LCHIP Awards $3.6M to NH Projects

The Col. Brown House in Haverhill Corner received one of 29 historic preservation project grants across the state this LCHIP grant round. The $150,000 grant to project leaders, Haverhill Heritage, will be used for acquistion and repair; it follows an assessment grant from the Preservation Alliance earlier this year.

The Col. Brown House in Haverhill Corner received one of 29 historic preservation project grants across the state this LCHIP grant round. The $150,000 grant to project leaders, Haverhill Heritage, will be used for acquistion and repair; it follows an assessment grant from the Preservation Alliance earlier this year.

The N.H. Preservation Alliance has received a $50,000 block grant award from the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) to help us continue to fund condition assessments on historic buildings across our state.

The money will be distributed to applying nonprofits and municipalities hoping to better understand historic building needs before applying for larger bricks and mortar grants. Since 2010, we have granted 43 condition assessments; these have propelled groups in diverse places like Canaan, Portsmouth, Middleton, Newbury, Keene, Rye, and Haverhill develop "road maps" to successful preservation projects. The matching block grants, which range from $1,000 to $4,500, fund teams of architectural historians, preservation contractors, and/or architects to analyze a building's architectural evolution and pressing maintenance needs. 

The Wentworth Congregational Church received a condition assessment grant to understand structural issues in their basement and timber frame, earlier in 2017. 

The Wentworth Congregational Church received a condition assessment grant to understand structural issues in their basement and timber frame, earlier in 2017. 

“The planning money is often hard for groups at the start of a project to secure, and it is critical to getting what are often very complicated projects off to a good start,” said Jennifer Goodman, our executive director. A strong planning document often saves project leaders time and money in the long run. 

Other LCHIP historic resource recipients include twenty-nine buildings representing nearly two centuries of New Hampshire history, from 1769 to 1967.  Eight of the historic properties had been listed to the Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list of endangered properties, and three have received planning grants from the organization.  The new group of grant winners includes two rare remaining railroad buildings (Bartlett Roundhouse and Wolfeboro Freight Shed) and the first monument in the country dedicated to women’s service in both military and civilian roles (at Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge).  

The Preservation Alliance is very grateful to the N.H. Legislature and Governor for their support of LCHIP, a catalytic program that supports good jobs and keeps money circulating in local economies. 

Is your group interested in starting a preservation project? Call us today to figure out how to begin.

Young Warner Couple Embraces the Challenge of Preserving a Local Landmark: c. 1870 Barn Showcased in 52 Barns in 52 Weeks Initiative

IMG_0006.JPG

Jason Mutschler and Abigail Strauss immediately felt connected to this c. 1870 barn in Warner Village which they purchased about a year ago. "We are so excited to be the next caretakers of this special place. There is something unique about it, among the mismatched but perfect rafters," said Strauss who grew up in an old house in Jaffrey and attended school in farm structures during her preschool and elementary years.

Mutschler and Strauss reached out to the Preservation Alliance for some help and were awarded a barn assessment grant in the Alliance's second grant round of the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks 2017 barn initiative.   Preservation contractor Ian Blackman visited the barn and created a professional "road map" for repair or re-use made possible through generous donors to the campaign. The couple’s attendance at a summer barn repair workshop also allowed them to gather information and connect with other barn owners, and they’ve started some preservation projects.  The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is highlighting this couple and their barn because of  their commitment to preserve this local landmark for future generations with help from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign.

IMG_0019.JPG

Mutschler and Strauss’ long-range plan is to rehabilitate this historic 50’ x 36’ structure to use as a workshop, and for storage and entertaining, while maintaining its 19th-century charm. The structure needs their investment to address critical foundation, sill and framing needs.  

The barn and farmhouse were originally built by George F. Quimby, a local farmer as recorded by the 1870 U.S. Census. Like most town farmers with smaller lots, Quimby probably used the barn to house his livestock for personal use, with a little left over to sell to his neighbors. This was common with village barns: with a cow or two for milking, a horse for transportation, a few chickens, a pig, and some sheep, and storage of hay during the winter months.

