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Finding Hidden Treasures In The Granite State: Visit These 6 Places

Apr 09, 2021 05:13PM ● By Virginia Dean

Madame Sherri’s Castle Photo by Marshall Hudson

New Hampshire is an old state rich with history and full of forgotten places, some of which may be hiding in plain sight. If you are able and willing to do some exploring, you can discover or maybe rediscover these hidden links to our past. Due to COVID-19, please check all rules and regulations accordingly before attending.

Madame Sherri’s Castle

The Madame bought hundreds of acres in Chesterfield in the 1930s and built a castle where she entertained New York friends with lavish parties. She was said to dress scandalously, sometimes only a black fur coat along with feathered boas and high plumed hats while traveling in a chauffeur-driven Packard touring car. A chain smoker, she allegedly was involved with bootlegging during Prohibition and was on the dodge from French authorities and used an alias. She died in 1965 at the age of 87. Three years earlier, her castle was destroyed by fire, but the stone staircase remains for the curious to find.


Metallak’s Gravesite

A small cemetery in Stewartstown holds the last survivor of the North American Indian band of Coashauke who inhabited the upper Androscoggin and Magalloway River watersheds. The Indian, Metallak, was known as the “lonesome chief” because the majority of his people had died of smallpox in the French and Indian War or leaving their homeland. Metallak remained, however, and reportedly lived to the age of 120. When visiting his grave, custom says to place a pebble, coin, or other small tokens on his headstone to show respect for the last of the Coashaukes.


Lost Fire Towers

From 1900 until the late 1960s, nearly 100 of New Hampshire’s mountains donned a fire tower on their summit, and a warden watched out over the forest, sounding an alarm whenever he saw smoke. Many of these wardens or lookouts lived in a small cabin on top of the mountain near the tower. Today, only about 16 towers are still operated. Most of the old ones are gone now, but tower anchor pins, concrete footings, or some remnant of the cabin can still be found.


The Kiss’n Bridges

There are 54 covered bridges in New Hampshire, vestiges of the horse-and-buggy days when bridges were regularly built with roofs and sides to keep the elements from rotting out the wooden decking. With the development of iron, steel, and concrete, however, the covered wooden bridge became obsolete. But some do remain and, according to experts, the best in the state includes the Bath Village Bridge in Bath and the Ashuelot Bridge in Winchester.


Lyme Horse Sheds

In the days of horses and buggies, riders and their animals needed horse sheds for parking and, in Lyme, a continuous line of individual horse stalls were erected by the Congregational Church and sold to church-going individuals available for use on Sundays and whenever the owner came into town on business. Only 27 of the original 50 stalls remain today and are considered to be the longest string of contiguous horse stalls in New England.


Lisbon Charcoal Kiln

Once used to make charcoal for nearby iron smelters, the kiln is a reminder of the old days when charcoal was needed by blacksmiths and iron foundries. Charcoal was the preferred furnace fuel because it could be locally produced, and it burned more slowly than firewood and created a more intense heat.

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