Preservation Achievement Awards

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“History’s value is not in dry facts, but in human stories,” said Katie Maher and Susan MacLeod, co-chairs of Ashland’s Reuben Whitten Committee at the 29th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards announced May 8th in Concord.

In Ashland’s case, the rehabilitation of the Whitten house took a largely-volunteer effort befitting of the story of the Whittens in 1816 when they decided to share their harvest with hungry neighbors. It was the “year without a summer” thanks to the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora, and New England farmers struggled with growing crops. The Whitten house, a small c.1800 dwelling was later moved, converted into a workshop, struck by a truck, moved again, and finally rehabilitated by the Ashland Historical Society with the help of many volunteers and donated goods. 

It was one of the great joys of my life to do this project...I am well aware that this one was, in many ways, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
— Jonathan Chorlian, Bienvenue Condominiums

Each year the Preservation Alliance recognizes outstanding preservation work through its Achievement Awards program. Selection criteria include the quality of work, the project’s innovativeness, the degree of challenge or accomplishment, and the level of community support. For construction projects, award reviewers also consider the importance of the historical resource and use of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

This year, eleven projects across New Hampshire were recognized. The people who made these projects happen – dedicated members of Historical Societies, Heritage Commissions and Historic District Commissions, developers, blacksmiths, carpenters, engineers, affordable housing advocates, and even baristas – were celebrated for their tenacity and creativity.

The common thread in the eleven 2018 awards, according to executive director Jennifer Goodman, is “high-quality investments that benefit New Hampshire citizens, and stimulate additional community development.” 

“These are the kinds of places we can’t imagine New Hampshire without and we want to recognize the people who have worked to save and revive these landmarks,” Goodman added. 

The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) was critical in four of the projects and the Conservation & Heritage License Plate Program (Moose Plate) benefited two. Support from the Community Development Finance Authority and federal historic preservation tax credits were instrumental in others.

The recipients of the 2018 Awards are:

  • Ashland Historical Society for the rescue of the c. 1800 Reuben Whitten House. Whitten is credited with helping feed townspeople in 1816, known as the year without a summer.
  • Freedom Heritage Commission for restoration of the Freedom Roller Shed. Strong local effort for rare building type that used to house snow roller and other equipment.
  • NH Department of Transportation for stewardship of the 1817 New Ipswich High Bridge and compatible new construction. DOT installed a new steel span above oldest and tallest stone arched bridge in New Hampshire, preserving the historic structure.
  • Historic New England for restoration and stewardship of the 1664 Jackson House, Portsmouth, the oldest existing timber framed structure in New Hampshire. Sensitive and effective bracing of frame and grading work to correct water infiltration problems completed with significant investment in archeological analysis.
  • Trinity Churchyard Cemetery Association for the restoration of the Trinity Cemetery fence, Holderness. A high-quality effort with important attention to minimizing ground disturbance and preserving a frequently-lost feature (cast iron fences).
  • Town of Francestown for the rehabilitation of Francestown Town Hall. Decade-long rehabilitation project for 1847 building after being closed due to code issues.
  • Town of Littleton for stewardship of the Littleton Community Center. Major commitment to Seven to Save-listed 1884 Queen Anne landmark that stands on Main Street, that included new roof, electrical and other systems work, removal of vinyl siding and repair and painting of clapboards.
  • CATCH Neighborhood Housing for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of Franklin Power & Light Mill. Major rehabilitation of derelict mill building for workforce housing in downtown.
  • Jonathan Chorlian for the rescue and adaptive use of the Sacred Heart Church for Bienvenue Condominiums, Concord. Creative solution for major landmark at risk.  
  • One Park North Street for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of Lucky’s Coffee Garage, Lebanon. High-quality re-use of former garage in a downtown historic district.
  • City of Rochester for the rehabilitation of the Rochester City Hall Annex. Significant reinvestment in a “remuddled” building with major advocacy from local historic district commission.

 

Generous program sponsors of the Preservation Achievement Awards include:

 

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