After Quimby’s death, the land passed to his wife Emma. The 1892 Hurd map shows subsequent owners including Edmund C. Cole, the first principal of the Simonds Free High School and owner/editor of the Kearsarge Independent newspaper for over 30 years. Cole then sold the property to Samuel H. Billings, who made some improvements to the barn before selling the property to S.B. Clark in 1925. Clark then sold the property to Horace Martin, who owned the IGA grocery store in Warner Village, that same year. The Warner Historical Society’s records indicate that Mrs. Martin still resided in the farmhouse as late as 1976.

The couple is new to Warner but love their property and the community. “As soon as we looked at it, we knew it was our home," said Strauss. With the guidance and inspiration offered from the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign, Mutschler and Strauss should have many happy years enjoying their iconic barn within walking distance of Warner Village. The Preservation Alliance wishes them well and thanks them for their commitment to preserve a piece of New Hampshire’s agricultural heritage.

The goal of 52 Barns in 52 Weeks is to help at least 52 barn owners across the state with assessment grants, assistance in securing tax relief, and educational opportunities to help save their historic barns. Throughout 2017, barns and their owners are being showcased by the Preservation Alliance to celebrate good work and offer practical information and inspiration to others.  

We are grateful to all of our donors to date, and encourage others to add their support with an investment in the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign so we can do more! 

IMG_0031.JPG

Lyme Historians Working to Save a Local Landmark - one of 52 Barns in 52 Weeks

In Lyme, a group of enthusiastic and dedicated locals is working to restore an early 19th century English barn attached to the Churchill-Melvin House, at 15 Main Street, in the center of Lyme Plain Village. The Lyme Historians, which was organized in 1961 as a historical society and currently has nearly 300 members, purchased the landmark property in 2016 to serve as their new public museum. The group secured an assessment grant from the Preservation Alliance to map out a plan for the barn’s repair and conversion for educational use. The grant was made possible by donors to the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is highlighting this barn and this community project as one of our 52 Barns in 52 Weeks because of the visibility and significance of the place, and the group’s commitment to preservation “best practices” as they incorporate the old barn into their plan for expanded program space.

The house was apparently built as the law office for Judge D. C. Churchill around 1850 (his home was across the Common). The first hundred years of owners—Churchills, Melvins, and Wests—were prominent citizens of this small town and also proprietors of the general store next door.  Diaries indicate that nearly all of the locals shopped at the store, and photographs show a line of hitching posts along the boundary with the Churchill-Melvin House.  The house and its barn have long been prominent buildings in town. 

The attached barn adds to the idyllic landscape of this small New Hampshire village. Its close neighbors include the Old Cemetery, an historic line of horse sheds, the former town jail, and the white-steepled 1812 church on the well-used and beloved Common. The barn and house are contributing structures to the Lyme Common Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

38. RT, LD, LW TT, Ray Clark outside E wall -- GOOD.JPG

At present, structural and practical issues limit the options for using the barn to its full potential. Once rehabilitated, the Lyme Historians plan to use it for educational purposes, both as a good example of an early 19th century barn, and for exhibits or demonstrations of vintage farm-related items, as well as an event venue. The group received a mini-grant from the Preservation Alliance that provided for an evaluation by Richard M. Thompson of Sunrise Woodworks, of Cornish. Mr. Thompson gave them an oral report on his findings at the time of his visit, followed by a written summary as a guide for planning and restoration. 

The attached, three-bay, modified English style (eaves entrance) barn, measures 30’ x 40’.  The barn held horse stalls, and in the cellar, had stalls or pens for pigs or sheep and storage.  Close inspection during Thompson’s assessment dates the barn to ca. 1810 (pre-dating the house). This means it was probably moved and attached to the new house around 1850, a time when bank barns became popular. Moving a barn was not uncommon at the time. Thompson was impressed by the massive, hand-hewn first floor beams that are well-preserved after 200 years.

The goal of 52 Barns in 52 Weeks is to help at least 52 barn owners across the state with assessment grants, assistance in securing tax relief, and educational opportunities to help save their historic barns. Throughout 2017, barns and their owners are being showcased by the Preservation Alliance to celebrate good work and offer practical information and inspiration to others. 

