Lessons to be learned from Old Home Days. Historic photo: Newmarket Old Home Days
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.
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.
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.
Brady Sullivan Properties for the revitalization of 34 Franklin Street, Nashua, as Lofts 34
With partners: City of Nashua; NH Division of Historical Resources; Lisa Mausolf, LM Preservation; Hayner/Swanson, Inc.; Universal Window and Door; Energy Electric Co., Inc.; Dimond Protection Services, LLC; and Emond Plumbing & Heating Mechanical Contractors.
The Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company started construction of its industrial complex in 1889, and over the years added some ten additions to meet changing production needs. Unlike Nashua’s dominant textile industries, the “Card Shop,” as it was known, was able to thrive during the early 20th century in large part due to research and new product development. Renamed Nashua Corporation in 1952, the company continued to operate here until the 1990s. Generations of Nashua families found work in this Franklin Street facility.
Dimond Protection Services, LLC; Emond Plumbing & Heating Mechanical ContractorsThe Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company started construction of its industrial complex in 1889, and over the years added some ten additions to meet changing production needs. Unlike Nashua’s dominant textile industries, the “Card Shop,” as it was known, was able to thrive during the early 20th century in large part due to research and new product development. Renamed Nashua Corporation in 1952, the company continued to operate here until the 1990s. Generations of Nashua families found work in this Franklin Street facility, now Lofts 34.
By the time Brady Sullivan purchased the building in 2015, the building had been vacant for at least seven years and the absentee owners had long since stopped paying taxes—a reversal from when Nashua Corp was the city’s largest taxpayer in the 1960s. The massive 300,000 square-foot brick building had been vandalized, covered in graffiti and was a haven for the homeless. Work on the building began in February 2016, removing asbestos and stemming the flow of the water pouring into the structure.
The mill’s 500-plus deteriorated windows in a dozen configurations were character-defining elements that reflected the various accretions and additions the building had seen, but represented a major challenge. Presenting another challenge were the 180 locations where once large window openings had been in-filled with brick and small incongruous aluminum slider windows.
Inside, the architects thoughtfully superimposed 200 apartments on an interior plan that also was highly irregular, reflecting the constant addition of new sections over the years. Brick walls and fire doors separated what were originally distinct areas with different functions. The storehouses on the south side of the building had additional stories with lower ceiling heights and the levels did not correspond to those in the main mill areas. In this area, two-level living units were the solution. Several units even incorporate a former elevator shaft.
In short, this was not cookie cutter mill rehabilitation, but rather a complicated design challenge that resulted in a range of apartment sizes and configurations that boast quirky and unique elements from the building’s former life.
This federal historic tax credit project has been warmly received by City of Nashua officials and builds on the City’s goal of bringing new people to downtown. Its 200 market-rate units make it one of the biggest projects in downtown Nashua in recent years, and like earlier mill rehabilitations at Clocktower Place and Cotton Mill, the former Card Shop infuses the former industrial area with new energy that is essential to the health of the downtown.
Terry Knowles has been an incredible problem solver for historic places, as well as an educator about charitable “best practices” for almost four decades. People who care about New Hampshire’s historic libraries, grange halls, cemeteries, easements and age-old trust funds know Terry’s commitment to public service.
A UNH graduate, Terry Knowles held the position of Assistant Director of Charitable Trusts at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office for 37 years on a full-time basis and continues to work there part-time. She is twice past president of the National Association of State Charity Officials, and writes and lectures locally and nationally on the nonprofit sector. Her expertise on charitable trusts makes Terry an especially popular drafter of laws, including the federal Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act. She has made presentations at Georgetown, Columbia and Harvard University on nonprofit issues.
She has an impressive resume of civic leadership and contributions beyond her day job as well. Terry served as a Commissioner on the Southern NH Planning Commission for 27 years, served as trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and currently chairs the New Hampshire Historic Burial Ground Commission. She is the State Chair of the DAR Special Project Grants Program and in her hometown of Weare, has served on the Mildred Hall Bequest Advisory Committee where she approved grants to preserve unique land and buildings in town. She is a former Weare Library Trustee, Cemetery Trustee, and Selectwoman.
Terry is also an adjunct professor at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and teaches in the Master of Public Administration program.
It is this remarkable track record and dedication to her job and extracurriculars that keeps her phone ringing. Terry receives calls from local officials daily about the use—and misuse —of charitable funds. To help local officials learn their responsibilities, Terry created and then delivered a series of annual seminars for municipal cemetery, library and trust fund trustees. They have gone on for more than 30 years, and we’re sure that many of you have attended them in the past and had Terry answer your very specific question about opportunistic selectmen looking for spare change.
Terry says she would rather educate than regulate. It is likely because of this approach that she has earned so much respect. Tom Donovan, Director of Charitable Trusts, says: “It is rare for a state official to be admired as much by those organizations she regulates as by those people who are her fellow regulators.”
The Berlin & Coos County Historical Society is an extraordinary organization charged with educating a broad and diverse public about Coos County’s rich history, culture and ethnic roots with an eye to showing their significance to our lives today. In support of this mission, the society collects, preserves and displays materials pertaining to Coos County in general and Berlin in particular and they tackle the stewardship of their own 1890 museum headquarters and enormous barns associated with the Brown Company, a prominent pulp and paper-making company also known for many innovations and patents.
