According to the book Enfield, New Hampshire 1761-2000, edited by Blanchard Sanborn, 78 Main St was originally built as the dwelling house for the workers of the Leviston Brother’s Tannery. The Tannery was 200 ft long by 36 ft in width and 2 stories high. They dammed the Mascoma river to divert water under this building to power their equipment. Today that diversion of the river still exists creating an island for much of the year when the river is moving swiftly. The Mascoma River provides most of the water flowing into the Mascoma Lake.
“From 1853 to 1888, the tannery processed one thousand hides per week” (Enfield, Sanborn). At one point there were 6 buildings on this property including a storehouse, hay barn, and machine shop. Today only the dwelling house remains. This is the building we are turning into a zero net energy building to house the Energy Emporium as well as our residence in the upper floors.
Below is the text from the Historic District research:
“This large wooden dwelling was built between 1855 and 1860 (Eaton 1855; Walling 1860). The 2 ½-story building has a five-bay gable front façade. The building was recently heavily damaged by fire, but was restored using photographic evidence. The building had a wraparound by the late 19th century and is shown in historic photographs (Sanborn 1884). The porch has a pronounced cornice and square posts. Peaked spandrels define each opening. The walls are sheathed in wooden clapboards with flat corner boards and narrow frieze. The roof is slate. The chimney has not been rebuilt. The gable roof has plain projecting open eaves. The building retains its 5 x 4 bay fenestration, but the windows are new 6/6 sash. The Greek Revival style center entry has sidelights and transom. New multi-pane storefront windows are located on either side of the front door.
The parcel associated with 78 Main includes the site of the tannery, which was to the northeast on the river, and other buildings north of the house. The tannery was established ca. 1850. Godfrey and Conant owned the property from 1853 and rented it to others. From 1856 to 1863 the tannery was owned by Kennedy and McConnell. This house was built during that time, and was occupied by T. McConnell and his wife Mary in 1860 (Census 1860; Walling 1860).
In 1869, the entire tannery property was sold to William and Robert Leviston, brothers who had come to the U.S. from Canada in 1848 (Enfield High School ca. 1930:60). They lived here with their wives Cordelia and Phebe for several decades (Census 1880; Hurd 1892). At its height over twenty men were employed in the Leviston Brothers tannery (Census 1880). The business operated until the early 1890s. After William Leviston died, his widow lived here with Robert and Phebe (Census 1900). In the early 1900s, Benjamin A. Noyes became the head of the household and Robert Leviston lived with him. John C. Smith another boarder and Noyes worked in a grain mill at that time (Directory 1907). In the 20th century this was an apartment house. It was gutted by a fire and was empty for a period. The Enfield Village Association acquired the building in 2002.”
Below is the information from the Historic District research on the Tannery site:
“The property contains 2.8 acres, bounded on the north and west by the river. The site is now wooded. The tannery building stood northwest of the house 78 Main. The tannery closed in the 1890s and afterwards was used only for wool storage or was vacant. During the 1910’s, Reney Brothers had a short-lived bobbin factory in the building, but by 1923 it was again vacant (Anonymous 1914; Sanborn 1923; Historical Collection of the Enfield Public Library). The Leviston tannery burned on Oct. 19, 1939. A small park with nature trail was recently created by the Enfield Village Association on the “island” between the millrace and the river.
On the wooded riverbank to the east of the tannery (north of 78 Main) were other mill buildings, originally a machine shop and rake factory, later part of the tannery complex. In the 1930s, use of this part of the site was revitalized by a short-lived sawmill operation. All buildings were gone by the end of the 1940s (Sanborn 1935, 1948).”