Gilman Garrison House
12 Water St.
In 1709, the Gilman family built a garrison, or fortified structure, near the banks of the Squamscot River, where the family owned lucrative sawmills. The interior of this unusual building reveals walls constructed of massive sawn logs and a pulley above the main entrance that was used to operate a portcullis, or reinforced door. In the mid-eighteenth century, Peter Gilman substantially remodeled the house, adding a wing with elegantly paneled rooms.
Today, visitors experience the house as it was restored by William Dudley, the last owner of the house before Historic New England acquired it in 1966. Dudley created a museum of regional history through the lives of generations of Gilmans and other residents. His installation includes view ports that reveal the fascinating architectural evolution of the garrison house.
The site is open third Saturdays, June through September, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tours on the hour. Last tour at 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 seniors, $2.50 students, and free for Historic New England members and Exeter residents.
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