The Society was founded in 1990 and has been headquartered in the Moffett House Museum and Genealogy Center since 1996. The cellar contains the restored office and treatment center of Dr. Irving Moffett who was an Osteopath beginning in 1932 and practiced in this location from 1949 until his death in 1993. This building is the repository for about 2500 historical objects, 1612 photographs, and 3004 binders of ephemera. It also contains the largest library of genealogical material north of Manchester. They have also digitized and indexed every Brown Company Bulletin—newsletters that chronicle the lives of mill workers between 1919 and 1960.
The Historical Society also owns and is completing the rehabilitation of two Brown Company Barns north of downtown. These barns are the last of what remains of Brown Company Logging, and one has connections to a Brown family member’s efforts to introduce Arabian horses as a superior breed for the Calvary. Donations from people near and far, 2 LCHIP grants and thousands of hours of labor have been donated to the rehabilitation and stewardship project to date.
The building was jacked up and the rotten wooden supports replaced. Cables on the inside had to be adjusted to make the building square and level. A screen was placed around the bottom of the building to provide ventilation and to keep out animals. The building was given three coats of paint by D&M Painting of Gorham.
For five weeks during the hot summer months of July and August 2010, Maurice Lavertue and Don LeClerc continued the work of restoring the Brown Company Barns on East Side River Road. The sills on the southern-most barn were rotting, causing the exterior walls to sag as much as 8 inches on the north side. As a result, the interior support structure was pushing up into the roof. Don and Maurice jacked up the north side of the 160 year old barn and removed the rotted sill. They poured four new concrete piers, put in a new sill and lowered the wall back onto the new piers.
Thanks to this active and ambitious historical society, Berlin’s history - both architectural and ephemeral - will remain for future generations.
Today, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) granted nearly $4 million in matching dollars to land conservation and historic preservation projects across the state.
Of the 26 historic resources and 16 natural resources receiving grant money, five are Seven to Save properties, one received a $500 mini grant/planning study from us, one received a barn grant assessment, and eight received planning studies through our conditions assessment block grant (also funded by LCHIP, and also to be funded in 2019). We also coached seven successful projects through our field service program.
This year, six properties received planning study grants from LCHIP. These grants allow for in-depth examinations of buildings, including mechanical systems, structural analyses, and condition assessments. Recipients include Chesterfield Historical Society’s Stone House Tavern, Great North Woods Committee for the Arts’ Former Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Columbia, Fitwilliam Town Hall, Langdon Congregational Church, Tilton School Library/Mansion, and the NH Preservation Alliance (to redistribute as block grants for smaller assessments).
Of these, the Preservation Alliance was happy to assist in Chesterfield, Columbia, and Langdon.
Seven to Saves
Belmont’s Gale School (2017) will receive a $110,000 grant to help relocate the historic 1894 school threatened with demolition. 2018 listee, Turning Mill Pond at Canterbury Shaker Village, received a $97,339 grant to help repair a dam located within the cultural landscape of the National Historic Landmark district. Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord (2013 Seven to Save) will restore the mansion, with help from a $202,000 grant. In Alstead, Chase’s Mill received a second grant, this time for $150,000 to repair the exterior envelope of the building, including windows.
On the Natural Resource side, family farms (2014 Seven to Save) were represented by Farmington’s Scruton Dairy Farm - a fifth generation dairy farm that also received a barn assessment grant from the Alliance in 2015.
Planning Studies Yield Success Stories
Eight projects that received earlier planning studies through the NH Preservation Alliance will now see rehabilitation.
Those include Alstead’s Chase’s Mill; Farmington First Congregational Church (storm windows); Goshen Grange Hall (rehabilitation into town and SAU office space); Centennial Hall in North Hampton (rehabilitation of 2nd floor space); Plymouth’s Old Webster Court House (windows and basement improvements); Portsmouth Women’s Club (installation of sprinkler system); St. Matthew’s Chapel in Sugar Hill (foundation construction); and Whitcomb Hall in Swanzey (2nd floor rehabilitation).
Congratulations also to the following projects: Charlestown’s Silsby Free Library, Ladd-Gilman House in Exeter, Keene’s Ball Mansion (home of the Cheshire County Historical Society), Lebanon’s Kendrick-Wood House (home to the Upper Valley Music Center), Milton Free Library, Ingalls Memorial Library in Rindge, Rochester Opera House, and the Wolfeboro Freight Shed.
Since its incorporation in 2000, LCHIP has awarded over $43 million and protected over 257 historic buildings and conserved over 280,000 acres of land in a total of 157 communities. This investment - which now comes from a deed surcharge at the county level - has leveraged nearly $300 million in the program’s history.
The next LCHIP grant round opens in May 2019. If you are interested in creating a successful preservation project (that may or may not include LCHIP funding), please reach out to Andrew Cushing at the Preservation Alliance (firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-2281).
