Historic status: Nashua’s original YMCA building named to state Historic Places register

Telegraph file photo The former YMCA building at 23 Temple St. has been added to the state Register of Historic Places.

NASHUA – The unique, classic revival Nashua landmark that has graced the corner of Temple and Spring streets for more than a century has been named to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places, according to the state Historical Resources Council.

Although converted some years ago into a large rooming house called the Temple Street Hotel, older Nashuans recognize the building as the longtime home of the Nashua YMCA, where boys and young men from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomer-era gathered for social, recreational and religious events for more than a half-century.

Often referred to as the “old Y,” and described as “a superstructure” during its construction in 1912-13, the building is the fourth in Nashua, and the 17th in Greater Nashua, to be named to the state register since 2002.

Eight other New Hampshire buildings were added to the register in the council’s first selection of 2018. Those buildings, along with a full list of properties currently on the register, appear in an accompanying information box.

Telegraph file photo Nashua's former YMCA building at 23 Temple St., shown in a vintage photo that was used on postcards, has been added to the state Register of Historic Places.

Being selected for the register comes with a number of benefits, said state Department of Natural & Cultural Resources spokeswoman Shelly Angers.

Among them are the formal acknowledgement of the property’s historical

significance in its community, which can allow for special consideration, and in some cases, relief, from certain building codes and regulations.

Being designated a historical property also comes with pre-qualification for many grant programs, including those from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, known as LCHIP.

The Nashua Y building, meanwhile, was built in two stages. The first was the construction of a gymnasium and a large hall, which YMCA officials said were urgently needed to accommodate the fast-growing

membership.

Once it was completed in 1902, Y leaders began planning the main building, which would rise 4-5 stories high and incorporate the existing gym and hall.

In July 1912, according to a Nashua Telegraph article, the Y hired the Nashua Building Company – the same firm that would build the Nashua Country Club four years later – as the general contractor.

NBC’s winning bid was $14,781, The Telegraph wrote.

As construction got underway, President William Howard Taft, on a visit to Nashua, took part in a cornerstone-laying ceremony that drew thousands of spectators.

More than a year later, another large crowd descended on the corner of Temple and Spring streets, this time for a two-pronged grand opening that featured an open house in the afternoon and a more formal social program in the evening, according to The Telegraph.

Through scores of programs, thousands of memberships and periodic renovations, Nashua’s classical revival gem served the Y for more than half a century, until new, larger quarters were built on Prospect Street in 1964.

The old building was converted to offices and a few short-lived retail outlets, and was eventually repurposed as the rooming house it is today.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.

List of Historical sites

The former Nashua YMCA building at 23 Temple St. is among nine properties statewide that were added this month to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places.

It becomes the fourth Nashua property on the list. The others are the Nashua Historical Society’s Abbot-Spalding House, added in 2002; The Roy House, off East Dunstable Road, in 2011; and St. Francis Xavier Church, in 2017.

There are also 13 properties in Greater Nashua towns listed on the state register, including four in Hudson. Added in 2002 were the office and food service buildings at the former Benson’s Wild Animal Farm; the Bush Hill Road Barn on Kimball Hill Road; and the Hudson Center Railroad Station. The Hills Memorial Library was added in 2012.

In Merrimack, the Chamberlain Bridge was added in 2003; the Blanchard-Bowers House on Manchester Street in 2005; and Simonds Rock, off Al Paul Lane, in 2007.

In Milford, Maplewood, on North River Road, was added in 2002, and the Centennial High School on Elm Street, in 2004.

In Wilton, the Four Corners Farm on Isaac Frye Highway was added in 2003, and the Jonathan Livermore House in 2010.

Amherst’s Hildreth-Jones Tavern on Jones Road was added in 2004.

The Mont Vernon Town Hall was added in 2016.