Community Landmarks Dominate Seven to Save List

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MANCHESTER:  The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance announced its 2012 Seven to Save list on October 16, naming a new group of endangered historic structures that includes a small-town movie house, a grange building, a pre-Revolutionary meetinghouse, and a defunct hydro-powered mill and dam that need your help. “Our 2012 Seven to Save list contains the kind of places that you can’t imagine your community without,” said Maggie Stier, field service representative for the Preservation Alliance.    “Advocates for these places know that saving the past enriches the present, and today we recognize seven great opportunities to transform threatened resources into vibrant community assets once again.”

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Hunter Ulf, AIA, board member of the Preservation Alliance and chair of the Seven to Save committee, noted that “Preservation of places like these supports well-paying jobs and is part of New Hampshire’s authentic sense of place that helps attract visitors and businesses." [See descriptions and contact information below].

Many town-owned structures are at risk across the state, and this year, the Kensington Town Hall and the New Durham Meetinghouse both received a Seven to Save.  In Kensington, recent flooding led to mold conditions, which prompted town officials to vacate the 1840’s structure, leaving its future very uncertain.  The New Durham Meetinghouse, built in 1770, is one of only five pre-Revolutionary War meetinghouse still standing.

 Ioka Theater in Exeter, a once-thriving local entertainment venue, recently sold at foreclosure and a Friends group is working to attract the major new investment that it needs to be revived. 

Seven to Save designations also went to the Moultonborough Grange Hall, which stands vacant and needs both immediate stabilization and a long-term re-use plan, and the Littleton Community

House, a grand Victorian house and carriage barn in downtown Littleton that has served as a community center since just after World War I.  It needs help in addressing a large backlog of maintenance issues to retain its beloved status as a community gathering place.  

 Finally, a state-owned bridge once again claims a spot on Seven to Save.  The Vilas Bridge spanning the Connecticut River between Walpole and Bellows Falls, Vt, has been closed since 2009, and is the last remaining double spandrel reinforced concrete arch bridge in the state.

 Pandora Mill, which had been named to the Seven to Save list in 2008, hosted the gathering on Tuesday evening, in its award-winning, recently restored millyard building.  Pre-event tours of the LEED-certified rehabilitation showcased the building’s history and new energy efficiency.

 The 2012 Seven to Save announcement also included a brief annual meeting of the Preservation Alliance.    Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, underlined the value of the program by noting that “of the 42 sites named to the list since 2006, we consider over half of them now out of danger and ‘saved.’”  Completed rehabilitations include the Ashland School and Pandora Mill, with strong progress being made at many others including the 70-meter ski jump at Gunstock Resort, the Langdon Meetinghouse, and Upper Village Hall in East Derry.

Ioka Theater, Exeter

Built in 1915, this once-thriving Vaudeville theater and downtown movie house served generations of seacoast residents before a period of decline forced its sale last year at foreclosure.   A Friends group is working with the new owner to revive the theater, possibly as a non-profit, but will have to attract major new investment to stabilize the structure and renovate the historic interior.  Contact: Carol P. Bridges, 759-9442, cpbridges@comcast.net

Moultonborough Grange, Moultonborough

Owned by the Historical Society, with the Heritage Commission as leading advocates, this former tavern needs immediate funding for stabilization and a re-use plan so that it can once again play a key role in the life of the village center.   Contact: Cristina Ashjian, 476-8446, cristina.ashjian@gmail.com

Community House, Littleton

This elegant Queen Anne house and carriage barn in downtown Littleton has served as a community center since just after World War I.  Its elegant period interiors are largely intact, but it needs help with a large backlog of maintenance issues to retain its beloved status as a community gathering place.  Contact: Roxanne Bowker, 440-2050, roxbow@yahoo.com

 Drew Mill and Dam, Union (Wakefield)

A largely intact example of a small water-powered manufacturing facility, this 1908 mill produced wooden utensils and toys that were shipped via the adjacent railroad until the 1950’s.  The non-profit Union Village Community Association now owns the dam and mill and hopes to repair and revive both to help preserve history and revitalize the village.  Contact: Richard House, 473-8398, rhouse@uvca.org

 1772 Meetinghouse, New Durham

One of only five surviving pre-Revolutionary era meetinghouses in NH, and birthplace of the Freewill Baptist denomination, this timber framed structure was long neglected and faced possible demolition when a few committed townspeople stepped up to begin its restoration in the 1980’s.  Now stabilized, it awaits full rehabilitation.  Contact: Cathy Allyn, 859-3322, prosody@hotmail.com

 Town Hall, Kensington

Basement town offices flooded in 2008, and ensuing problems with mold and its remediation have left the building vacant, facing an uncertain future.  A new Friends group is working to assist with preservation solutions and rally community support.   Contact: Lynne Emerson Monroe, 778-1799, FriendsofKensingtonTownHall@comcast.net

Seven to Save program sponsors include Anagnost Investments Inc., Milestone Engineering & Construction, Christopher P. Williams Architects, John S. Jordan Design, H. E. Bergeron Engineers, Inc. Mamakating Electric Co. and Port One Architects. Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV also recently named the Preservation Alliance a 2012 Champion in Action.

 The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through education and advocacy.  Current priorities include providing assistance to community leaders; promoting the use of easements, barn preservation and tax incentives; and connecting property owners to weatherization information.

 Vilas Bridge, Walpole

Closed since 2009, this is the last remaining double spandrel reinforced concrete arch bridge in the state, and once carried 5,000 cars a day over the Connecticut River between Walpole and Bellows Falls.  Despite being on the state’s Red List, there are currently no funds allocated for much needed decking repair, and delays will accelerate this nationally-significant bridge’s decline and hinders economic investment for the towns on both sides.   Contact: Francis D. Walsh, 493-2959, fdwalsh3@gmail.com

 

 

2011:

Old Town Hall, Middleton

Old Grist Mill on Little River, Kingston

Wheaton-Alexander House, Winchester

Farley Building, Hollis

Town Hall, Charlestown

Pearson Hall, Haverhill

The Balsams, Dixville Notch 

 

2010:

Colonial Theater, Laconia

Mill Pond Dam, Durham

Odd Fellows Hall, Warner

Pulpit Rock Tower, Rye

Print Shop, Mt. Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods

Brown Company, R&D Buildings, Berlin

Historic Windows, Statewide

 

2009:

The Mill at Mill Hollow, East Alstead

First Parish Church, East Derry

The New England Center, UNH, Durham

Iron Furnace, Franconia

Grace United Methodist Church, Keene

70-Meter Ski Jump, Gilford

Brewster Memorial Hall, Wolfeboro

 

2008:

The Church of the Holy Resurrection, Berlin 

George Kimball House, Canaan

Langdon Town Hall

Pandora Mill, Manchester

Harbor House Livery, Sunapee

Frye’s Measure Mill, Wilton

Metal Bridges, statewide

 

2007:

Acworth Meetinghouse, Acworth

Ashland’s Historic School

Whittier Covered Bridge, Ossipee

Burley-Demerrit Farmhouse, Lee

Upper Village Hall, East Derry

Manchester’s First High School

St. Anne Church, Manchester

 

2006:

Hilltop School, Somersworth

The Great Stone Dwelling, Enfield

Epsom’s Historic Meetinghouse, Epsom

Philbrook Farm Inn and Croftie Farm, Shelburne

Stone Arched Bridge, Keene

Franco-American Centre/Centre Franco-Americain, Manchester

New Hampshire’s State Historic Sites