Hollis Historical Society restoration celebration slated
Friday, September 13, 2013
HOLLIS – Five years ago, on an early November 2008 morning, the basement boiler of the historic 1771 Poole House on 19 Main St., Hollis, exploded causing extensive damage to the first floor of the house.
The house was built in 1771 for Benjamin Whiting, the high sheriff of Hillsborough County. He left the state in 1776 due to the unpopular Pine Tree Law that he enforced. His brother, Capt. Leonard Whiting – a commissioned officer under the British Crown (he was a Tory) – who had been residing with Benjamin, continued to live there.
In 1794, Capt. Whiting was granted a license to operate a tavern there. In 1795, the license was granted to Leonard Whiting Jr. In 1796, the Whitings left Hollis and the ownership of the house passed to Benjamin Parker, who continued to operate the tavern. In 1826, Dr. Noah Hardy purchased the property from Benjamin Farley. Dr. Hardy continued to run the tavern in addition to being the town physician, town selectman and school superintendent. From 1794 until 1850, a tavern sign hung on the door of the Whiting/Poole/Hackett house.
Dr. Hardy sold the house to Lucy and Charles Farley in 1853 and they sold it to William Poole, of Boston, in 1875. The families of the Poole brothers used it as a summer home. Ownership eventually passed to the Poole sisters and later in 1943 to Robert Hackett Sr. – the son of Isabelle Poole Hackett.
The house has two separate cellars, three attics, nine fireplaces, two brick ovens, 13 rooms and a large barn. The house measures 5,000 square feet and has been renovated several times in the past 200 years.
After the explosion, Dotty Hackett, the current owner, wanted the house put back to the way it was two minutes before the explosion. Donald Fyfe and Jim Sheehan restored the house and did just that. Fyfe operates Uniquely New England, a Hollis-based restoration and renovation company.
To see the photos of the damage caused by the explosion and view the nine fully restored and renovated rooms, grounds and adjacent barn, the Hollis Historical Society is having a restoration celebration with a tour of the Whiting/Poole/Hackett House. It’s scheduled from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, at 19 Main St., Hollis. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the event. Tickets are available by calling Freddi at the Historical Society 465-3935 or Sharon at 882-4087. Tickets will be held for pick-up the day of the tour.
The general contractor in charge of the restoration will be on-hand to answer questions. There will also be docents throughout the house to answer questions. There will be wine, cider, homemade delicacies and live music.
The fundraiser will benefit the Hollis Historical Society capitol fund to maintain the two museums run by the society – The Wheeler House and The Always Ready Engine House.
The Hollis Historical Society is a self-sustaining, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and collecting artifacts, books and documents that reflect the history of Hollis. The Wheeler House Museum is opened year round every Monday and Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. for touring and genealogy research. The Always Ready Engine House and Wheeler House Museums are open every first and third Sunday from 1-4 p.m., June through October.