Hope for St. Joseph's Church in Laconia

The Diocese has called off a sale that involved the demolition of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in downtown Laconia.

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When news hit that the recently-merged parish would have to demolish the 1929 building on Church Street in order to meet the needs of a purchase and sale agreement, church members and city residents grew alarmed. Community members sought advice from the Preservation Alliance, held meetings, wrote letters to the Diocese and the Vatican, and proposed the creation of a local historic district to halt demolition.

On May 30, the NH Preservation Alliance, Tom Mayes from the National Trust, and Father Georges de Laires discussed the matter on an episode of NHPR’s The Exchange.

Unfortunately, the demolition permit was filed before any district could be created and the only real tools the Heritage Commission could wield were public pressure and a demolition delay of 30 days.

Public pressure may have paid off.

Though the demolition permit has not yet been pulled, the Diocese’s decision to renegotiate the purchase and sale agreement is a promising start. Future hurdles will include how best to reuse St. Joseph’s. The Catholic Church imposes limitations on uses for former places or worship, but we’re fortunate to have several examples of reuse here in New Hampshire, including:

-St. Keiran’s in Berlin now serves as a community center for the arts

-St. Anne’s in Manchester provides after-school programs (side note: this property will soon be for sale after the merger between NHIA and New England College)

-Sacred Heart in Concord has been converted into beautiful condominiums for ten families

For more information about developing news out of Laconia and St. Joseph’s Church, read The Laconia Daily Sun article here.

For an editorial from the Concord Monitor, click here.

Forest Society Announces Preservation Proposal for Creek Farm in Portsmouth

On June 13, just weeks from being granted a demolition permit, the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests announced a deal to save Creek Farm, a rare survivor of the seacoast summer colony with ties to the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, instead of demolish it. Announcement by the Society below, followed by excerpts from earlier statements from the Preservation Alliance about the site’s significance and desire for a “win-win” solution.

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FOREST SOCIETY REACHES AGREEMENT ON CAREY COTTAGE

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (June 13, 2019) The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with a local family foundation on a long-term lease of the Carey Cottage at Creek Farm, subject to successful due diligence over the next 30 days

Under the agreement, the foundation will provide funding for the renovation of the Carey Cottage and Chinburg Properties will renovate the building, including the Music Room.

 “The key to saving the Carey Cottage has always been finding a partner with the means to restore it, a proposed use that complements Creek Farm’s status as a conserved space open to the public, and a track record that suggests they can maintain the building over time,” said Jane A. Difley, the president/forester of the Forest Society. “We’re delighted to consider the foundation and Eric Chinburg as the team that can accomplish those goals.”

The Carey Cottage will become the headquarters of a newly created center dedicated to fostering the growth and success of non-profit organizations. The building will also host other non-profit organizations.

 “We had been looking for an appropriate place to house the center when we became aware of the Carey Cottage,” said the foundation’s principals.  “In partnership with Eric and the Forest Society, we think we can use the Carey Cottage to advance the center’s mission while preserving an historic building.”

The center will provide the space, tools and connections that nonprofits need to build strong organizations, thriving local economies, and vibrant communities in the region. Through incubator and accelerator services, workshops, events, and other programs, the center will help nonprofits become strong successful organizations.

 “I’m looking forward to renovating the Carey Cottage and making it work for the community,” said Eric Chinburg, President of Chinburg Properties. “We take pride in our ability to repurpose unique buildings while maintaining public use of the surroundings.”

Eric Chinburg is founder of Chinburg Properties, a land development, design, construction and property management firm headquartered in Newmarket, NH.  For more than 20 years the company has preserved numerous historic mills and schools in the Seacoast and central New Hampshire. Chinburg projects are known for unique design aspects utilizing original materials and creatively incorporating them into the project.  These projects have successfully incorporated residential and mixed-use components and have been successfully managed over the long term

“I want to thank the multiple other individuals and entities who reached out constructively and worked with us in good faith on ideas and other proposals for an appropriate re-use of the Carey Cottage,” said Jack Savage, vice president of communications/outreach at the Forest Society. “We look forward to working with the foundation and Chinburg as we continue the Forest Society’s mission to conserve Creek Farm and provide public access to the Sagamore Creek waterfront.”

