Speak Up For Increasing LCHIP Grant-making and More Help for Community Projects: Senate and House Policy Committee Pass SB 74

We hope you'll help us support a legislative proposal led by Senator Martha Fuller Clark to increase funding for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. The proposal adds $10 to certain deed recording fees, and is projected to add about $1.5 million a year to a level that has been at about $3.5-4 million/year.  As you may know first-hand, demand far exceeds available funds, and historic preservation activity supports jobs, enhances tax base and serves as a catalyst for additional community development activity. 

The Preservation Alliance is very appreciative of strong support of this proposal from Senators representing communities across the state as well as members of the House Committee on Resources, Recreation and Development. Next, the full House votes. If successful, the bill will advance to a fiscal committee. Representatives from local projects in need as well as statewide organizations like the Preservation Alliance, the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests and The Nature Conservancy are in strong support of the bill.

  • The Preservation Alliance has worked with legislators and conservation partners to develop and build the impact of LCHIP over time on the state’s natural and historic resources. Click here to see all past LCHIP projects listed by Town.

  • Since 2000, LCHIP matching grants have preserved or revitalized 223 historic structures and protected over 283,000 acres of important natural resources.  For every $1 of grant funds invested in a project, the community raises almost $6 from other sources to match it. That far exceeds the 50% required level of match.

  • Between 2001 and 2017 $46.9 million of state money through LCHIP has led to a total investment in projects of over $316 million. Bringing all that new money into communities strengthens the local economy.

  • Over the last 10 years, 177 out of the 505 total applications received were not funded.  That figure indicates the demand and need for LCHIP continues, even 18 years after the Legislature established the program.

  • The Land and Community Heritage Commission that recommended the creation of LCHIP in 1999 determined a funding level of $12 million per year was needed to have a meaningful program. This amount has never been available. Demand for funding continues to exceed the amount available.

Here are some ways you can help:

Talk to your representative about the benefits of LCHIP. Offer examples in your community.

Thank members of the House Committee on Resources, Recreation and Development. Link to members and contact info here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/links.aspx?x=3&id=13

Let us know if you have questions? Email projects@nhpreservation.org.

Many more community landmarks are in need of seed monies from LCHIP that will be a catalyst for additional fundraising and community development benefits. The tiny town of Acworth leveraged LCHIP grants to achieve a national award-winning rehab while supporting many local tradespeople.

Many more community landmarks are in need of seed monies from LCHIP that will be a catalyst for additional fundraising and community development benefits. The tiny town of Acworth leveraged LCHIP grants to achieve a national award-winning rehab while supporting many local tradespeople.

2018 in Review

Here at the Preservation Alliance, we want to share some of what we accomplished in 2018. All of this work is possible thanks to members and donors like you, our incredible statewide network of preservation practitioners, organizational partners and civic leaders. We think New Hampshire is special not only because of its tremendous historic buildings and communities but also because of this collaborative and generous spirit.

We granted 12  Condition Assessment Grants, of up to $4,500 in matching funds, thanks to a block grant through LCHIP. These reports assess the condition of a historic building, provide cost estimates, outline phases for preservation, and help unlock larger grant asks from LCHIP and other fundraising success.

2018's pool included 4 libraries, 3 churches/meetinghouses, and 3 town halls. The pool also included Seven to Save property, Lancaster’s Parker J. Noyes Block and the former Highland Lake Grange Hall in East Andover.

On the smaller side, we granted 4 Mini Grants, which were used to assess smaller buildings or garner a second opinion from a preservation professional. Some of these grants are made possible through the wonderful Richard and Duffy Monahon Fund.

Sandown’s new Heritage Commission will work with the Conservation Commission to assess and eventually restore this town-owned barn.

Sandown’s new Heritage Commission will work with the Conservation Commission to assess and eventually restore this town-owned barn.

21 more barns received barn assessment grants and today, more than 556 barns in 90 communities are enrolled in RSA 79-D, the barn tax incentive program. The leading towns? Cornish and Freedom at 20, followed by Deerfield and Sandwich at 19 and Plainfield at 18.

2 new heritage commissions started up this year, in Sandown and Mont Vernon.

We welcomed approximately 2,500 attendees to this year’s Old House and Barn Expo. Of those, 74% owned an old house, 70% were actively working on a house project, and 45% were working on barn project. (Steve Booth Photography)

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We continued to capture our state through our Instagram page. This year, we posted 97 photos of New Hampshire landmarks - from barns in Bristol to churches in Eaton.

