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New Hampshire

December 3, 2012

Windham to preserve old town pound

WINDHAM – The Historic District Commission is trying to clean up and preserve remnants of the centuries-old town pound.

The pound dates back to the mid-1800s. It is where the community impounded farm animals — stray cattle, pigs, goats and sheep, Commission Chairman Carol Pynn said.

Owners would go there to retrieve their animals and have to pay a fine.

“At one time, every town in New Hampshire had a town pound,” Pynn said. “Now, there are about 15 of them left and we have one of them.”

The pound is located on North Lowell Road, north of the old fire station and across the street from the Windham Presbyterian Church.

“It’s a square, about 15 feet by 15 feet,” Pynn said.

At one time, the stone walls were about 5 feet high, but are now about 3 or 4 feet tall, she estimated.

“It’s an archaelogically sensitive area,” Pynn said.

The commission is working with Boyden’s Landscaping on the project and hopes to have a walking path in place.

“I’d say maybe in midsummer,” Pynn said.

The project coincides with the commission’s efforts to get cellar holes from historic properties in the historic district cleared of debris, brush and vines.

An Eagle Scout project involves clearing and marking the cellar hole of the old Stickney general store in Windham Depot, she said.

Meanwhile, the commission is supporting a reworked version of the town’s historic demolition ordinance bound for Town Meeting.

The Planning Board has not yet acted on a final version, board member Carolyn Webber said.

The town has had an ordinance for several years. It is advisory only and does not restrict the rights of property owners.

The proposed revisions would not change that approach, Pynn said.

“All it does is make the demolition delay ordinance clearer,” she said. “There are a lot of things in there that could be taken one way or another.”

The delay ordinance came into play with efforts two years ago to save the historic Fellows farmhouse.

While plans still call for demolishing the farmhouse, businessman Alex Ray remains interested in relocating the barn to a colonial-style village he plans near the crossroads of 111 and 111A.

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