Northern Pass Appeal Denied by NH Supreme Court

One of the biggest topics of conversation in New Hampshire over the last several years centers around the proposed Northern Pass project. As we learn on July 19, 2019 of the NH Supreme Court’s decision to deny the project leader’s appeal of the Site Evaluation Committee’s “no” decision, we want to share how excited we are of the growing interest by people across the state — sparked by Northern Pass advocacy — to identify, document, steward and celebrate cultural landscapes.

Scenic views, farming valleys and mill systems, recreational corridors and more are so much of what make New Hampshire look and feel like New Hampshire. More on new and big ways of thinking here. And last year’s “what we learned” piece from Jennifer Goodman (our Executive Director) and Sharee Williamson from National Trust for Historic Preservation offers local and national perspectives as well.

Here is a crowd opposing the project at a rally in downtown Plymouth during a site visit by members of the SEC. Photo: Kristen Buckley

Here is a crowd opposing the project at a rally in downtown Plymouth during a site visit by members of the SEC. Photo: Kristen Buckley

During the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) review process, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and other intervenors, expressed concerns about the proposed Northern Pass project’s negative impacts to historic resources.

“The N.H. Preservation Alliance is grateful to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its excellent assistance, and thanks people along the proposed route who shared concerns and information about individual properties as well as significant agricultural landscapes, village settings, and scenic views,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. “New Hampshire not only enjoys a rich history, but also an impressive commitment to civic responsibility and environmental stewardship.”

The National Trust also raised strenuous objections during the Department of Energy’s federal permitting process, citing the harm that the project would cause to New Hampshire’s cultural landscapes.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been advocating for the protection of this significant landscape since 2011 and designated the site a National Treasure in 2015.

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.


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.

Summer’s Most Unwelcome Guests

And What To Do About Them

Carpenter ants won’t eat the wood in your house, but instead they will  burrow though it to make a cozy nest for themselves and their relatives.

Carpenter ants won’t eat the wood in your house, but instead they will burrow though it to make a cozy nest for themselves and their relatives.

Summertime is often a time to welcome friends and family to your home, but there are some visitors we would rather not host! As warm temperatures arrive, the resident mice tend to leave for greener pastures, but wood-boring insects now become the nuisance pests for old house and barn owners.  Now is the time to assess your buildings for these unwelcome guests and take the necessary steps to eradicate them if they are found.

Powderpost beetles also burrow through wood, leaving thousands of tiny telltale holes for you.

Powderpost beetles also burrow through wood, leaving thousands of tiny telltale holes for you.

A homeowner can do this by close examination of the basement, attic, house exterior and barn, looking for fine saw dust, mud tunnels and other signs of destructive pests. Carpenter bees, destructive wood boring  insects that resemble bumble bees,  can often be found by looking for mustard-colored droppings  on the clapboards of your house just under the half-inch or so round holes they have bored in your eaves. Fine saw dust can also be found under the entrance holes and is an easy way to find these destructive bees. These holes are the entrance to the tunnels they have created to house their brood.

Termites live to eat wood and are the most destructive of these wood-boring insects.

Termites live to eat wood and are the most destructive of these wood-boring insects.

Carpenter ants can also be found by looking for sawdust in crawlspaces, basements and other damp spaces. These ants are attracted to moist areas in your building's frame to build their nests. Like carpenter bees, carpenter ants do not eat the wood, but they are very destructive as they burrow through it to make their nests.

Powderpost beetles can also cause irreplaceable damage to wood members of your house or barn. Their activity can be identified by fresh piles of fine powder-like frass beneath very small (pin- to pencil-tip size) holes  produced by the adults burrowing out of the wood, or you may hear an actual ticking sound made by the larvae eating the wood. The adult beetles do very little damage to the wood.

Most destructive of them all are termites because they do eat the wood; their workers will eat through plaster, foam, plastic or asphalt to get to the tasty wood.  While some pests can easily be controlled by homeowners, termites might be best handled by a professional.

The links listed below can help with insect identification and methods for removal.


The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s 2019 Auction Exceeds Goals

The N.H. Preservation Alliance’s fifth online auction was a great success this year, exceeding  both our participation and fund-raising goals. The auction proceeds support the restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship of our Seven to Save properties and other old farms, buildings and barns around the state.

More than 100 people from New Hampshire and 13 other states participated in this year’s auction. The auction items ranged from insider tours of special homes and gardens to quick getaways around New Hampshire, skiing and golf packages, carriage rides, workshops and expert consultations and services.

The Preservation Alliance would like to thank all the bidders and donors for their enthusiastic participation and generous support. Calls for assistance continue to rise each year as property owners, investors and community leaders look for creative solutions for the preservation of the irreplaceable landmarks that are so critical to New Hampshire’s communities and economy.

This 2019 auction’s great variety of quality experiences, goods and services were donated by generous individuals, businesses and organizations around the state who care about and wish to protect New Hampshire’s distinctive history and heritage.

