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Dow Academy
DOW ACADEMY.jpg
Location Academy St., Franconia, New Hampshire
Area less than one acre
Built 1903 (1903)
Architectural style Colonial Revival
NRHP reference No. 82001675
Added to NRHP August 31, 1982

Dow Academy was a historic school in Franconia, New Hampshire, United States. Founded in 1884, it served as the town's high school until 1958, after which its building, a Georgian Revival wood frame building built in 1903, became a centerpiece of the Franconia College campus. The building was converted into condominium residences in 1983; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

School history

Dow Academy was founded in 1884 by Moses Dow, a magazine publisher, as a secondary school for both local and out-of-town boarding students. He seeded the school with $15,000 for construction of its first building, which stood at the corner of Church and Academy streets and was completed in 1885. That building was destroyed by fire in January 1902. The surviving academy building was constructed the following year, funded by a public-private partnership in which the town's students were able to attend the school in exchange for its financial support. The town gradually took over administration of the school entirely, which continued in operation as its principal primary and secondary school until 1958.

The surviving campus buildings were then taken over by Franconia College, and anchored the college's Lower Campus. Dow served as the primary facility for the Theater, Dance, and Ceramics departments, and housed the Sculpture Department until the fall of 1975. Franconia College filed for bankruptcy in 1978, and the building was subsequently converted into condominiums. The town still maintains an interest in the building, partially funding restoration of the building's landmark clock tower in 2014.

Building architecture

The Dow Academy building stands on the south side of Academy Street just east of its junction with Easton Street. It is two stories in height and roughly square in shape, with a hip roof and a high brick foundation. The roof has a deep cornice studded with modillion blocks. Facades are seven bays wide, with two-story pilasters at the corners and flanking the central bay, which is surmounted by a low-pitch pedimented gable. The main facade has an elaborate center bay, with paired columns flanking a rounded entrance and Palladian window.

Rising from the center of the roof is a wide octagonal tower, with clock faces on four sides and louvered openings on the other four. The clock sides are topped by gables, and the tower is capped by a dome. The clock was donated by Charles Greenleaf, the benefactor of Franconia's Abbie Greenleaf Library, and was manufactured by E. Howard & Co. of Boston, Massachusetts.

Notable alumni

  • Jessica Garretson Finch (1893), author, suffragette, founding president of Finch College
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