Chase Barn Playhouse in Whitefield


The printed schedule here, dating back 38 years, is from the final season of the Chase Barn Playhouse in Whitefield. Begun by the legendary Will Chase in the Depression, for a generation it brought top-flight theater and music to northern New Hampshire. This month, Steven Bissonnette makes his debut in our pages with a feature story recalling Will and his famous summer playhouse. His story will bring back many memories for people. While we never had the pleasure of attending a Chase Barn production, it recalled for us the time over 20 years ago when we photographed the former playhouse for a feature appearing in the county newspaper. It was then that we met Will’s niece, Lucy Chase Sparks. Her stories about “Uncle Will,” as well as Steve’s piece, helps us realize that Will Chase would have been a fascinating person to know.

Our thanks to Frank Owen of Colebrook for loaning us the great old pictures of the Monadnock Congregational Church being painted back in 1908. Painting a church steeple has never been an easy affair, but doing it in a necktie atop a huge ladder must have been quite an experience.

Susan takes us back to Bibleland this month, an unusual theme park in Lancaster which is largely forgotten today. This ambitious project, undertaken by the son of the local newspaper editor, faced considerable odds from the start, even with the large amount of ink the editor of the Coos County Democrat gave to the enterprise throughout 1968. But, alas, in an almost bibical ending, a flood washed away the dream. Thanks to the Claude Brousseau family for first making this story known to us through the artwork of the talented Littleton artist who designed the brochure. Once again, we express our thanks to Weeks Memorial Library in Lancaster for making its newspaper collection available to our research.

Our appreciation also goes to the Sundman family of Littleton Coin, who were a great help in forwarding materials about the new state quarter featuring the Old Man of the Mountain.

Also this month, we ride for a little while with the old sagebrush troubadours of radio way back when. And finally, Barry Kelley of White Mountain Lumber deserves a big “thanks” for tipping us off to and providing information about the anniversary of a world’s record set at a Berlin sawmill 100 years ago this month. The wood cut for market in one 11-hour shift in September 1900 by the Brown Company is a record which still stands to this day.

Read our next entry here.

Charles J. Jordan