One of the biggest topics of conversation in New Hampshire over the last few years centers around the proposed Northern Pass project. While we wait for the Site Evaluation Committee to release its written opinion, Jennifer Goodman (our Executive Director) and Sharee Williamson from National Trust for Historic Preservation took some time to write an engaging article sharing what they have learned, and what it could mean for our cultural and historic landscape. 3/29/18 UPDATE below photo
Another year, another snow storm. Across New Hampshire, voters trekked to their town halls, fire stations, or school gymnasiums to debate various articles that involved saving special historic places.
We are proud to have been a part of several successful articles, including a few Seven to Save properties that will move forward this year. Here’s what we know (and please share success stories from your town if we missed you):
In Rye, the town hall (Seven to Save 2015) was spared from demolition. A petitioned article asked for $3 million to raze the 1873 structure and build a three-story replacement. The Heritage Commission instead supported an option for the town to purchase a former bank building and repurpose it for town offices, thus alleviating crowding at the historic town hall. That article, too, failed.
The town hall will see its exterior painted this year, as well as the completion of a conditions assessment, which will provide rehabilitation options for the embattled building.
In Belmont, the Shaker Regional School District voters once again refused to demolish the distinctive 1894 Gale School (Seven to Save 2017). Instead, voters directed the school board to sell the vacant building to the nonprofit group, Save Our Gale School (SOGS). SOGS has just over one year to move the structure to a new location, where it will be rehabilitated by nonprofit developer, Lakes Region Community Developers. Belmont voters also approved $5,000 for their Heritage Fund and a $65,000 space needs study (which will include several underused town-owned historic buildings).
Orford voters approved the lease of the Orford Academy building to Littleton-based developer, AHEAD. The decision marked the end of a long debate over the building’s future and concern about its appropriate reuse. AHEAD (which has won preservation achievement awards for adaptive reuse at Berlin’s Notre Dame School and Littleton Hospital) will spend $3.5 million converting the brick institution into twelve senior housing units.
In Hinsdale, the Hope Engine Company No. 1 fire house will have a new home on town land after voters accepted the building. The 2017 Seven to Save project, which was saved from demolition last fall, seeks to convert the rare building into a fire fighting museum. “I feel like today was a great day for historic preservation in New Hampshire,” said Donna Suskawicz, the main proponent of the engine house’s restoration. To top it off, “I won $50.00 on a St. Patty’s scratch ticket! A lucky day.”
Stratham voters overwhelmingly approved a $150,000 article to place a preservation easement on the former town hall. The Second Empire building was sold into private hands in 1997, but a recent demolition permit alerted the Heritage Commission to its endangered status. The new owner is willing to work with the Commission to find a suitable solution that will permit a reuse, but also preserve the exterior’s features.
Speaking of Heritage Commissions, there will be two new ones in New Hampshire after approval in Sandown and Mont Vernon. Both towns also approved the creation of Heritage Funds. In the case of Sandown, two times was the charm – an attempt last year failed. Kingston voters also approved $10,000 for their Heritage Fund. Unfortunately in Kensington, a valiant effort to establish a Commission and Heritage Fund failed, 211-167. Supporters there will return next year.
Chesterfield rejected the demolition of their former town office building – a wonderful example of carpenter gothic architecture. Instead, voters approved a plan to sell the house for one dollar to a local couple who wish to rehabilitate it.
Two studies were approved: in Ashland and Mason. Ashland’s second attempt for a study at their historic 1871 town hall succeeded. The LCHIP project can now move forward. An amendment from the floor expanded the roof replacement at the Mason Town Hall to also include a conditions assessment, for a total of $18,500. A committee is now charged with listing the Greek Revival structure to the State Register of Historic Places.
New Durham voters okayed the Boodey House Committee’s proposal to move a barn in danger of demolition in nearby Alton to town land. After the barn’s assembly at the new location, the committee hopes to move forward with the reconstruction of the Zechariah Boodey house. Voters also approved $5,000 for the 1772 Meetinghouse (Seven to Save 2012).
Harrisville’s historic street lights will remain after a year of study. The decision reverses last year’s vote to replace the porcelain fixtures with more efficient lights in the National Historic Landmark village.
The Weeks Public Library in Greenland will get a sizable addition after voters approved a $3.5 million bond to expand the 1897 building. A smaller request ($25,000) in Grafton failed. There, supporters hope to move and expand the building in an effort to keep the 1921 library usable for more people.
More library news came from Groton, where voters directed the selectmen to demolish the former library and town office building. The small building – originally a chapel for the Forest Hills camp – sustained damage from flooding and according to many, is not repairable. The library itself disbanded, with services now provided by neighboring Hebron.
Bradford Town Hall (Seven to Save 2014) will not be rehabilitated as quickly as taxpayers thought. Despite last year’s passage of a $650,000 bond, $1.3 million more was requested to complete the first floor’s work. Instead, voters opted to spend $170,000 to mothball the building.
These additional town meeting results have come to our attention:
In Chatham, voters approved a measure, 46-7, to transfer ownership of one of the town's last one room schoolhouse to the Historical Society. After the school closed in 1968, it became a library. Now the building will become headquarters of the Chatham Historical Society.
To share news from your community, email Andrew Cushing at email@example.com.