Kimball House Museum / Library History
In April of 1907, Rev. Joseph Kimball, a summer visitor in Atkinson, recognized the need for a permanent buildingin which to house a library, and he purchased, from Mr. and Mrs. Walter Maddocks, the former home of Rev. Peabody. The deed records a sale price of One Dollar and gave pause for thought until Miss Ruth Sawyer, former Town Clerk, explained that it was often comstomary to list a one dollar figure in order to prevent inquisitive minds from knowing the exact amount of the transaction.
Rev. Kimball donated the Stephen Peabody home to the Town of Atkinson for the sum of One Dollar and "other valuable considerations," as enumerated in the following agreement:
It is herby agreed between the Selectmen of the Town of Atkinson, N.H. in their official capacity, and Joseph Kimball of said Atkinson, that said Kimball convey to them for the said town the historic Rev. Stephen Peabody house and land northerly of the public road passing it under the following conditions: The the buildings and ground be used for the needs and convenience of the town library, and perhaps a museum and art gallery; That it be named 'Kimball Library' and that a bronze tablet be placed in the building stating its name and giving a few words of explanation; The the rear back of four hundred feet from the road may be used for graves if found desirable; That the town shall keep the building insured for a sum not less than $2,500 and in case said building is destroyed, the town shall erect a suitable structure for the library, retaining the same name; the space sixty feet in width be reserved on the easterly side for an avenue to the rear land, or on the westerly side of the lot if that is found more convenient; That the sewerat arrangements be adjusted upon the land about the house; That the date of conveyance be associated with March 29, 1907, the date of my communication with the town.
The building was built by Reverend Stephen Peabody, probably beginning in 1772, when he purchased a twelve-acre parcel of land from Oliver Knight. The colonial style far house has a southern exposure, as so many old houses did, to fully utilizethe warmth of the sun. The Parson himself built the original eight room house which still contains the gunstock beams and several Christian doors. Pegged, hand-hewn timbers can be seen in the double-thick granite and brick cellar.
Dr. Isaac Hovey came to Atkinson in 1822 and for nearly fifty years practiced medicine in this house. The Walter Maddocks family of Boston bouthg the house in the early 1900s from the heirs of Dr. Hovey. They decided to modernize it, according to the Victorian style that was popular at the time. They constructed the large bay windows on two floors, elevated the roof, and added the two great central dormer at the front of the house.
Kimball House - Library to Museum
The Kimball House was the original permanent home of the town's public library from 1907 until the new libary was completed. As the town grew, the present Kimball Library was annexed in 1975, and the Town voted approval of the Kimball House to become a Museum. The Atkinson NH Historical Society is grateful for the support that the people of the town have demonstrated for us over the years. The Kimball House is now a free standing building as of October 12, 2008 that the members of the Atkinson NH Historical Society care for.