2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Terry Knowles

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

Terry Knowles received an award for her outstanding public service, leadership and support of statewide historic preservation-related activities in a career of nearly four decades. (Photo by Rick Kipphut )

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.”

 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards: Town of Hancock and First Congregational Church of Hancock

The 1820 Hancock Meetinghouse is one of only two in New Hampshire that are jointly owned by a town and a church. It serves as the anchor of the town’s historic village. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hancock.)

The 1820 Hancock Meetinghouse is one of only two in New Hampshire that are jointly owned by a town and a church. It serves as the anchor of the town’s historic village. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hancock.)

With partners: David J. Drasba, AIA; MacMillian/DEW; Elizabeth Durfee Hengen, Preservation Consultant; Curtains Without Borders; D.S. Huntington Company; Winn Mountain Restorations, LLC; Stebbins Spectacular Painting Company LLC; The Hancock Improvement Association, Inc.; Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

The 1820 Hancock Meetinghouse is the anchor of a remarkable historic village nestled within adjacent forested hills overlooking pristine Norway Pond. The Meetinghouse is considered one of New Hampshire’s finest Federal-style churches, as one of several meetinghouses located along a linear path of similarly designed steeples known as the “Templeton Run.”

The Hancock Meetinghouse is also one of only two remaining in New Hampshire under the joint ownership of a town and a church. The Meetinghouse exterior was altered only once in appearance since the building’s construction when, in 1851, the building was moved from its original location and the interior was divided into two floors. Like in many other New Hampshire towns, the first floor served town purposes, while the new second floor was dedicated for church activities. Despite these changes, the steeple remained unaltered and still carries a bell from the foundry of Paul Revere. 

The project to restore the Meetinghouse completed the building’s first major renovation in 100 years. A Historic Structure Report outlined the necessary work, which was funded through a combination of capital reserve funds, LCHIP grants, and private contributions. Work included: structural repairs to the timber frame, mechanical and electrical systems upgrades, installation of a new slate roof, exterior clapboard repair and painting, installation of a seamless LULA lift, restoration of the steeple’s weathervane, balustrades, and finials; restoration of all original windows, installation of proper storms, and the conservation of the painted stage curtain. This work also follows an effort to bury power lines in the village, allowing for much improved visuals of the town’s most prized architectural landmarks.

Thanks to the Meetinghouse restoration, the building continues to play an important role in the activities of Hancock. In addition to weekly religious services, weddings and funerals, Town Meeting returned to the building, and various local organizations and cultural groups are using the building for concerts, lectures, bake sales, Christmas craft fairs, and the annual Old Home Day celebration. It has become the rehearsal and performance home of Music on Norway Pond.  Each season there are close to 70 rehearsals, involving 200 singers and over 1,000 program attendees.

This award salutes Hancock’s high quality foundation-to-weathervane-work fueled by strong community support and a great team. We know you’ll agree when we say the results speak for themselves.

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion

The Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in Portsmouth, shown above during the 2019 Lilac Festival, was built between 1695 and 1750 and was donated to the State of New Hampshire in 1954. The Wentworth-Coolidge Commission was created in 1982 to assist with its maintenance and preservation. In recent years, the commission and various state departments have worked together to successfully restore, rehabilitate and steward the 40-room mansion. (Photo courtesy of the Wentworth-Coolidge Commission.)

The Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in Portsmouth, shown above during the 2019 Lilac Festival, was built between 1695 and 1750 and was donated to the State of New Hampshire in 1954. The Wentworth-Coolidge Commission was created in 1982 to assist with its maintenance and preservation. In recent years, the commission and various state departments have worked together to successfully restore, rehabilitate and steward the 40-room mansion. (Photo courtesy of the Wentworth-Coolidge Commission.)

With partners: Studio TKM and Winn Mountain Restorations, LLC.

This award recognizes a multi-year collaboration between the non-profit Wentworth Coolidge Commission and the State of New Hampshire to tackle significant preservation projects together at the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in Portsmouth.

