2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Center Harbor Heritage Commission Inventory & Online Map Project

With partners: Mae Williams, Unlocking History, and Rick Kipphut.

Members of the Center Harbor Heritage Commission and preservation consultant Mae Williams worked together to develop and implement a strategic and cost-effective survey model that marries professional expertise with local volunteers. The inventory project was funded through a Federal Storm Recovery and Disaster Planning grant awarded to the NH Division of Historical Resources. 

Although some of Center Harbor's historic structures had been inventoried in the early 1980s for the first Master Plan, this project was the first town-wide survey ever undertaken. Volunteers conducted windshield surveys, researched property deeds, interviewed longtime residents, and completed Historic Resource Inventory forms for each resource. 120 historic properties, including demolished structures, historic roads, old burying grounds and cemeteries were researched and identified.

Areas for Future Study identified on 2018 Map.png

Using the information compiled by the volunteers, Mae Williams wrote a narrative overview of Center Harbor's growth as a town within the context of its history and remaining historic resources. It contains recommendations for further study as well as areas of historic importance at high risk for damage or loss from hazards, such as fire or storms. Around the same time, the Commission sponsored a separate survey of historic barns in Center Harbor, conducted by another volunteer, Richard Kipphut. To date, over 35 historic barns have been surveyed and added to the historic resources inventory. 

Sample form, Gilnockie Estate.jpg

After completion, the Selectmen acknowledged the benefit of increasing public awareness of historic resources and funded an historic resources layer to be added to the Town’s online GIS maps. Local historic properties and sites are color-coded as parcels on the maps according to decade built and building type. 

To date, over 150 inventory forms are linked to their respective properties through the town’s GIS maps, which are easily accessible to the public through the Town's website.

The Center Harbor Heritage Inventory & Online Map Project is part of the Town of Center Harbor Heritage Commission's efforts to educate residents and the general community about local history, improve access to historical information and promote the preservation of our shared heritage.  It is also hoped that the Project will encourage its residents and other towns to do more.