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Kimball Jenkins Estate- A Historic Home for the Arts

By Nathan Wyckoff

Concord, New Hampshire, has more than it's fair share of beauty. The main street community appears idyllic, with the shining gold of the Capital dome visible for blocks, and clean storefronts that boast fine food and unique shopping are in no short supply. But there's something else that Concord has, something tucked away beneath verdant trees that sits sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city- that something is a bastion of historical architecture and artistic fellowship, The Kimball Jenkins Estate.

The Estate began it's life as the property of John Kimball in 1765, a decade before the start of the Civil War. Under the guiding hand of John and his ensuing heirs, the estate grew a number of ever-improving homes and outbuildings, until John's grandson, Samuel Sparhawk Kimball, began construction on what is now known as the Mansion.

A grand brick building of Victorian design, the Mansion is home to marble fireplaces, embellished detailing and unique frescoes that have been duplicated in other locations across the nation. The Mansion serves as the center of operations for the Estate, but is not the only building of note--the Yellow Building stands across from it, which predates the Mansion and is the oldest structure on the property. Originally built as law offices, the Yellow Building is flanked by the Carriage House and together, the Mansion, Yellow Building, and Carriage House serve as the core of the esteemed Kimball Jenkins School of Art.

The School of Art was a gift to the people of Concord from the last of the Kimball heirs, Carolyn Jenkins. Carolyn was a longtime lover of both art and community and was herself a prominent figure in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre. Through her career, she worked with legends as diverse as Angela Lansbury, David Carradine and Julie Andrews, and her appreciation for her hometown and the arts led her to dedicate The Kimball Jenkins Estate to the "encouragement of art" after her passing.

"The Estate does a good job of bringing art to the community, and also helps the community itself make art," says Estate Director Ryan Linehan. "We want to honor the intent of the property and enliven the community in the process."

The estate does that by providing art instruction to over 1,300 students a year, and also sponsors a youth Art Camp each summer. The summer camp program has become a Concord community staple, and offers six weeks of themed art fun for kids and teens. Each week can be taken independently, or children can enjoy hands-on art projects all summer from July to August.

"There really is something for every kid," says camp Director and painter Lee Johnson. "Animal Week, Great Artists Week, Comics and Manga Week--kids get to experience whatever themes they love and they learn a lot about art in the process. It's always fun, and a great way for kids to express themselves and discover their creative sides."

Art isn't the only thing available at Kimball Jenkins, though. The grounds, which include canopied green lawns and gardens, along with the Mansion and Carriage House buildings, can be secured for events. Parties, music festivals, and weddings are common, as are a wide variety of community events like the 1st Annual Fairy Festival on June 14th from 11AM-3PM.

The Fairy Festival promises a unique experience for participants of all ages to connect with nature and let their imaginations fly. Award Winning author and Illustrator Tracy Kane will read one of her stories and teach participants how to build fairy houses from natural materials. Families will be provided with materials to begin building their very own whimsical fairy houses on four acres of the Estate's grounds. Families will have the opportunity to take part in an honest-to-goodness Fairy Tea Party, a fairy-themed silent auction and have books signed by Tracy. Please visit for additional details.

Again, Estate Director Ryan Linehan: "We always have something new coming up for people of all ages. It's part of our mission, why we're here and such a strong part of Concord. Kimball Jenkins is where people can go to experience something new, in a setting that calls back to the rich New England history that we're proud to be a part of. Kimball Jenkins really is a unique place."

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance thought the same thing, and voted Kimball Jenkins Estate one of its "Seven to Save" selections in 2013. The selections are chosen every year from amongst the most unique and honored locations in the state, and highlights places that should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. With it's strong community connections and dedication to the creative arts, Kimball Jenkins Estate is the epitome of just such a place.

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Ron Burtonz

"The Estate began it's life as the property of John Kimball in 1765, a decade before the start of the Civil War." ?? That must be a typo. I'm sure it was supposed to be something like: "The Estate

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