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Visiting the Dow Academy Building, Franconia, New Hampshire: Neoclassical Styling Dating from 1903

Updated on April 8, 2019
State flag of New Hampshire
State flag of New Hampshire | Source
Dow Academy building, center of Franconia, New Hampshire.
Dow Academy building, center of Franconia, New Hampshire. | Source

Elegant styling at a picturesque location

Among the most prominent structures at Franconia, Grafton County, New Hampshire — itself a highly scenic locality, given its proximity to the White Mountains (see photo, above) — is the Dow Academy Building.

Significant features of this Neoclassical — or Georgian Revival — structure, which dates from 1903, include an octagonal tower and conspicuous pediments. Twin pillars support the main entrance below one of the pediments. Four, smaller pediments are present at four of the eight sides of the tower (see photo, below).

The building now serves as condominiums, but it formerly housed Franconia College (1).

In 1982 the Dow Academy Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dow Academy was founded in 1885; a previous building, which housed the institution, was destroyed by fire; hence the creation of the present structure in 1903. The building served as a primary and secondary school after the local town administration became responsible for its funding.

The Dow Academy thus encapsulates elegant styling at a very picturesque location in northern New Hampshire, with the White Mountains as a backdrop.

The Gale River passes near to the Dow Academy Building. This river forms part of the Connecticut River watershed, via the Ammonoosuc River.

Addenda: The writer Elizabeth Elliot (1926-2015), former Bible translator, widow of missionary to Ecuador Jim Elliot, and prolific author, and college professor, lived in Franconia, New Hampshire, in her youth. Another, former resident was Jessica Garretson Finch (1871-1949), founder of Lennox School and founding President of Finch College, Manhattan, New York City. For Franconia's connection with Robert Frost, see 'Also worth seeing', below.

April 8, 2019


(1) While Franconia College operated only from 1963 until 1978, it saw a number of subsequently prominent alumni pass through its doors. A former President of Franconia College is Leon Botstein (1946-), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, who has subsequently served as President of Bard College.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Dow Academy, Franconia, NH.
Dow Academy, Franconia, NH. | Source

Also worth seeing

In Franconia itself, the Franconia Notch State Park lies in the White Mountains; The Frost Place is a museum and study centre based in the former home of renowned New England poet Robert Frost (see also 'Link', below). The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway rises to a 4,100-foot / 1,200 metre summit. The New England Ski Museum is also located within the boundaries of Franconia.

Littleton (distance: 7.5 miles / 12.1 kilometres) has a number of interesting examples of architecture, including the twin spired First Congregational Church, and the Courthouse and Post Office. It provides a good base for exploring the White Mountains.

At Woodsville (distance: 20.6 miles / 33.1 kilometres) an historic, covered bridge has been restored in recent years.


How to get there:

Burlington International Airport (distance to Franconia, New Hampshire: 94.4 miles / 152 kilometres), where car rental is available from various companies, is served by a variety of airlines, including Porter, JetBlue, Delta and United, which fly to a number of North American connections. Franconia lies close to the I-93. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Visitors to the United States are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

New Hampshire counties map
New Hampshire counties map | Source

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