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Published: 07/28/2006    print this story   email this story  

Four corners are Chester's icon

By Jim Montalto

If you are standing in the center of Chester, be careful. You'll be in the middle of the Route 102 and 121 intersection. Traffic aside, you'll also have the chance to see Chester's claim to fame. Three of the four corners surrounding the crossway are considered historic landmarks.

"The National Park Service placed Stevens Memorial Hall on its register in September 2004. It was the town hall for many years, but now serves as the meeting place of the Chester Historical Society," says Chester Public Library Director Melissa Rossetti.

The First Church Congregational, on 4 Chester St., was established in 1730. Its first meeting house, which was just 50 feet by 38 feet, was built in 1731. In 1772, church members voted to expand the church on new land donated by the congregation's second reverend, Ebenezer Flagg. A steeple and a porch also were added, and in 1850 a small organ was introduced. First Church Congregational was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1986.

Across the street from the church is the state's oldest graveyard, Village Cemetery. Stones signed by New England's finest sculptors can be found here including those of Stephen and Abel Webster, John Marble, John Wright and Timothy Eastman. Revolutionary heroes rest in the cemetery as well as two New Hampshire governors and a Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Visitors will also find smiling and frowning angels carved into headstones by Anthony and Samuel Morse. The Village Cemetery was listed on the National Register in 1979.

On the fourth corner is a monument to honor the Chester minutemen who fought in the American Revolution.

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