For nearly a century, the Littleton Community Center has welcomed an estimated two million people through its doors. The Queen Anne mansion, formerly owned by a North Country lumber magnate, was purchased by the town following WWI. The idea, hatched by local prominent residents, was to create a living monument to the fallen soldiers.
The house was to serve as a community center, with bunks and showers in the basement for homeless veterans and an apartment for the building's caretakers. When the property was finally dedicated as a memorial, it was agreed that its public purpose should be “…the advancement of health, training for service and the social, moral, recreational and general welfare of Littleton and surrounding communities.”
Unfortunately, the beautiful Main Street property suffered from deferred maintenance and in 2012 was listed to the Alliance's Seven to Save. In the following years, the board and the town committed to restoring the building. In 2013-15, a new roof was added, electrical was updated, and new life safety systems were installed. A new, more efficient heating system was also installed. (From the 2012 Seven to Save nomination: “The concern about the antiquated heating system is so dire that a ‘baby monitor’ has been placed in the basement so the live-in caretakers (who live three floors above) can monitor sounds of the furnace in case it shuts down.”
What really makes the cars on Main Street slow down, though, was the removal of the 1970s vinyl siding. In 2016, the vinyl came off, the clapboards and shingles were repaired and replaced where necessary, new storms were installed, and a historic paint scheme was selected.
The LCC board is now implementing a strategic plan, which includes an LCHIP-funded study on the carriage house and surveying the public about needs. A spring 2017 survey revealed that 67% of respondents felt that the preservation of the building was a top priority.
Next time you're in Littleton reveling at Main Street's success, make sure to step inside the Community Center. There, revel at the house's beautiful interior woodwork and pay your respects to Littleton's fallen soldiers.
But don't mourn for the vinyl siding.
Littleton Community Center
Town of Littleton
JA Corey Electric