Community Heritage, Visual & Performing Arts
The “Balsams Barn,” which housed the horses and coaches needed to
transport people to what eventually became The Balsams.
Looking at the Tillotson Center today with its art gallery, Historical Society annex, and 171- seat theater, it is difficult to believe that this unique building began as a horse stable. It is true, of course, its beginnings were very humble, but with the work, contributions, and sweat of many dedicated patrons, that stable has blossomed into the North Country's premiere venue for community heritage, visual & performing arts.
The original structure was known as the “Balsams Barn”, was built around 1909. This was the place that housed the coaches and horses which transported the guests between the Colebrook train station and the Dix House, later known as the Balsams Hotel.
In the 1920’s, the Colebrook Grange purchased the building and converted it to a meeting hall and community center. The chapter closed in 1965 and the Colebrook Grange merged with the Mohawk Grange. The hall was then purchased by the Nugent family and was used for the storage of many historical artifacts collected by the family over the years.
In 2006, with a generous $50,000 contribution from Mrs. Louise Tillotson, the building was purchased from the Nugent family. The Center's name was chosen because of her belief in this project, as well as her love for the arts.
In addition to her generosity, the Center also received funding from grants and contributions made by the 500 founding members. Designed by noted architect John Kaufmann, the Tillotson Center has become a focal point for community heritage, visual & performing arts in New Hampshire's North Country, with support not only from throughout that region, but also from neighboring Maine, Vermont and Canada.
From left to right: Linda Tillotson, Monda Anderson, Arnold Goodrum, Irene Bean, Terry Hurlbert, Judy Gove, Rick Tillotson, Sharon Pearson, Sandra Riendeau, and Jim Dalley
In 2005 the first grant was for $5,000 from New Hampshire Electric Co-op