The 40-room mansion was constructed between 1695 and 1750 and served as the residence of royal governor Benning Wentworth. The mansion and grounds on Little Harbor served as the epicenter of Portsmouth’s social and political spheres through much of the 18th century. Governor Wentworth today is best known for his granting of many charters of towns in New Hampshire and Vermont, and for marrying his housekeeper who was forty-one years his junior.  In 1883, the mansion was purchased by the Coolidge Family and became a summer retreat for Boston artists.

In 1954, the Coolidge Family donated the mansion to the State of New Hampshire, and what is considered the only extant Royal Governor’s mansion in North America became a state park. To assist with maintenance and preservation initiatives, the Wentworth-Coolidge Commission was created in 1982.

Together, these entities have made great strides on the historic mansion and set a new standard for matching private monies with public support.  Recent work includes completing a major window restoration project on sashes that receive more than their fair share of exposure to the elements; replacing the iconic red cedar shake roof; addressing foundation issues; restoring interior furnishings and reproducing period wallpaper; and tending to the site’s equally historic purple lilacs.

This site was home to North America’s first lilacs in 1750, and since 2010, the Commission has worked to eradicate damaging fungal growth, create a lilac nursery, and plant new lilacs around the property.  

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: Berlin and Coos County Historical Society

The Historical Society owns and is completing the rehabilitation of these two barns located north of downtown. The barns are the last of what remains of Brown Company Logging, and one of the buildings has connections to a Brown family member’s efforts to introduce Arabian horses as a superior breed for the Calvary. (Photo courtesy of Berlin & Coos County Historical Society.)

The Historical Society owns and is completing the rehabilitation of these two barns located north of downtown. The barns are the last of what remains of Brown Company Logging, and one of the buildings has connections to a Brown family member’s efforts to introduce Arabian horses as a superior breed for the Calvary. (Photo courtesy of Berlin & Coos County Historical Society.)

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.

 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards: Applied GeoSolutions

Rehabilitation and adaptive use of old Town Hall, Durham

With partners: Cowan/Goudreau Architects; Essex Preservation Consulting; and Faylor Construction.                                                                              

We could have been looking at a Rite Aid here if robust public opposition hadn’t convinced the Town of Durham to terminate its contract with a developer.

The property started as two c.1860 houses that were combined in the 1970s for use as the Durham Town Offices. At the time, the rehabilitation was novel, and with its hyphen connecting the two buildings, it won an award from the New England Regional Council of the American Institute of Architects in 1979. But after 2010, the Town was looking for a larger space and the property’s large downtown lot was desirable real estate. After a generous offer from a developer, the town was prepared to allow the contributing building in the national and local historic district to be demolished.

When the NH Division of Historical Resources revealed that such action would jeopardize the downtown’s National Register District status, the Historic District Commission had the information they needed to reject the proposal.

Instead, the Town of Durham issued a request for proposals and found a partner in Applied GeoSolutions, a growing mapping firm that uses geospatial tools to monitor global trends in agriculture, climate change, public health, and resource management. Applied GeoSolutions purchased the property and used the federal historic tax credit (the first use of the credit in Durham) to facilitate the renovation. They also sought and received approvals for exterior changes from the local district historic commission. Proprietors Carrie and Bill Salas spent their evenings and weekends stripping window trim, poring over balusters in yard sales trying to find matches, and serving as project managers. 

Town Administrator Todd Selig said of the project, “[The] end result is an absolutely beautiful redevelopment of the property that left the Historic District intact [and allowed for] a redevelopment that has added quality new jobs and additional tax base for the community.”

For Applied GeoSolutions, the location next to the brainpower at UNH has been a fruitful connection, and they enjoy owning their own space after years of renting on the Seacoast.

The project serves as a testament to the power of historic district commissions, the ability of town leaders to consider more responsible and creative methods for disposing of public property, and the tenacity of small business owners.

