LACONIA — “The Belknap County Farm and Alms House” is the subject of a new exhibit, opening at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24, on the Upper Level of the Laconia Public Library, co-sponsored by the Laconia Historical and Museum Society and the library.
Belknap County was set off from Strafford County in 1841, with the county Court House on Court Street, then in Gilford but which was annexed to the town of Laconia in 1874. The County Farm (now the County Complex, which also includes the County Jail, Sheriff’s Department and county commissioners’ offices) was located at approximately its current location, off North Main Street.
The exhibit will highlight the 19th and 20th Century evolution of the County Farm and Alms House., which LHMS Executive Director Pat Tierney calls “a great story of regional compassion and local diligence.”
From its earliest beginnings, he says, county citizens and civic organizations “joined to create this New Hampshire institution which became a model for addressing not only agricultural excellence, but the humane and housing needs of many.”
Before today’s modern Belknap County facility, the farm “housed extensive livestock, produced an array of vegetables, protected the disadvantaged against the elements, and built a reputation of pride in labor among short and long term residents. The adjacent cemetery will also be a focus of this history not to be forgotten.”
The exhibit opening is free and open to the public. The exhibit can also be seen during regular Library hours into December.
Tierney notes that student tours can be arranged and further information is available by calling 527-1278. Visit LHMS on Facebook or at <www.laconiahistory.com>.