In May, we awarded 11 preservation projects achievement awards. Read about them - they include a church converted into condominiums, a 1950s garage-turned-coffee shop, and some incredible before and afters in Ashland, Littleton, Franklin, and Rochester.

We added 7 new resources to our Seven to Save list at our October announcement in Washington. This list now stands at 94. This year, we celebrated the purchase of Keene’s Grace United Methodist Church (listed 2009) by local digital marketing firm, Paragon, who hopes to rehabilitate the building for an expanding business. Lancaster’s Parker J. Noyes Block (listed 2017) will also see progress thanks to its purchase and planned rehabilitation by the Northern Forest Center. We’re also watching the unfolding situation in Gilford, where Kimball Castle (listed 2013) was sold for use as a venue space.

One resource was lost this year. Shelburne’s Aston-Lessard barn (listed 2016) collapsed on November 29. Overall, about 50% of the Seven to Save properties are saved or seeing progress. Another quarter are stalled, waiting on progress.

23, 109. Miles driven by Preservation Alliance staff to visit with people like you and help save and revive places we can’t imagine New Hampshire without.

We can’t wait to do more in 2019!

View from the West Coast

From the Preservation Alliance’s executive director, Jennifer Goodman

My recent trip to San Francisco and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference offered me updates and insights on the national preservation scene and how we are doing comparatively in the Granite State. Others like hearing from us too: over the years, I’ve presented and shared “best practices” including our work with conservation colleagues, preservation easements, creation and use of tax incentives, and barn preservation at this major event.  Special thanks to Innerglass Window Systems for supporting my trip!

Here are a few of my observations, with an over-arching “think big” theme:

Look beyond the building. Communities around the country and world are exploring the identification, promotion and stewardship of large cultural landscapes especially in the face of major energy projects (transmission lines, oil and gas development, etc.), and rising sea levels.  In New Hampshire, we have a good foundation for this sort of work: Preservationists and conservationists see the benefits of working together (and are often the same people!). National Register work done in the Dublin/Harrisville area and Squam Lakes watershed as well as Freedom’s Way Heritage Area (FWHA) in the south central part of New Hampshire and research done for the Northern Pass proposal offer good models.

In my presentation for a session called “Landscapes in Peril,” I offered advocacy strategies and emphasized the need for a proactive approach.  Some cool other examples I heard about: stewardship of the hill farms in the Lake District in England (a UNESCO World Heritage site with home of Beatrix Potter and lots of sheep) and the work of Jane Lennon in Australia. Also, check out livinglandscapeobserver.net.

Reach beyond the norm.  When communicating the benefits of preservation investment, folks in New Hampshire and elsewhere frequently make the connection between preservation and community development, job creation, tourism and housing, and other disciplines; new information about the public health benefits of old buildings and preservation activity is useful and inspiring.

How else can we incentivize preservation? Other states without a state income tax like Texas have designed a rehabilitation credit tied to other state tax liabilities. San Francisco has an incentive to help smaller, long-standing businesses survive and thrive.

Use the joy in preservation work as fuel.  Preservation work is complex and challenging in and of itself. And speaker after speaker offered that “living with water” and recent storms and other weather events are our “new normal.” In the face of all of this, it’s especially important to tap the passion and reflect on the joy in preservation activity. Old buildings offer “belonging” or “coming home” feelings, and preservation projects bring people together.  One theme that I see over and over again is how smart, creative teams working together get things done -- that's how buildings get re-used and revived by local advocates, private and public sector developers, and how communities secure and sustain preservation investment.  Let’s do a lot more!

LCHIP Grants Millions to Preservation Projects

Today, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) granted nearly $4 million in matching dollars to land conservation and historic preservation projects across the state.

Of the 26 historic resources and 16 natural resources receiving grant money, five are Seven to Save properties, one received a $500 mini grant/planning study from us, one received a barn grant assessment, and eight received planning studies through our conditions assessment block grant (also funded by LCHIP, and also to be funded in 2019). We also coached seven successful projects through our field service program.

