A historic building that houses two divisions of the Department of Cultural Resources was named for its former Commissioner, Van McLeod at a ceremony this week a year after his death. Ironically. Commissioner McLeod was born at 19 Pillsbury Street when it served as the maternity annex for Margaret Pillsbury General Hospital. Built in 1927, it is the last remaining structure from the MPGH complex.
As commissioner, McLeod led a department and its four divisions for 24 years, each of which supports different aspects of culture in New Hampshire: arts, film and television, historical resources and libraries. He understood how important each of these elements is to our state’s identity, and the profound impact they have on our economy and our quality of life. A tireless promoter, Commissioner McLeod knew the importance of “telling the story” of New Hampshire, of our culture, our organizations and our people. He knew that stories are how people connect, and that strength and success come from that connection.
While he won many awards and accolades throughout his career, perhaps the award he cherished most was the recognition that he was universally liked and respected. The very words, “A great guy,” are etched on a stone dedicated to him at Loon Mountain Ski Resort, in the White Mountains that he loved so much.
Governor Chris Sununu signed the legislation naming the building in McLeod’s honor after tributes by the bill sponsors’ Rep. Steve Shurtleff and Senator Dan Feltes as well as State Librarian Michael York and Director of the Division of Historical Resources Elizabeth Muzzey. The event was also an opportunity to recognize that several divisions are now united under the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with the leadership of Commissioner Jeffrey Rose.