Unity NH Bell Tower

Early Unity History

In 1764, Governor Benning Wentworth, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the province of New Hampshire for King George III, was petitioned by numerous families from Kingston, Hampstead and Amesbury for land that they could settle on and call their own. Through Governor Wentworth, King George III granted to these people 29,000 acres of land six miles square in the province formerly called Buckingham, but to now be incorporated under the name Unity, since this new land was unifying these people who had no land of their own. There were 39 original grantees.

The conditions of the Charter were very much the same as in Charters granted to other townships in the 1700s. Each grantee was to plant and cultivate 5 acres of land within term of 5 years for every 50 acres contained in his share of the land in the Township. All white and other pine trees fit for masting the Royal Navy were to be carefully preserved for that use, upon penalty of forfeiture of the right of the grantee.

The very first Town Meetings for the Town of Unity were held in Kingston at the inn of Nathaniel Huntoon. The first Town Meeting in Unity was held at the home of Capt. Nathaniel Huntoon on Dec. 31, 1773. At that time, the population of Unity was 106


The Town Hall

The present Town Hall building was originally built as Baptist Meeting House in 1831. At Town Meeting in June 1877, the town voted to purchase the church and fix it up for a Town Hall Meeting House. The building was purchased that year at auction for the sum of $25.00.

Over the years since its purchase, the building, which served the town well as a public meeting place for nearly a century, fell into decline. Town Meetings were held in the fire station, and graduation and other events were held elsewhere, sometimes in the West Unity Church. The bell tower, which housed a Revere Bell, was removed on Sept. 26, 1991 because it was unfit to be used safely, and its stability in rough weather was questioned. This removal greatly disappointed the citizens, particularly those Unity School students who, up until a few years earlier, performed the long-honored tradition of ringing the bell upon their graduation from the eighth grade.  

Renovation Efforts

A major renovations began in June 1991. In addition to the removal of the bell tower, a new foundation was built, two skylights were installed to allow natural light into the basement, the exterior of the building was painted, the roof was repaired, and the interior of the building was restored and painted. The stage, which extended the entire width of the rear of the hall was removed, revealing the original stage. A piece of the choir loft railing was discovered, which resulted in the re-creation of the choir loft which, at some point, had been refitted to accommodate the Selectmen's office.

Bell Tower Restoration Begins - 1996

In March 1996, a volunteer group, co-chaired by Rod Gray and Fred Bellimer, began work to re-create the bell tower. The group has met every Saturday morning, with few exceptions, from 8:00 until noon, some days longer, depending on the activity. They were able to complete the bell cradle and yoke with its Revere-Boston bell in time to display it on the Town Hall lawn on Old Home Day, July 20. 1996. The Revere bell, which weighs approximately 1,100 pounds, was rung for the first time since Sept. 20, 1987, when the ringing commemorated the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. It was a thrilling sound! 

Bell Tower Restoration Update - July, 2000

During the summer of 1997, the dome was moved side to the common for final assembly, where it covered with a layer of 1" x 4" boards, sheathed with tar paper, and covered in copper. Labor to apply copper was donated by Morses's Copper of Unity. A donation of $211.72 came from the schoolchildren Unity during a Coppers For Copper penny drive led by Geraldine & Werner Rudenfeldt. Also during the summer, local lumber for the two lower sections was cut and dried. Much time was spent restoring the original finials and recreating the details that adorn the lower sections. Among other finishing touches, a small decorative white fence that encircles and sits atop the bottom of the copper has been built and fastened to the roof. Work on the two-story pedestal on which the dome sits has been on going, the frame has been erected.  

Bell Tower Restoration Update - Sept, 2001

In 2000 after the frame was up we started to cover the tower and below is the point at which to we finished the year.


In 2001 it was decided to use professionals to complete the tower and in September they started finishing the lower part of the tower.

The lower section was placed on the Town Hall on Oct 22, 2001.

We then finished the upper section and detailed it.

On November 12, 2001 we finished the project by placing the bell and the upper section on the Town Hall

We then put on the Weather Vane.

The Finished Town Hall

We need: fund-raisers to raise money for supplies and to finish the work; writers and advertisers to promote the project; bakers and craftspeople to provide donations for fund-raising events; cash donations; and ideas and suggestions to help make the project fun, fulfilling and successful!

Ken Hall is making a plaque with all the volunteers names, to be placed in the hall at the conclusion of the project.

The following people will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, and accept any donations you may wish to offer.

Rod Gray - (603) 542-5538 
Questions/comments on the technical issues of the project.

Roberta Callum - (603) 863-3468 
Donations and fund-raising suggestions. HCR 66 Box 140, Newport, N.H. 03773-8601

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