We are grateful to all of our donors to date, and encourage others to add their support with an investment in the 52 Barns in 52 Weeks campaign so we can do more!

Check out the Lyme Historians’ website for hours and information on visiting the site or to follow the restoration progress: http://lymehistorians.wordpress.com.  The Lyme Historians are being deliberate about their restoration planning, and the visibility of the project in the center of the village will serve as a “good practices” example.

2017 Seven to Save Profile: Grafton Center Meetinghouse

It’s impossible to drive through Grafton on US Route 4 and not notice this burned-out shell of a former meetinghouse. Fraying tarps attempt to keep the elements out from the interior’s chestnut pews and paneling. Purple paint, rainbow fences, vinyl siding, and a fiberglass spire all speak to how various congregations have used the 1797 building, which stands prominently at the head of Grafton Center’s common.

Some history: the meetinghouse was constructed by Congregationalists who didn’t want to use the existing meetinghouse in town, co-built by the Baptists. After the passage of the Toleration Act of 1819, which separated church and state, the town and church finally divided the floors of the building. The church took the second floor and added a bell tower, while town business occurred on the first floor. This relationship remained until 1963, when the meetinghouse became the sole property of the church. In 2010, the church was sold into private ownership, whereupon it became home to the Peaceful Assembly Church. Following a property tax dispute with the town, the building sustained severe fire damage in January 2016. The fire claimed the life of the resident minister, John Connell.

Graftonites feared that after the fire, the building would be demolished and the town would lose its meetinghouse. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of volunteer fire departments and the building’s massive timber frame structure, the building still stands and can be restored. This is great news to a town of 1,200. It’s easy to see how its loss would be catastrophic to the identity of Grafton and to the generations of Graftonites who have voted, worshiped, married, and mourned the passing of loved ones here. 

The property is privately owned and the daunting rehabilitation project requires immediate structural stabilization and weatherization. Saving the meetinghouse will take a lot of patience, money, community buy-in, and…money. But those in Grafton know it’s worth it. 

For more information, contact the Preservation Alliance at 224-2281.

2017 Seven to Save Profile: Bartlett's St. Joseph Catholic Church

The former St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church was built in 1890 to accommodate the religious needs of Bartlett’s growing immigrant population. Bartlett, being a logging and railroad hub by the late 1800s, boasted a significant number of French Canadian, Italian and Irish families who did not identify with their Congregational and Baptist neighbors. So, this humble church was constructed under the direction of Father J. N. Plante, from Lancaster, who recognized that the 34 mile train ride to his home parish was just too far.

St. Joseph’s was the first Catholic church built in the Mt. Washington Valley and it cost the then princely sum of $2,732.28 to build. For more than 100 years, St. Joseph’s was the epicenter of Catholic life in Bartlett as well as drawing from other areas of the valley. After a regional consolidation that closed the parish in 1999, the Bartlett School District purchased the building from the Diocese with the intention of using it for expanded education space. That plan was thwarted by high costs related to the need to abate asbestos, lead paint and mold. The building then was basically used as a storage facility.

Mounting deferred maintenance costs as well as the environmental hazards ultimately led to discussions of demolition. Members of the Bartlett Historical Society (BHS), along with a group of like-minded townspeople entered the scene and ultimately convinced the school district to delay any major decisions until it could be determined if there was sufficient interest in saving the building. The society took the lead in offering to rehabilitate the building and transform it into a historical museum, headquarters for the society and a genealogical and research center. With a long-term lease from the district in place, they started a capital campaign to raise $450,000 to preserve and restore the building. In a little over a year of actual fund raising, the BHS has raised over $130,000 towards this cause.

It is anticipated that Seven to Save designation will bring added attention to preserving this important building. The BHS looks forward to giving this 127-year-old landmark new life under their stewardship. 

For more information, visit the Bartlett Historical Society website. You can also contact Phil Franklin (BHS secretary) at 603-374-5023 or phil@BartlettHistory.org or Norm Head (BHS president) at normiejoe@gmail.com or 603-986-6278.

