Historic Harrisville

P.O. Box 79
Harrisville, NH 03450


Office Hours
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM


Wednesday, February 21
 Doors open at 6:30 
Spinning Mill, Harrisville Designs
February 21, 2018
9:00-10:00 a.m.
April 21, 2018
10:30 a.m.



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Street Light Update
The Town of Harrisville is currently undertaking a project to improve the town’s street lighting.  Their aim is to ensure that there is light where it is needed, and that the system is as energy efficient and cost effective as possible.  The town’s residents approved an amended warrant article last March that allowed for the replacement of street lights after a 2-month test period where the town, and namely the Historic District Commission, could review the options and weigh in on what would be appropriate in the historic district. 
The Select Board chose a new light fixture and installed two examples on Friday, September 15th.  The lights are both cobra head style LED fixtures with a 25 watt LED bulb.  The difference between the two is the color temperature of the bulbs: the one installed in front of the general store is a warmer 3000 kelvin light, while the one installed lower on Main Street, just past the Cheshire Mill Complex as you head toward Hancock Road, is a cooler 4000 kelvin light.
Historic Harrisville is very concerned that replacing the town’s historic street lights will alter its character.  The existing “radial wave” style light fixtures, which were first installed in Harrisville in 1915, are over 100 years old and reflect the early 20th century development of electricity in the town.  With their incandescent bulbs, they provide small amounts of warm light along the path of those walking and driving along the roadway.  The modern LED fixtures are physically different, and out of character for the village, but also produce much more light that is dispersed over a greater distance.  Historic Harrisville believes that, in addition to energy efficiency and cost, the impact of lighting on the ambiance and cultural integrity of the town is crucial and should be considered in the decision making process.   
Request an Alternative 
Determined to find an alternative that is more appropriate for the historic district, the Historic District Commission identified an LED fixture that is nearly identical to the appearance of the historic radial wave light fixtures.  This alternate fixture is 13 watts (rather than 25), and has a warmer color temperature.  Thus, it should generate a more appropriate quantity and quality of light.  Historic Harrisville has purchased a sample of this radial wave LED fixture, and obtained Eversource’s approval to have it installed for consideration as an alternative to the cobra head fixtures.  The town has the light, and will have it installed soon.  We will notify you when the final example is installed so that you can compare it to the existing lights and the other samples, and be prepared to offer your input at the upcoming public hearing (date to be determined). 
Replacement using the radial wave LED fixture alternative will still result in a loss of the historic lights and their unique incandescent character at night, but appears to be a reasonable compromise that achieves the town’s lighting and energy efficiency goals, while generally retaining the historic character of the village. 
What you can do:

  • Attend a night walk.  Historic Harrisville will organize an evening walk around Harrisville village to look at the street lights and discuss the options. Please join us and be part of the conversation!
  • Speak up at the public meeting.  Sometime after November 15th, the Select Board will hold a public meeting to gather input on the lights, including which is the preferred alternative and where lights should be located. Please stay tuned and plan to attend this meeting to voice your opinion.  If you are unable to attend, please provide your comments to the Select Board in writing prior to the hearing.
Three radial wave light fixtures, including an original dating to the 1910s or 1920s on the right, a mid-century aluminum version, likely from the 1950s or 1960s on the left, and the modern LED sample in the middle.