Jewell Town Historic District
The Jewell Town Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Jewell Town Historic District is located to the south of the South Hampton Town Center Historic District and extends to the Massachusetts state line. The Jewell Town Historic District is defined by the northern property line of sites located along Whitehall Road and Jewell Street, The southern Jewell Town Historic District boundary is defined, in part, by the Massachusetts state line.
The Jewell Town Historic District includes low density, residential scale (one to two-and-one-half stories), residential development and historically associated open acreage. Jewell Town Historic District dwellings are constructed in wood with brick chimneys and are largely vernacular interpretations of high style design dating from the eighteenth through the early-twentieth centuries. Included in the Jewell Town Historic District are three Georgian, one Federal, three Greek Revival, five late-nineteenth century vernacular and one Colonial Revival style structures. The Jewell Town Historic District also includes four sympathetic, contemporary residential buildings classified as intruding elements due only to their date of construction.
Jewell Town Historic District can be visually divided into two components which relate to the area's historical development. This first component is Jewell Town proper, and surrounds the intersection of Jewell Street, Whitehall Road and the Pow Wow River. The second Jewell Town Historic District component includes outlying, nineteenth century agricultural development located along Whitehall Road.
Jewell Town proper was first settled in 1687 and derives its historical name from prominent early settler, Thomas Jewell. The area's dominating geographic feature is the Pow Wow River, once a power source for eighteenth and nineteenth century mill development. The river, and the two bridges which span it, remain an important visual element contributing to the area's eighteenth and early-nineteenth century residential character. Of the nine dwellings concentrated in the area, five are associated with the Jewell family. These structures form a cohesive grouping of Georgian and Federal style dwellings. Also included in the area is a sophisticated, early-twentieth century Colonial Revival dwelling, the Merrill House. Dwellings are sited on mature, landscaped grounds, many of which extend to the banks of the Pow Wow River,
West of Jewell Town proper, Whitehall Road straightens to become a tree-lined rural lane flanked by open fields and woodlands. Nine sites documenting nineteenth century agricultural development are found here. Also included is the Georgian style Kimball House, notable for its architectural integrity and historical association with the Jewell family. Remaining area dwellings are in the Greek Revival and late-nineteenth century vernacular styles. The majority of sites include intact, open acreage affording uninterrupted vistas to the north and south. This acreage reflects original, nineteenth century agricultural strip land divisions.
Little visible evidence survives to indicate the eighteenth and nineteenth century industrial importance of the area. Substantial Georgian and Federal dwellings, concentrated on sites along the banks of the river and commanding vistas of this focal geographic feature attest to the Jewell Town Historic District's early prosperity. The Jewell Town Historic District retains a late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century residential character derived from an interplay between architecture, original road patterns and landscape. Period architectural aesthetics are documented by the district's concentration of Georgian and Federal period dwellings which manifest a uniform "Georgian mind-set" through tripartite, bilateral symmetry emphasizing symmetrical massing, balance, proportion and molding.
Representative of these early dwellings is the Joseph Jewell House, c.1740, a 2-1/2-story, 5-bay, double pile dwelling constructed in wood and terminating in a gable roof punctuated by a brick straight stack center chimney.
The Colonial Revival style Merrill House on Jewell Street (c.1915) provides an interesting juxtaposition to the predominantly Georgian period district core. This sophisticated example of the style, with its freer and more plastic interpretation forms, provides a striking contrast within the context or its prototypes.
The Jewell Town Historic District shifts in architectural character and building density as it progresses southwest along Whitehall Road. The landscape becomes decidedly rural and agricultural in character. Surviving domestic structures are vernacular adaptations of Greek Revival and late Victorian period styles, sited amid intact agricultural sites. Representative of these is the Miller House (c.1840) a 2-1/2-story, 4x2-bay, frame dwelling sheathed in clapboard and terminating in a gable roof. Simple structural details including gable returns, corner pilasters and plain window surrounds define the building's Greek Revival style.
† National Park Service, Jewell Town Historic District, South Hampton, NH, nomination document, NRHP #83001147, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.