 Below are excerpts from the Preservation Alliance’s public statements about the Carey Cottage’s cultural significance and our desire for a “win-win” solution.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance opposes the Forest Society’s plan to demolish Carey Cottage at Creek Farm, an iconic property on Sagamore Creek in Portsmouth, N.H., with great architectural, cultural, and historical significance.

As many of you know, Carey Cottage was determined eligible for National Register of Historic Places in 2000.  The Preservation Alliance urges the City of Portsmouth to affirm Creek Farm’s significance and encourage an alternative to demolition.

The Preservation Alliance is a non-profit membership organization that works all over the state to encourage investment in historic buildings and downtowns and tp expand knowledge of preservation strategies and benefits. We work with approximately 100 community projects and hundreds of property owners each year.  We believe that this property has a viable “win-win” preservation solution with a use that is compatible with its history, site and neighbors, as well as with the community benefit goals of the current and previous owners.

About its significance:  Built beginning in 1887, the house is an outstanding example of the summer home movement in New Hampshire, and a rare survivor of the artistic summer colony at Little Harbor.  “The Little Harbor Community” included prominent writers, artists, architects and historians. Arthur Astor Carey summer house or “Creek Farm” was designed by noted architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow.  Longfellow had worked previously for Henry Hobson Richardson and was a Harvard acquaintance of Carey’s and of J. Templeman Coolidge III (1856-1945), who led a group of prominent Bostonians in establishing summer homes near Sagamore Creek. According to the N.H. Division of Historical Resources, the Carey House survives as Longfellow’s most ambitious New Hampshire commission.

Creek Farm also has national significance for its association with the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War.  The Russian and Japanese diplomats were informally entertained at Creek Farm during negotiations, an example of “Citizen Diplomacy,” for which the state of New Hampshire provides annual recognition on Sept. 5.  The Katsura tree, gifted by the Japanese delegation, still grows near the house.  Of all the New Hampshire sites related to the Treaty negotiations, Creek Farm is also considered the most intact.

There are many collaborative models for creative and compatible uses of historic properties that the Forest Society can continue to explore or replicate. Here are just as few examples:

·        The Conservation Commission in Windham, N.H., has preserved a historic home by providing a long-term lease to a carpenter/developer for an 1868 farmhouse adjacent to conserved public land. 

·        Equity Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts, owns Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, N.H., and the current life estate owner will be succeeded by future farmers

·        A curatorship program operated by the State of Massachusetts leases historic properties within public lands to private entities.

Additionally, there are a variety of tools that are useful for preserving historic places and ensuring that the underlying goals for the property are met. In addition to long-term leases, we advocate for consideration of preservation easements to meet stewardship and public benefit goals. Subsidies are also available for preservation projects from organizations such as the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), as well as tax incentives and grants from state and national agencies and organizations.

2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Brady Sullivan Properties Lofts 34 in Nashua

The historic building known as the “Card Shop” was part of a sprawling industrial complex in Nashua owned by the The Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company, whose construction began in 1889. Brady Sullivan purchased the vacant and neglected building in 2015, and since then has transformed the 300,000 sq.ft. building into a trendy home for 200 apartments. (Photo courtesy of Brady Sullivan.)

The historic building known as the “Card Shop” was part of a sprawling industrial complex in Nashua owned by the The Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company, whose construction began in 1889. Brady Sullivan purchased the vacant and neglected building in 2015, and since then has transformed the 300,000 sq.ft. building into a trendy home for 200 apartments. (Photo courtesy of Brady Sullivan.)

Brady Sullivan Properties for the revitalization of 34 Franklin Street, Nashua, as Lofts 34 

With partners: City of Nashua; NH Division of Historical Resources; Lisa Mausolf, LM Preservation; Hayner/Swanson, Inc.; Universal Window and Door; Energy Electric Co., Inc.; Dimond Protection Services, LLC; and Emond Plumbing & Heating Mechanical Contractors.

 The Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company started construction of its industrial complex in 1889, and over the years added some ten additions to meet changing production needs.  Unlike Nashua’s dominant textile industries, the “Card Shop,” as it was known, was able to thrive during the early 20th century in large part due to research and new product development. Renamed Nashua Corporation in 1952, the company continued to operate here until the 1990s. Generations of Nashua families found work in this Franklin Street facility.  