Planning Studies

This year, six properties received planning study grants from LCHIP. These grants allow for in-depth examinations of buildings, including mechanical systems, structural analyses, and condition assessments. Recipients include Chesterfield Historical Society’s Stone House Tavern, Great North Woods Committee for the Arts’ Former Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Columbia, Fitwilliam Town Hall, Langdon Congregational Church, Tilton School Library/Mansion, and the NH Preservation Alliance (to redistribute as block grants for smaller assessments).

Of these, the Preservation Alliance was happy to assist in Chesterfield, Columbia, and Langdon.

Seven to Saves

Belmont’s Gale School (2017) will receive a $110,000 grant to help relocate the historic 1894 school threatened with demolition. 2018 listee, Turning Mill Pond at Canterbury Shaker Village, received a $97,339 grant to help repair a dam located within the cultural landscape of the National Historic Landmark district. Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord (2013 Seven to Save) will restore the mansion, with help from a $202,000 grant. In Alstead, Chase’s Mill received a second grant, this time for $150,000 to repair the exterior envelope of the building, including windows.

On the Natural Resource side, family farms (2014 Seven to Save) were represented by Farmington’s Scruton Dairy Farm - a fifth generation dairy farm that also received a barn assessment grant from the Alliance in 2015.

Planning Studies Yield Success Stories

Eight projects that received earlier planning studies through the NH Preservation Alliance will now see rehabilitation.

Those include Alstead’s Chase’s Mill; Farmington First Congregational Church (storm windows); Goshen Grange Hall (rehabilitation into town and SAU office space); Centennial Hall in North Hampton (rehabilitation of 2nd floor space); Plymouth’s Old Webster Court House (windows and basement improvements); Portsmouth Women’s Club (installation of sprinkler system); St. Matthew’s Chapel in Sugar Hill (foundation construction); and Whitcomb Hall in Swanzey (2nd floor rehabilitation).

Congratulations also to the following projects: Charlestown’s Silsby Free Library, Ladd-Gilman House in Exeter, Keene’s Ball Mansion (home of the Cheshire County Historical Society), Lebanon’s Kendrick-Wood House (home to the Upper Valley Music Center), Milton Free Library, Ingalls Memorial Library in Rindge, Rochester Opera House, and the Wolfeboro Freight Shed.

Since its incorporation in 2000, LCHIP has awarded over $43 million and protected over 257 historic buildings and conserved over 280,000 acres of land in a total of 157 communities. This investment - which now comes from a deed surcharge at the county level - has leveraged nearly $300 million in the program’s history.

The next LCHIP grant round opens in May 2019. If you are interested in creating a successful preservation project (that may or may not include LCHIP funding), please reach out to Andrew Cushing at the Preservation Alliance (ac@nhpreservation.org or 224-2281).

Preservation Personality Test

Members of the N.H. Preservation Alliance are a diverse, committed group. Here is a personality quiz to encourage you to think about your interests in historic preservation and support of the Preservation Alliance. Try to pick just one answer for each question, and consider our assessment below.

This sounds like an ideal afternoon:

A.     Investigate the timber framing in a double-English barn, or mid-19th century Moses Kent murals a federal home.

B.     Visit all the meetinghouses in the Templeton Run, a linear dispersion of a distinctive design running north of Templeton, MA into New Hampshire.

C.     Prepare stirring testimony for a planning board hearing or talk to your state representative about the benefits of historic preservation investment.

Which of these preservation icons would you like to be?

A.     Bob Villa, first host of This Old House.

B.     Part of the team that saved a historic mill, bridge, school, church or painted theater curtain.

C.     Dorothy Vaughn. Her activism in Portsmouth lead to the first use of urban renewal demolition funds for preservation in the U.S.

If you wrote a best-selling book or Hollywood scripts, it would be most like:

A.     House by Tracy Kidder or The Moneypit.

B.     Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or The Building History of Northern New England by James Garvin.

C.     The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton or the Economics of Historic Preservation by Donovan Rypkema.

·        If you answered a lot of As, you are likely an old house or barn enthusiast.

·        If you answered a lot of Bs, you are likely a community landmark advocate. Perhaps caring for an old town hall, church or helping with other civic issues in town.

·        If you answered a lot of Cs, you are likely a preservation activist involved in lots of different aspects of preservation activity.

The Preservation Alliance needs all types to help us do more! We support you; please support the Preservation Alliance today.

