Restoration of the John Butler Smith Mansion

photo of Fuller LibraryReading to the rhythm of pounding hammers!

Where former New Hampshire governor John B. Smith greeted guests to his home a century ago, patrons of Hillsborough’s Fuller Public Library today go to check out books. This building, a tremenodous source of pride for the Governor and his family, is no less an assett to our community today. The mansion was deeded to the town of Hillsborough in August of 1926 by John Butlers Smith's son, Norman Butler Smith with the stipulation that his boyhood home forever remain in service to the community. He would surly be pleased to know that his boyhood home is now the focal point of community enrichment as the Fuller Public Library. After years of careful planning and your vote at the 2009 town meeting in favor of allocating $400.000 to this project work has begun on restoration of parts of the John B. Smith Mansion while at the same time improving and expanding library services for everyone in Hillsborough.

Phase One work begins

Work crews from Bruss Construction began work in mid-November on the basement of the building.

Phase one of the project includes:

Removal and replacement of electrical and plumbing systems.

Installation of Fire suppression systems as approved by the State Fire Marshall.

Structural upgrades to allow for new bookshelves and usage changes for the first floor.

Complete renovation of the basement to be used for the childrens and non-fiction collections.

Download the full design charette as a .pdf formatted document.

You can download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat reader.

Looking Ahead to Phase Two

While work on the basement is going on, funded by the town and by funds of the Fuller Public Library trustees, we are moving forward on plans for Phase 2.

We do not want to ask town taxpayers to fund phase 2 work, and so are looking elsewhere. We have applied for New Hampshire state LCHIP funds and USDA Rural Development grants and have applied to the private organizations such as the Samuel Hunt Foundation to help fund a portion of Phase 2 of this building project. We want to complete the fire-safety needs of the building and improve access to as many floors of the building as possible so that all members of the community as well as visitors can utilize the building.

At this point, we want to concentrate on re-building the internal rear stairway, to provide fire-safe access to and from all floors. This was a requirement of the State Fire Marshall- and we hope to do this phase 2 work now, as it will be less expensive during phase 1. While this work can be postponed until Phase 2, it makes fiscal sense to move it up on the schedule, and it also creates a safer building for all occupants that much sooner. The budgeted amount is based on a “pull out” of pricing for that detail from the phase 2 portion of the plan.

This building is a “Gem”. It is being saved through the efforts of the community, but we need help.

History of the John B. Smith Mansion

Governor John Butler Smith’s homestead was formerly the property of the heirs of Hiriam Bell, being given in deed to Smith through Mary Bell in 1880. Soon afterward, Smith and his family took up residence and made some modifications, including the addition of a French roof. Later they hired architect William Butterfield to incorporate the original structure into a grand plan that would become the building we know today. Link to full document.

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