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Sawyer Mansion

Sawyer Mansion.jpg
47 Central Avenue (now Burger King)



Once the home of Sawyer Woolen Mills magnate Jonathan Sawyer, this 26 room Italianate mansion was built on this site (then called Linden Street) during the Civil War at a cost of $250,000. A five-story front tower was added in 1885.

 Jonathan, his wife Martha (Perkins), and their seven children lived in the magnificent house here which included a 40 x 19-foot drawing room and twelve-foot ceilings frescoed with gold leaf; the family played on the sumptuous 17-acre grounds complete with stable, carriage house, cold cellar, fruit orchards, greenhouse full of foreign and exotic plants, and an artificial pond supplied with water from the mill reservoir.

 Jonathan died in 1891, Martha in 1896 and the house was sold to Charles G. Foster, publisher of the weekly newspaper. By 1916, the home was for sale again; and ad in Foster’s Democrat offered the house with seven acres at a price “a small fraction of the original cost.”

 During the 1920s, the mansion was owned for a time by Hollywood producrer and choreographer Busby Berkely who was directing several New England summer stock theater companies. But the property was eventually taken over by the city after Mr. Berkely neglected to pay his taxes.

 The house was vacant during the 1930’s, but was sold at auction in 1943 to John Soteropoulous. In 1954, the State of New Hampshire gained control of the property through eminent domain in preparation for construction of the new Spaulding Turnpike. It was torn down in 1958 when the overpass was built.
            From the 1988 Heritage Walking Tour Booklet

 Brian Hinchey contacted us to provide the following information:
The last owner before being sold to Howard Johnsons was Stanley M. Burns, my grandfather and an attorney in town.  He owned the property and tore it down because the kids were getting inside and playing. The state might have owned the land for the turnpike but they did not own the mansion. The original property 17 acres was chopped up by the highway, my grandfather razed the mansion in '58. The construction of the highway chopped up the 17 acres.. another "stray" piece was eventually turned into Shamrock Lane where my family built a home in the early 60's.

 

 

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