2017 Seven to Save Profile: Lancaster's Parker J. Noyes Building

Parker J. Noyes was an enterprising pharmacist and inventor who made a name for himself and Lancaster with products like the sugar coated pill. His company was later responsible for developing the first precision food pellet for laboratory animal use. Thanks to Noyes, by the turn of the twentieth century, Lancaster was an epicenter of pharmaceutical manufacturing, allowing the company to expand and invest in its research, advertising, and Main Street presence. The company also felt strongly about the Lancaster community. During the Great Depression, the Noyes Family constructed a brick oven used to bake bread to donate to neighbors and townspeople.

Following a postwar nation-wide trend, the Parker J. Noyes Company left Main Street for Lancaster’s outskirts in the 1960s. The building was converted into mixed-use, but stayed in the hands of the Noyes Family, who continued to care for and maintain it. Today, the building is in need of rehabilitation and a plan to return its three floors to good use. Lancaster is seeing reinvestment along Main Street and the Parker J. Noyes Building is poised to complement the ongoing efforts of other developers and small business owners.

Because this imposing Italianate block forms the northern gateway into the village, its future is critical to the health of Lancaster. Main Street has lost several buildings – some from fire, others from demolition for Family Dollar. The town has since passed form-based zoning and RSA 79-E, but Seven to Save momentum for this building will be important as the current owner and town look toward their next steps.

For more information, contact Ben Gaetjens-Oleson (Lancaster town planner) at 603-788-3391 or planning@lancasternh.org

2017 Seven to Save Profile: Moultonborough's French-Taylor House

When the Town of Moultonborough voted to acquire the French-Taylor House with five acres at the center of Moultonborough's historic village in March 2014, the property with its structures was seen as an asset and as a placeholder for future community uses. Since then, the vacant house  has languished without planning, and deteriorated without proper attention and maintenance. In March, Storm Stella winds tore large shingle sections off the house and barn, leading to new water infiltration. Now, some are pushing for demolition of these buildings, claiming that the visibly neglected historic house has ‘no value’ to the community.

However, this community landmark is significant both for its history and for its architecture. As noted by James Garvin, the French-Taylor House is a valuable local example of a broad-gabled Greek Revival dwelling. Built c. 1840, the house was expanded in the early 20th century by James French, the longtime state legislator who was one of Moultonborough’s most prominent citizens. Later, it was the residence of Adele Taylor, the town's longest-serving librarian. The intact interior features beautiful hardwood floors, woodwork, and original hardware and lighting fixtures.

The Taylor House, as it is known locally, stands at the center of the Village, directly across from the Moultonborough Grange Hall, owned by the Moultonborough Historical Society and listed to ‘Seven to Save’ in 2012. Loss of either or both of these buildings at the core of the historic village would severely impact Moultonborough's unique character, streetscape, and sense of place. In early September, the Village lost a key community landmark when the former Country Fare Inn was demolished, soon be replaced by a rural strip mall. The historic village area is now hemmed in on both ends by out of scale commercial developments.

The Heritage Commission was given the go-ahead to evaluate the French-Taylor House in May, focusing attention on its future community use. In June, the house received a determination of eligibility for the State Register of Historic Places, the pre-requisite for state-funded study and repair grants. The Commission then successfully applied for a Building Condition Assessment study (report forthcoming). Two well-attended community open houses were held at the property in July, where members of the public voiced their support for re-use of the building.

84% of respondents to the Town’s 2014 ‘Village Vision’ survey agreed that “When planning for the future, it is important to preserve and encourage the use of historic buildings in the ‘village’ area.” The French-Taylor House's potential for public or commercial use has yet to be fully explored with a community input and planning process. It is hoped that Seven to Save status and visibility will convince naysayers that Town heritage and remaining historic village buildings do matter, and thus help shift the conversation from demolition to resuscitation.

For more information, contact Cristina Ashjian (Heritage Commission Chair) at 603-476-8446 or cristina.ashjian@gmail.com