06 – View Looking South on Central Ave, ca. 1900



Taken just after the turn of the 20th century, this photograph shows the bustling business activity at Central (Lower) Square. On the right is the Masonic Temple, housing, among many other businesses, Frank J. Hanson’s gentlemen’s clothing store and Charles A. Faxon’s grocery. The Masonic Temple was to burn down on March 29, 1906. It would be rebuilt the following year.

Next door was the Belknap Congregational Church, built in 1859 and closed in 1911. It was razed in the mid-1960s for a parking lot. Just up the street at the corner was J. Herbert Seavey’s Hardware Store, a Dover institution for many decades.

Dover’s City Hall and Opera House sits on the site of our present-day city hall. It was Dover’s third municipal building and, like the first two, burned down as well. The Opera House fire happened in 1933 and the building was replaced with the current Municipal Building in 1935. At the corner of Hale Street is the Woodman Block. Its mansard roof is an outstanding example of Victorian-style commercial architecture. It was built in the late 1890s by Theodore Woodman who also donated the land now occupied by the Woodman Park School.

The left side of the photo depicts Foster’s Daily Democrat, founded by Joshua Lane Foster on June 18, 1873. Its first issues were four pages and sold for 1.5 cents to just 150 readers. Foster’s moved to this location around 1900 and expanded, over the next decades, to encompass nearly the whole block. Foster’s moved its printing operation to Venture Drive in 1998 and its advertising and news offices to the new facility in 2008.

For more information about the Masonic Temple Fire, Click Here.

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