The generous donors to 2019 Preservation Alliance Auction include: Aldworth Manor, Ann Henderson, Badger Balm, Bedford Village Inn, Bensonwood, Blasty Bough Brewery, Blue Moon Evolution, Boston Harbor Hotel, Camp Birch Hill, Canterbury Shaker Village, Capitol Center For The Arts, Castle In The Clouds, Children's Museum, Chuckster's, Colonial Theater Group, Common Man, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Errol Heritage Committee, Fifield Building Restoration & Relocation LLC, Frederick's Pastries, The Don and Jane Project, Fuller Gardens, Gibson's Bookstore, Harrisville Designs, Historic Windsor, Inc.-The Preservation Education Institute, Horse & Hound Inn, Hotel Concord, Ian Blackman Restoration & Preservation, King Arthur Flour, Landmark Trust, League of NH Craftsmen, Lindt & Sprungli (USA) Inc., Lynne Emerson Monroe/Preservation Company, Manchester Historical Association, Meghan Gross, Patricia Meyers, Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden, Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, New London Barn Playhouse, NH Division of Parks and Recreation, Omni Mount Washington Resort, Ould Colony Artisans, Pat's Peak Ski Area, Scott Patten Photography, Peabody Essex Museum, Pickity Place, Portsmouth Harbor Cruise, Portsmouth Historical Society, Mary Lyn Ray, Rolling Green Nursery, Rye Airfield  Skate Park & BMX, Southeast Land Trust of NH, Squam Lakes Science Center, Stave Puzzles, Inc., Sunrise Woodworks, Swan Boats Boston Public Garden, Tamworth Distilling, Thayers Inn, The Carriage Barn, The Fells, The Gundalow Company, The Macdowell Colony, The Oar House. Vintage Kitchens, LLC and Yankee Publishing Co.     

The Preservation Alliance supports and encourages the revitalization and protection of historic buildings and places, which strengthens local communities and economies.

 To become a member, make a donation, or learn more about the Preservation Alliance, visit

Donald Hall's Preservation Legacy

The N.H. Preservation Alliance is very enthusiastic about the recent “save” by preservationists to steward pieces of Jane Kenyon and Don Hall’s Eagle Pond Farm legacy. Please contact leaders Mary Lyn Ray or Lynne Emerson Monroe via with any questions or suggestions. The tribute below was posted by the Preservation Alliance following Donald Hall’s death on June 23, 2018. Here’s a recent Boston Globe story. Donations for the preservation effort can be sent to the Preservation Alliance PO Box 268, Concord, NH 03302.

What a legacy Donald Hall left for New Hampshire citizens and readers all over the world! The award-winning writer of prose and poetry died this past week at age 89.  Hall was an incorporator of the N.H. Preservation Alliance when it was formed over 30 years ago, and we think his decades of writing before -- and since -- supports and inspires preservation activity. 

Hall's Eagle Pond Farm in Wilmot.

Hall's Eagle Pond Farm in Wilmot.

Hall’s observations about his adopted state (he said, “I was created to love New Hampshire”) were based off of characters he met in Wilmot, where he resided, and nearby Danbury and Andover. In his collection of essays, Here at Eagle Pond, Hall wrote, “In New Hampshire the state supper is beans and franks, and every recipe begins with salt pork, Campbell’s cream of mushroom, and Miracle Whip” and “In New Hampshire convenience stores sell Fluff, Wonder Bread, Moxie, and shoes with blue canvas tops.”

His realistic settings connect you to special buildings in addition to natural landscapes. When you read Lucy's Christmas, you feel like you’re visiting the white, steepled South Danbury church for the annual pageant.  (It still hosts the annual Christmas party and lots of other activities too.)

Hall's themes of practicality, frugality and continuity shine through in his work. The title of his recollections of summers on a New England farm, A String too Short to be Saved, describes the hand-written label on a box of short strings. In his 1977 poem Oxcart Man, Hall describes how a farmer loads his potatoes into a cart and walks beside his ox to market, where he sells the potatoes. Then he sells the cart, ox, harness and yoke and, we imagine, walks home and starts again.

He lamented the loss of people and loss of landscape – burnt houses, new development, and the conversion of special places into the indistinguishable. “Nostalgia without history is a decorative fraud,” he wrote. This affinity for place was borne from his c. 1806 house, purchased by his great-grandfather in the 1860s.  In memoir and fiction, he described this place that served as his boyhood retreat and eventually his residence until his passing.  He wrote in the same first-floor room in which he slept and first began writing poems as a boy.  He seemed to love the continuity of use, the layers of people’s and building’s history, and we do too.

Here are some ideas of ways to honor this great artist:

·         Read a poem or story of his (or his wife Jane Kenyon, another incredible voice for life in New Hampshire) for yourself or to a child. 

·         Think about what rural New Hampshire means to you on a scenic 24-mile drive through his town of Wilmot along New Hampshire Route 4A or Rt. 4 between Lebanon and Andover. (Get some coffee at the preservation-award winning Lucky’s Coffee Garage in Lebanon after your drive.)

·         Support a local preservation project or the Preservation Alliance so we can enjoy more preservation and less lamentation.


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.



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: 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.