Dimond Protection Services, LLC; Emond Plumbing & Heating Mechanical ContractorsThe Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company started construction of its industrial complex in 1889, and over the years added some ten additions to meet changing production needs.  Unlike Nashua’s dominant textile industries, the “Card Shop,” as it was known, was able to thrive during the early 20th century in large part due to research and new product development. Renamed Nashua Corporation in 1952, the company continued to operate here until the 1990s. Generations of Nashua families found work in this Franklin Street facility, now Lofts 34

By the time Brady Sullivan purchased the building in 2015, the building had been vacant for at least seven years and the absentee owners had long since stopped paying taxes—a reversal from when Nashua Corp was the city’s largest taxpayer in the 1960s. The massive 300,000 square-foot brick building had been vandalized, covered in graffiti and was a haven for the homeless. Work on the building began in February 2016, removing asbestos and stemming the flow of the water pouring into the structure. 

The mill’s 500-plus deteriorated windows in a dozen configurations were character-defining elements that reflected the various accretions and additions the building had seen, but represented a major challenge. Presenting another challenge were the 180 locations where once large window openings had been in-filled with brick and small incongruous aluminum slider windows.

Inside, the architects thoughtfully superimposed 200 apartments on an interior plan that also was highly irregular, reflecting the constant addition of new sections over the years. Brick walls and fire doors separated what were originally distinct areas with different functions.  The storehouses on the south side of the building had additional stories with lower ceiling heights and the levels did not correspond to those in the main mill areas. In this area, two-level living units were the solution. Several units even incorporate a former elevator shaft.

In short, this was not cookie cutter mill rehabilitation, but rather a complicated design challenge that resulted in a range of apartment sizes and configurations that boast quirky and unique elements from the building’s former life.

This federal historic tax credit project has been warmly received by City of Nashua officials and builds on the City’s goal of bringing new people to downtown. Its 200 market-rate units make it one of the biggest projects in downtown Nashua in recent years, and like earlier mill rehabilitations at Clocktower Place and Cotton Mill, the former Card Shop infuses the former industrial area with new energy that is essential to the health of the downtown.   

2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Terry Knowles

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

Terry Knowles has been an incredible problem solver for historic places, as well as an educator about charitable “best practices” for almost four decades. People who care about New Hampshire’s historic libraries, grange halls, cemeteries, easements and age-old trust funds know Terry’s commitment to public service.

A UNH graduate, Terry Knowles held the position of Assistant Director of Charitable Trusts at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office for 37 years on a full-time basis and continues to work there part-time. She is twice past president of the National Association of State Charity Officials, and writes and lectures locally and nationally on the nonprofit sector. Her expertise on charitable trusts makes Terry an especially popular drafter of laws, including the federal Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act. She has made presentations at Georgetown, Columbia and Harvard University on nonprofit issues.

She has an impressive resume of civic leadership and contributions beyond her day job as well. Terry served as a Commissioner on the Southern NH Planning Commission for 27 years, served as trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and currently chairs the New Hampshire Historic Burial Ground Commission. She is the State Chair of the DAR Special Project Grants Program and in her hometown of Weare, has served on the Mildred Hall Bequest Advisory Committee where she approved grants to preserve unique land and buildings in town. She is a former Weare Library Trustee, Cemetery Trustee, and Selectwoman.

Terry is also an adjunct professor at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and teaches in the Master of Public Administration program.

It is this remarkable track record and dedication to her job and extracurriculars that keeps her phone ringing. Terry receives calls from local officials daily about the use—and misuse —of charitable funds. To help local officials learn their responsibilities, Terry created and then delivered a series of annual seminars for municipal cemetery, library and trust fund trustees. They have gone on for more than 30 years, and we’re sure that many of you have attended them in the past and had Terry answer your very specific question about opportunistic selectmen looking for spare change.  

Terry says she would rather educate than regulate. It is likely because of this approach that she has earned so much respect. Tom Donovan, Director of Charitable Trusts, says: “It is rare for a state official to be admired as much by those organizations she regulates as by those people who are her fellow regulators.”