Saving historic buildings “one slice of pie at a time”: 2017 Preservation Achievement Awards Announced

“I feel like my biggest accomplishment tonight is finding clothes without paint splatter,” joked Canterbury Shaker Village’s David Ford from the stage as he accepted an award for outstanding rehabilitation of the Shaker Trustees’ Office. The Trustees’ Office, along with a dozen other projects, was honored Tuesday night at the 28th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards in Concord.

The awardees varied in scale and geography, but all shared underlying similarities. According to the Preservation Alliance’s executive director Jennifer Goodman, that common thread is “high-quality investments that benefit residents and visitors, and catalyze additional community development activities.”

“The projects are all very complex,” she added, and “tenacity and creativity are also ingredients in all.”

The Effingham Preservation Society, which won an award for their fifteen-year long rehabilitation of the Weare Drake Store Building, relied on literal ingredients to fund their project. Karen Payne, president of the Effingham Preservation Society, summed up her group's secret to success: "We did it one slice of pie at a time," adding, "While we were baking and sharing...and baking...we built camaraderie and community."

Special guests and past award winners Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney, Senator Martha Fuller Clark and dairy specialist and barn preservation advocate John Porter helped introduce the awards. “We welcome this opportunity to recognize outstanding projects and while hopefully inspiring others,” said Goodman.   “These are the kinds of places we can’t imagine New Hampshire without and we want to recognize the people who have worked to save and revive these landmarks.” 

Every awarded group breathes new life into their community through educational initiatives, rehabilitation of iconic buildings, or timely rescue of irreplaceable assets. This year’s group included work done by nonprofits, municipalities, the State of New Hampshire, and the business sector.

“I’m glad I’m not the only for-profit party up here, but I can tell you, at times my project felt a lot like a nonprofit,” Karen Bouffard quipped about her rehabilitation of 100-2 State Street in Portsmouth.

The night was filled with meaningful remarks that highlighted why old buildings matter – a timely topic for Preservation Month. David Adams, also of Portsmouth, received an award for his decades-long commitment to preservation carpentry. Describing a job he was on many years ago, Adams recalled a moment when his friend encouraged him to slip his hand into a groove behind a plaster medallion’s wreath of fruit. “I could feel my fingers sliding into the little sockets that were made by the men that pushed that piece of plaster fruit up into that bit of ornament, and his fingerprints were still there and I felt for a moment as if I were reaching through time and shaking his hand. That does it for me."

Besides motivated individuals, successful projects received help from state and national incentives. Investments by the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) funded work in five of the projects this year. Support from the Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA), the downtown revitalization tax incentive (RSA 79-E), and federal historic preservation tax credits were instrumental in others. The winner of the Elizabeth Durfee Hengen Award this year – the Lane Homestead in Stratham – benefitted from being listed to the Alliance’s Seven to Save.

Generous awards program sponsors include Sheehan Phinney, AECm, LLC, Artistic Tile, LLC, The Common Man Family of Restaurants, LavalleeBresinger Architects, Meredith Bohn Interior Design, Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc., Selectwood and Christopher P. Williams Architects, PLLC.

The awarded projects join dozens of past recipients. This year's winners are:

Effingham Preservation Society for rehabilitation of the Weare Drake Store Building

Canterbury Shaker Village for outstanding rehabilitation of the Trustees’ Office

Northwood Congregational Church for restoration and rehabilitation of its landmark building

State of New Hampshire for restoration of the State House Dome

Jeff and Sarah Barrette for the revitalization of the Monadnock Mills Boarding House/Store House #5 for the Ink Factory Clothing Co.

Karen Bouffard for the rehabilitation of 100-2 State Street, Portsmouth

City of Concord for rehabilitation and revitalization of Concord’s Main Street

David Adams for outstanding contributions to the field of historic preservation

Manchester Historic Association for outstanding historic preservation education and outreach

Town of Stratham for its preservation of the Lane Homestead

Certificates of Merit were awarded to:

Town of Hillsborough and the Trustees of the Fuller Public Library for the rehabilitation of the Fuller Public Library/ John Butler Smith House

Windham Presbyterian Church for restoration of its bell tower

Hampton Town Clock Committee for the rescue and restoration of the Hampton Town Clock