Sale of Lane Homestead with Historic Preservation Easement Supported by Town of Stratham, N.H.
The historic Lane Homestead, located at the intersection of Routes 108 and 33 in Stratham, has been protected for future generations announced the Town of Stratham, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) today.
When the property was listed for sale last year Stratham officials and residents, as well as preservationists and historians in New Hampshire and beyond, were concerned that historic structures would be demolished or this highly significant property would be developed in a way that was insensitive to the historical importance of the Lane Homestead.
Between 1741 and 1810, Samuel Lane and his son, Jabez, kept comprehensive diaries and records of their life on the homestead, which are now held at the New Hampshire Historical Society as part of an extensive collection of artifacts and archives relating to the Lane Family. The historic preservation easement protects the 5-acre parcel including the Jabez Lane House (1807), Samuel Lane’s shoemaker’s shop (1742), the Corn House (1769), and the mid-nineteenth century barn. This intact collection of buildings illustrates the intermingling of home life, productive trades, and farming that typified life in early New England.
The Lane Homestead was listed listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983; however, before the easement its structures weren’t protected from demolition or major alterations.
The historic preservation easement was developed over months of collaboration among the former owner, the present owner, the Town, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and LCHIP. The effort benefited from the recognition and support of listing the Lane Homestead as one the Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save and from receiving a substantial grant from LCHIP.
"The community solidly supported this project," said Rebecca Mitchell, chair of the Stratham Heritage Commission. “It was a huge advantage to go to Town Meeting last March with the Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save designation and the LCHIP grant in hand. The voters resoundingly supported appropriating the funds to protect this landmark in our midst.”
Dave Canada, Chairman of the Stratham Board of Selectmen, said that the Board “is gratified that the Town has supported ensuring that the Lane Homestead remains in perpetuity as a symbol of Stratham’s proud past – especially significant this year when we celebrate our 300th Anniversary.” Canada added that “when a development proposal threatened the very existence of the buildings much angst was heard from our citizens. Our solution was to work with our Heritage Commission and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance to ensure that these buildings were never threatened again. We could not have accomplished this without the commitment of the people of Stratham.”
"We are extremely pleased to assist the Town with the protection of one of its most iconic places," said Jennifer Goodman, the Preservation Alliance’s executive director. She noted that the Preservation Alliance is pleased with the growing interest in this useful tool.
The Lane Homestead is important to the history not only of Stratham but also of the Seacoast region and, in fact, the entire state, according to William Dunlap, president of the N.H. Historical Society. “The diaries, daybooks, land surveys, and artifacts left by Samuel Lane are unmatched within New Hampshire and we treasure them as part of the collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society. The preservation and protection of the Lane Homestead should give the citizens of Stratham a great sense of pride and accomplishment,” he said.
The Town of Stratham is a municipality located in New Hampshire's rapidly developing seacoast region. The town has been a leader in land conservation, but this is its first experience with a historic preservation easement.
The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, a statewide, nonprofit historic preservation organization, strengthens communities and stimulates local economies by encouraging the protection and revival of historic buildings and places.
The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) is an independent state authority that makes matching grants to NH communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve New Hampshire's most important natural, cultural and historic resources.