. There are two windows facing west, and one to the north. The windows are all wooden, and window seats with cushions of green. This room is furnished in green old fashioned set. In this room is a chair which we are not to sit in because a big lady broke it. Pictures hung on the wall. Lace curtains at the window. On my right ins the center of the room is a door, which hung a blue silk drapery which was made out of great grandmother Pickering's wedding dress. We are going in the hall again down to the door on my left. This room is a store room. There was a Franklin stove and table, two or three chairs, a large closet in the corner.

As we come out into the hall again, there is another door. We step up a step, this leads us into a dark entry. On my right is a door, into this is a dark closet. On my left is a door opening into the dining room. Let's go back into the front hall. You remember as we came in. We see a long flight of stairs which leads upstairs. The hall is painted all white. The woodwork extends up quite a way all hand carved. we step up to the sitting room on my right. This is a very large room, all carpeted in Brussel. Four windows, with green cushions. White curtains of lace and white shades at the windows all furnished in old fashioned furniture. A big mantel with pictures and vases on it. Right side of the mantel is a closet. In two corners. In left we see a door open which leads into a small entry. On our right door with a large lock, this door leads out of doors. On my left is a door which leads down cellar. Down a winding pair of stairs we are in the cellar, where there is a stream of water. The rest of the cellar is dry. We will go back upstairs. These stairs are the stairs which lead up stairs call the side way. We are in the side entry. Enter a door in front of us, which opens into the dining room, on my right are two windows, they face south. The sun shines in all day. In the corner are two closets. One held dishes. On the north side of the room is a window which you can see the beach road and Baptist Church. On the west side is a large mantel piece and a fireplace with a large piece of tin painted black which is used to close it up. There was a closet on the left hand side of the mantel, and on the right hand side, is a door which leads into a dark entry which I told you about before.

The closet in this dark entry, was where grandmother kept her fruit cake. This dining room was painted yellow. We will go to the east end where we see a door in the center of the room leading into the kitchen. A very large room with two closets on either side, this room has two windows.

As I stand in the doorway, I see the table set on my right side, in front of me is the kitchen stove. An old fashioned red brick oven and brick hearth, and on the left side of the oven is a closet. This was used to put kettles in. On my right is a door leading out in the back entry, a door leads out of doors. To the left is a closet and a few steps is the back stairs. The stairs and entry were painted red. The kitchen is painted grey.

I forgot to say in the right hand corner is a grandfathers clock in the kitchen. We are standing by the stove looking at the brick oven, on my left I see a door which leads into the back wash room, and on my right is a window and a wooden sink all painted red. There are shelves on my left and right side, lots of pans. At my left, we open a door which leads down to dairy kettles, pans and crocks. Let's step down, it is all brick bottom. Grandmother kept her doughnuts down here and lots of other good things. There were shelves on three sides, we will come up the steps about five of them. Close the door. Walk a few steps and open another door which leads into an entry. A table on one side and a window on the side, in front of us a door which leads out of doors. All painted red. Now let us go upstairs. Please go back to the front door. We climb the very easy stairs, so easy. The stairs are painted white, and red railing and small post were brought from England in the Mayflower, a boat owned by our grandfather and wrecked at the mouth of the [Hampton] river. Part of this hall is covered with a carpet, the first one that was ever in Hampton, grey and brown mixture. On my left is a small chamber furnished in blue. It has two windows. We will come towards the front. On my right is a chamber, a large closet is in the corner. In the hall, there is a window in either end. On my right is a chamber, but we have to step up a step. This room is a large one, has four windows, a mahogany set, and straw matting on the floor, two large closets, and a very large mantle piece. We will open a door which is on the right side leading into an entry; on the left side is a door which opens to the attic stairs. On the right is a small window.

In front of me is a door opening into Grandmother's room. Two windows on the right side, one window in center of left hand side. This room also has a large mantle piece. The door on the left hand corner leads into from the hall and closet door in front of me. As we stand in the center of the chamber with two at my right I see a door which opens into what is called the great chamber, two windows on my right, and stairs leading to the attic. Let's go up to the attic, the roof if pitched low, a small window at right, we will turn to left, trunks, boxes and chairs, etc. Walking along, we seem to enter another part of the attic. Pretty soon on my left we find another stair leading down to the side of the house, having viewed this part of the attic which contains a little of everything, we turn to the right and come to another part or section of the attic, grandmother's attic had most everything in it. Walking back we will go down the stairs which I last saw. Open a door and we are in side entry, we will go down the winding stairs into the side entry. Open the door and lead us out of doors on the south side of the south side of the house. In front of us a few feet, we find a gate which enters into an old fashioned garden, where we find is laid out in beds and walks between. All kinds of flowers are here.

I will give you a little more about the house. I had said, it was built in three sections, the section was filled with hay. The rooms were all panelled up about three feet, all hand carved. Timbers and wooden pegs all hand made. Many of the boards were three feet wide. All the windows had seats in and shutters. The locks on the door were about 10 to 12 inches and keys 5 inches long. The house outside was painted yellow.

For more on the Toppan Garrison House, which once stood at the intersection of Lafayette and Winnacunnet Roads (where the Galley Hatch Restaurant now stands) click here.

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