Preservation Alliance board members, staff and friends at Throwback Brewery, North Hampton (an award-winning farm re-use).  Photo: Steve Booth Photography

Preservation Alliance board members, staff and friends at Throwback Brewery, North Hampton (an award-winning farm re-use).  Photo: Steve Booth Photography

Why Ruggles Mine Should be Saved

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The signs announcing Grafton's Ruggles Mine are a fixture along Route 4 and 104. They’re painted brown and look a little homemade. Some announce the former tourist attraction as “world famous,” which maybe convinces some, but may come across as a little grandiose.

And yet, Preservation Alliance field service representative Andrew Cushing notes that his grandparents love to tell a story about their vacation out West in the 1970s when someone pointed to their station wagon’s wooden rooftop cargo box emblazoned with “Grafton, NH” and shouted across the parking lot, “Hey, Ruggles Mine!”  Those "world famous" brown signs seemed a little more believable after that.

After closing its door as a visitor destination in 2016, the future of Ruggles Mine has remained in limbo. Several price cuts failed to attract serious bids and the site has been subject to trespassing and vandalism – Grafton’s sole police officer can attest.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance approached officials in the N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation several months ago and proposed the site become the newest state park. While it would not be a conventional park, it would be a unique offering that combined historical, geologic, and natural features as well as incredible scenery. Its 235 acres is mostly forested, is adjacent to the Forest Society’s Grafton Pond Reservation and Blodgett Forest, and it sits squarely within the Quabbin to Cardigan Initiative.

1911 crew at Ruggles Mine. Courtesy Grafton Historical Society.

1911 crew at Ruggles Mine. Courtesy Grafton Historical Society.

The mine has tremendous historical value, not only to the state but the country. New Hampshire may be the Granite State, but the western hill towns of the state were especially known for their mica mines. Mica mines were common in the towns of Alstead, Gilsum, Grafton, and Groton, where the material would be used in lanterns and stove windows – and later, for electrical insulators.

Ruggles was the first mica mine in the United States. (In fact, before the Civil War, New Hampshire produced all of the mica in the United States.) Samuel Ruggles started mining in earnest in 1803, though records suggest that mica had been discovered in Isinglass Mountain as early as the 1770s. (Samuel Ruggles was actually more of an investor than a farmer or miner.) What ensued was over 150 years of active mining during which Ruggles was the largest mica and feldspar mine in New Hampshire.

Courtesy Grafton Historical Society.

Courtesy Grafton Historical Society.

The result was a scarred landscape with spectacular pegmatitic arches. When the mine closed in 1962 due to changes in the global markets, the site was purchased as a tourist attraction. Between 1962 and 2016, the mine welcomed rock hounds and curious families alike, with the draw being the ability to hammer away in hopes of finding gems or rocks.

The Preservation Alliance is pleased that the N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation is actively exploring whether the property meets its mission as well as financial and operational issues.  New Hampshire has nearly one hundred state parks, including mountain peaks, lakeside beaches, gorges, and historic sites. Because the state’s park system is largely self-funded, new additions are rare. (Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin is the newest member of the park family, purchased in 2007.) Ruggles could provide income to the state park system – and creative types have already suggested using the mine for concerts or outdoor art exhibits, such as the one created by the Revolving Museum in 2017.

Such an endeavor will take time, money, and imagination. The result, however, will be an important landscape preserved for the future. Support for such an initiative can surely be...mined.

The view from the parking lot at Ruggles Mine affords northerly views toward Mount Cardigan.

The view from the parking lot at Ruggles Mine affords northerly views toward Mount Cardigan.

New Commissioner Offers Vision, Priorities and Some Favorites

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Sarah L. Stewart of Manchester became the commissioner of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources on June 4. In addition to the Division of Historical Resources, the department includes the Division of Parks and Recreation, the Division of Forests and Lands, the State Library and the State Council on the Arts.

When her nomination was announced by Gov. Sununu, Commissioner Stewart said why such a diverse department is important: “We represent so much of what is great about our state. We can leverage those unique assets to attract and retain a skilled workforce while providing top-notch customer service to our residents and visitors.”

Responding to questions from the N.H Preservation Alliance, Stewart noted New Hampshire citizens’ well-known ability to draw on grassroots support to reach community goals, including for historic preservation projects, is something that drew her to the position – as did the skill and passion of the department’s staff – and that she looks forward to new opportunities. “While I’ll be helping our staff continue the excellent work they’ve done for generations, I’m also focusing on showing how all of the elements of the DNCR work together to provide what folks love about New Hampshire, and to raise awareness of all that we offer.” 

