The Town Common was originally nothing more than an open area in front of the Presbyterian Church. Later, structures and sugar maples were added to attempt at creating a unified town common area. The Town Hall came to the area around 1845 and in 1856, parishioners built the Methodist Church on the Common.
The Soldier’s Memorial was constructed in 1884, followed by other memorials to the Revolutionary War, World War I, and World War II. The Grange Number 44 built their Hall on the common in 1909.
The Common’s bandstand was first conceived in 1972. In September of this year, Londonderry’s 250th anniversary committee met to determine how to spend $1,400. After long discussions, the idea of a bandstand was presented and approved by majority. One thousand dollars was set aside for the start of the project. When the committee held their last meeting of the year in November, they still had not made precise plans regarding the building of the bandstand.
In Spring of 1973, members of committee enlisted the help of an MIT graduate student, who not only designed the bandstand, but also built a scale model. Throughout the summer, the site of the bandstand was excavated, and the footings were poured. That same year, during the Old Home Day Celebration, townspeople bought bricks for a dollar each, and set them into the foundation wall. The committee raised $211 this way. By fall, 1973, the foundation and the back wall were completed.
Over the next three years, several local businesses and individuals donated their time, energy and weekends to the building of the bandstand. Slowly, the roof was raised, the slab floor was poured, the trim was installed, the electrical work completed, and paint and stain were applied. Finally, in August of 1976, Londonderry considered their new bandstand completed.
On August 22, 1976, during the Bicentennial Old Home Day, the bandstand was officially dedicated. In a special ceremony, Chairman Charles Fowler turned the keys to the bandstand over to Selectman Robert Early. Chairman Fowler remarked during this part of the ceremony, “This has been built for the citizens of Londonderry, use it to the fullest, enjoy it. It was built to be used, but not abused, because too much when into it.”
And so the bandstand remains today, used by the residents, an icon of hard work and sweat, and what us “farm folk” can accomplish when we put our minds to it.
The Town Common is located on the corner of Mammoth Road and Pillsbury Road. For detailed directions, browse this map!