2017 Preservation Achievement Award: Karen Bouffard for the outstanding rehabilitation of 100-2 State Street, Portsmouth
with: Anne Whitney (architect), John Schnitzler (lead carpenter), John Wastrom (lead mason)
After Portsmouth’s disastrous fire of 1813, the Brick Act stipulated that buildings taller than one story had to be built of fire-resistant brick. Then owner, a silversmith named Thomas Drown, could only afford to build in wood, and so his one-and-a-half story house and shop became the exception on State Street. 200 years later, the sale of this small building nearly guaranteed demolition thanks to intense development pressure in downtown Portsmouth.
Fortunately, an owner with a passion for history and love of old buildings, purchased the oddity and began planning its rehabilitation. Karen Bouffard assembled a “dream team” to faithfully return the building to what it looked like in earlier historic photographs. Work included self-imposed archaeology, returning the original door and window arrangement, new clapboard siding and cedar shake roof, and the construction of a sympathetic rear addition.
In 1813, the Drowns offered their “sincere thanks to the inhabitants of Portsmouth…for their benevolent exertions in saving a proportion of his property in the late fire.” Today, we thank Karen Bouffard and her team for rehabilitating this distinctive building, one that will continue to tell the story of an improbable survivor.