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Here are some other thoughts from Stewart, in response to recent questions from the Preservation Alliance:
What drew you to this new position?

I’ve been living and working in New Hampshire for almost two decades, spending time in communities of all sizes, across the entire state and I’ve seen first-hand that our natural and cultural resources are places, experiences and treasures that define who we are and how we connect with each other. New Hampshire is famous for using grassroots support to get things done, including for historic preservation. I’m honored to be in a position to advocate on behalf of not just the NHDHR but all five of Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ divisions every day.

What are your priorities for the Department?

Our mission at the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources is to protect, preserve and manage a wide variety of natural, recreational and cultural resources. One of my priorities is to ensure that our residents, workforce and visitors to our state have access to all of the above and have the very best experiences possible. We’re a full-service department in that we are dedicated to not only historical resources, but also state forests, libraries, arts organizations and artists, and our wonderful state parks (many of which are important from a historic preservation standpoint, by the way). While I’ll be helping our staff continue the excellent work they’ve done for generations, I’m also focusing on showing how all of the elements of the DNCR work together to provide what folks love about New Hampshire, and to raise awareness of all that we offer.

What are some of your favorite historic buildings, communities or preservation success stories?

That’s kind of a trick question because there’s so much to love in New Hampshire from a preservation standpoint. But the first thing that comes to my mind is our amazing town halls. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time at town halls all across the state. The history when you walk into them is palpable. They’ve served and continue to serve as inspirational backdrops for community gatherings and town hall meetings, and each one has its own unique charm. A few of my favorites include the Bedford Town Hall, the Peterborough Town Hall, the Canterbury Town Hall and the Sandown Town Office.

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“Commissioner Stewart brings a passion for New Hampshire, experiences with collaboration, and creativity and communications skills to this job,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance.

Stewart has served on several boards, including Stay-Work-Play New Hampshire, Amoskeag Industries and N.H. Citizens for the Arts. She was also a member of the Commission to Study the Economic Impact the of Arts and Culture in New Hampshire, which, in the historic preservation section of its final report (2016), noted that, nationally, properties in historic districts have higher values and are better maintained; that neighborhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings support greater levels of positive economic and social activity than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings; and that heritage travelers stay longer and spend more on average than other visitors.


 

 

Are you supporting preservation and conservation with a Mooseplate?

Old license plate combinations sell out and “P” for preservation added

Do you know that funds from Moose Plate sales support a wide variety of conservation, heritage and preservation programs in New Hampshire, including planting wild flowers along New Hampshire highways, studying threatened plant and animal species, securing conservation easements and preserving publicly owned historic properties and artifacts?  The Preservation Alliance hopes that you’ll get a plate if you don’t have one, or buy one as a gift for a friend.

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Every dollar raised through the sales of Moose Plates goes directly to supporting designated programs. More than $20 million has been raised since the program began and projects in all 10 New Hampshire counties have benefited from Moose Plate funds.  Examples of preservation projects include the restoration of a town-owned barn in Cornish, roof stabilization for the Bartlett Roundhouse, and the renovation of the balcony in the Gorham Town Hall (right). 

Preservation gets more attention, and travelers on New Hampshire’s roadways this summer have something new to watch for when they play the license plate game: the state’s popular Moose Plate program has added the letter “P” to plate combinations.

When the first Conservation Number Plates were issued in December 2000, the letter “C,” for “conservation,” was part of each standard five-digit number combination. As “C” plates sold out, the letter “H,” for “heritage,” replaced the “C.” This spring, the first plates with the letter “P,” for “preservation,” were issued.

Standard combination Moose Plates still include a stacked “C” for “Conservation” and “H” for “Heritage” next to the illustrated moose, which was designed by Granite State artist Jim Collins. New Hampshire’s motto “Live Free or Die” is also part of the plate’s design.

Moose Plates may be purchased at city and town clerks’ offices when registering a car or truck. The annual cost for a Moose Plate is $30; the first year requires a standard $8 plate purchase fee. Vanity Moose Plates and combination Moose / NH State Parks plates are also available for additional charges.

Fourth grade students from Holderness Central School started the idea for the Moose Plate program in 1993. Legislation establishing the program passed in 1998.

More information is available at mooseplate.com.  For more on historic and cultural projects, check here.

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