You might even say that Applied GeoSolutions helped put Durham on the map in more ways than one.

These two c.1860 buildings now serve as the home of Applied GeoSolutions, a firm that uses geospatial tools to map global trends in agriculture, climate change, public health, and resource management. (Photo courtesy of Town of Durham.)

These two c.1860 buildings now serve as the home of Applied GeoSolutions, a firm that uses geospatial tools to map global trends in agriculture, climate change, public health, and resource management. (Photo courtesy of Town of Durham.)

2019 Preservation Awards: Post and Beam Brewing

With partners: Town of Peterborough; Monadnock Economic Development Corporation;
Native Construction, LLC; and Digz Excavating.

This 1837 building was home to The Peterborough Academy and later served as meeting hall for Civil War veterans, an American Legion post, and a teen center. After an extensive renovation that protected its architectural significance, the building now houses a popular gathering place in Peterborough, Post and Beam Brewing.

This 1837 building was home to The Peterborough Academy and later served as meeting hall for Civil War veterans, an American Legion post, and a teen center. After an extensive renovation that protected its architectural significance, the building now houses a popular gathering place in Peterborough, Post and Beam Brewing.

Peterborough’s G.A.R. Hall began its life in 1837 as The Peterborough Academy, the first organization for higher education in Town. After six decades of fluctuating student enrollment, it was deeded to the Town of Peterborough for a meeting hall for Civil War veterans, then a post of the American Legion, and eventually a Teen Center.

After several subsequent owners and then vacancy, Peterborough’s voters gave consent at Town Meeting in 2013 to sell the property with a preservation easement. The building had been well-used in its 175-year life, and citizens – spearheaded by the late Duffy and Rick Monahan – wished for the building to continue its importance to Peterborough’s vibrant downtown.

Enter Erika Rosenfeld and Jeffrey Odland, who purchased the G.A.R. Hall in May of 2017 with plans to repurpose the historic space as a microbrewery. The building’s preservation easement prevented any exterior alteration that would affect its architectural significance and prevented demolition, but Erika knew the moment she walked inside the building that she could transform it into a valuable asset for both their brand and for the community.

The building got much-needed structural repairs, improved ADA access, and a geothermal heating system. Erika did much of the interior renovation work herself, which involved a lot of demolition of layers. With assistance from the Heritage Commission, which holds the easement, Erika adapted some plans and negotiated other interior choices to find balances that met the brewery’s needs and still met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

The project represented a true community effort with overwhelming support from the Town’s administration and Select Board—including approval of RSA 79-E tax relief—Heritage Commission and townspeople, and countless crowdfunding supporters. And here’s what beer enthusiasts have to say about Post and Beam Brewing: “Ridiculously tasty beers and amazing atmosphere" ; “I love the atmosphere of the remodeled historic building”; and “Great place to pop in and chill while you sample some excellent beer.”

We’ll drink to that. Cheers, Post and Beam Brewing!

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: N.H. Department of Transportation

For the restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship of the Stewartstown Bridge

With partners: N.H. DOT Bridge Design; CPM Constructors Inc.; KTA-Tator, Inc.; Calderwood Engineering; ARC Enterprises; Auciello Iron Work; and Modern Protective Coating

The Stewartstown Bridge, which connects its namesake town to Beecher Falls, Vermont over the Connecticut River, was one of the few remaining metal truss buildings in the state when it was placed on the Preservation Alliance’s  Seven to Save  list in 2008. In 2017, the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation launched an extensive rehabilitation process that has restored the 1931 bridge to its former glory. (Photo courtesy of NH DOT.)

The Stewartstown Bridge, which connects its namesake town to Beecher Falls, Vermont over the Connecticut River, was one of the few remaining metal truss buildings in the state when it was placed on the Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list in 2008. In 2017, the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation launched an extensive rehabilitation process that has restored the 1931 bridge to its former glory. (Photo courtesy of NH DOT.)

Today in New Hampshire, there are fewer metal truss bridges than covered bridges. The alarming rate of their disappearance led to their categorical listing on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save  list in 2008.

But just a half-mile from the Canadian border, a historic two-hinged, spandrel-braced steel arch bridge connecting Stewartstown to Beecher Falls, Vermont, is now restored thanks to the efforts of the N.H. Department of Transportation.

The Stewartstown Bridge was built in 1931, ironically, to replace an 1882 covered bridge. This modernization won an award of merit from the American Institute of Steel Construction as the most beautiful Class C steel bridge in America. Metal bridges are difficult to maintain in New Hampshire due to winter salt exacerbating rusting, however, and by the 2000s, the bridge was red-listed.

Nevertheless, restoration was chosen over replacement, and work started in 2017. Tasks included the complete removal of the concrete deck and asphalt overlay and replacement with a light weight concrete bare deck, select replacement of spandrel bent steel components and installation of additional cover plates on the arches. The work also included removal of obsolete, asbestos-insulated water line from the bridge and replacement of the top portion of the Vermont spill-through abutment, along with repairs to the arch thrust block on the Vermont side.

Additionally, the number of intermediate deck joints was reduced from six to four, and sleeper slabs were incorporated to provide compression seal joints at either end of the bridge that moved the expansion joints to the back sides of abutment back walls.  Significant drainage work was incorporated on both bridge approaches, which reduced the amount of water runoff traveling across the bridge from the very steep New Hampshire approach and reduced the surface water runoff traveling into the intersection just to the north of the Vermont abutment.  

A cosmetic baluster rail system was also incorporated and attached to the tubular vehicular rail to mimic the historic look of the original bridge rail. All metal surfaces were powder coated with the original bridge’s green color to preserve the historic nature of the structure. With this work complete, the 10-ton posting was removed and all legal loads can now be carried on the bridge.

For the non-engineers: the bridge was thoroughly rehabilitated and upgraded. So next time you’re in Stewartstown, be sure to cross the Connecticut over this historic metal bridge and thank the people who restored this special structure.

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: Town of Washington

The 1787 Meetinghouse in Washington has been restored due to the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, which led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation.

The 1787 Meetinghouse in Washington has been restored due to the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, which led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation.

Elizabeth Durfee Hengen Award

 With partners: Milestone Engineering & Construction; Daniel V. Scully Architects; Russell Downing, P.E.; Thayer Fellows, P.E.; WV Engineering Associates, PA; Winn Mountain Restorations, LLC, and Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

Crews raised the frame of Washington’s iconic meetinghouse on July 4, 1787. Since its completion, the building has served as the civic, emotional and cultural heart of the town.

Originally, when the Washington Congregational Church and town shared the use of the building, the building had a twin porch design, with exterior stairwells connecting the ground floor to the mezzanine on the second floor. In 1825, the bell tower replaced one porch, the church built their own building in 1840, and later in the 19th century, the lower box pews were removed and the building was bifurcated to create an assembly hall on the second floor.  

This second floor space, with its large windows, stage and scenic curtain, served as the town’s favorite go-to public space until it was abruptly closed in 1992 for not being ADA compliant. For decades the town debated the best course of action for the meetinghouse, ranging from restoring the original layout to the construction of a large addition.

Conflicting budget priorities and a make-do attitude stalled progress and in 2014, the meetinghouse was placed on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list. Fortunately, the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation. After five attempts in five years, the measure finally passed 135 to 26.

The rehabilitation included lifting the building and pouring a new foundation, the replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems, replacing rotted sills, the installation of a new fire protection system, restoration of the main level, and the construction of a rear addition. An LCHIP grant helped restore all of the original windows and fund the purchase of new, better storms. Lastly, a grand finale fundraising campaign raised $225,000 in private contributions to install an elevator and finish bathrooms in the new addition.

The final results are a testament to the persistence and generosity of those who are lucky enough to call this town of 1,100 people home, and to the enduring legacy that this “Sacred Deposit” has in Washington.