Ten Projects Honored
On May 7, ten projects across the Granite State were recognized by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for outstanding achievement in preservation at its annual announcement ceremony in Concord. The awards recognize individuals, organizations and corporations for work or projects in the categories of restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship as well as advocacy, planning and education.
“We welcome this opportunity to recognize outstanding projects and people, offer thanks and inspire others,” said the Preservation Alliance’s executive director Jennifer Goodman. “These awards showcase how investment in community landmarks and forward-thinking education and planning projects not only revive irreplaceable landmarks, but also bring people together, supports local jobs, and advance other community goals,” said Preservation Alliance board member and awards committee chair Paula Cabot of Loudon.
"It is the fantastic work of preservationists across the state that continue to drive that tourism and maintain the beauty of our communities, said Speaker of the House Terie Norelli at the event. "When we invest in our communities, the returns are expotential. That applies to infrastructure, education, and preservation. The prosperity of our state relies on these investments, it is the driving force for our success and it will be a defining factor in the lives of our children, grandchildren and their families."
The award-winning projects are:
Seven construction projects:
- Donna Dunn and the Dunbarton Historical Awareness Committee for the outstanding restoration of a cobbler shop
- Milton Town House Committee for the outstanding restoration of the Milton Town House
- Portsmouth Historical Society for the Discover Portsmouth Center
- Newmarket Mills, LLC for the revitalization of the Newmarket Mills
- Town of North Hampton for outstanding rehabilitation of the Town Hall
Merit awards were also given to the Town of Gilmanton for stewardship of the Gilmanton Academy and the Town of Sandwich for the stewardship of the Sandwich Town Hall.
Three education and advocacy initiatives:
- Squam National Register of Historic Places Committee, Squam Lakes Conservation Society for Squam Lakes Watershed National Register of Historic Places Initiative
- Gundalow Company for the Piscataqua
- Carolyn Russell, Ronald Jager and Tom Talpey in association with the Washington Historical Society for Meetinghouse: The Heart of Washington, New Hampshire documentary film
As she accepted the award, Carolyn Russell emphasized that she hoped the film --that showcased how the Washington Meetinghouse was the heartbeat of her town -- could help and inspire people in other small towns. Molly Bolster, executive director of the Gundalow Company, said that the group's assumption about building a recreation of the historic workboat was that "using heritage and history as the hook..could create a meaningful experience that would make people feel more connected to this place and therefore be more likely to become future stewards." Ken Viscarello, chairman of the Alliance’s board of directors, noted the importance of investments by N.H. Community Development Finance Authority and the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program in several of the projects, as well as the tenacity of the project’s private developers and community advocates.
Award program is sponsored by Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green, The Duprey Companies and TMS Architects, as well as CMK Architects, PA, Great Bridge Properties, Hawk Planning Resources LLC, Hutter Construction, Ingram Construction Corporation, North Branch Construction, Inc., Scully Architects, Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty, and TNT Electrical Contractor LLC.
The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy. Current priorities include providing assistance to community leaders and promoting the use of easements, barn preservation and tax incentives.
More details and photos to be posted soon.
Ideas to See, Save and Celebrate!
May is Preservation Month, and this year’s theme is See, Save and Celebrate! Make the time to consider the history of your town, enjoy a performance in a historic theater, take a friend or family members to a historic site, or bid for behind-the-scenes tours and special services at the Preservation Alliance’s on-line auction.
Studies in New Hampshire and elsewhere emphasize that historic preservation activity not only contributes to the character of our communities, but also is a sound economic investment. Labor-intensive preservation work creates good-paying jobs and keeps more money circulating in local economies than does new construction. Historic places and activities also draw visitors to our state who stay longer and spend more than other types of visitors.
The creators of the Preservation Month concept at the National Trust for Historic Preservation hope that the designation will help bring historic preservation to the forefront of Americans’ daily lives by emphasizing the vital importance of protecting our nation’s history.
Check out this list for ideas:
- Take a look around. Take kids on a tour of your favorite historic building. Appreciate the historic buildings and other structures that define your community. Consider what’s at risk. Talk to your family or neighbors about what’s important to save for the future.
- Check out the list of auction items
- Return to a favorite historic site or try something new. Check www.visitnh.gov for ideas.
- Invest in preservation at home and at work. Improve building energy efficiency by adding insulation, re-tuning historic windows and minimizing reliance on fossil fuels. Find local contractors in our online Preservation Directory.
- Volunteer and help support preservation by serving on the heritage commission, historic district commission, energy committee, library board, school committee, cemetery commission, downtown organization or non-profit housed in a historic structure.
- Act locally. Purchase goods and services from Main Street retailers or those who occupy historic buildings. Give to local preservation efforts. Buy a “Moose Plate” conservation license plate to help support preservation of historic properties.
- Attend the Preservation Alliance’s May 7 awards program in Concord. Let people know you value and appreciate their good stewardship of historic buildings. Showcase the benefits of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.
- Check the N.H. Division of Historical Resources’ blog featuring the results of an exciting new study on mid-20th century modern architecture in New Hampshire.
- Support the Preservation Alliance by becoming a member or renewing your support.
Preservation Bills Advance
On April 24, the New Hampshire House endorsed three preservation initiatives that encourage investment and help protect important resources on April 16 with unanimous votes. The Senate has already voted in favor of the bills.
SB 80 allows municipalities the option to offer property tax relief for certain qualified investments in properties on or eligible for the state or national register of historic places. Its lead sponsor is Senator David Watters.
SB43 recognizes the important role of small, historically-significant retail properties in our communities. Senator David Boutin is the legislation's lead sponsor.
SB 12 authorizes the adoption of optional provisions for the protection or preservation of archeological resources in master plans, subdivision regulations, and site plan review regulations. Senator Nancy Stiles is the bill's lead sponor.
Cast a Bid for Historic Preservation in New Hampshire!
Interested in a Thoreau Cabin, Tipi-time or Blacksmithing training? Cast a Bid for Historic Preservation in New Hampshire!
Want to own a replica of Thoreau’s cabin, enjoy two nights in a tipi with a view of the Presidentials or learn about blacksmithing while supporting the N.H. Preservation Alliance’s work with community projects across the state? You can! On-line bidding for these and approximately 100 other items will run from April 23 to May 12. View the auction here.
There are nearly 100 unique gifts, behind-the-scenes tours, get-aways and valuable preservation services up for bid. Here are more examples: a behind-the-scenes tour of the Northeast’s premier archival conservation center; kitchen design consultations, behind-the-scenes visit to a photo shoot with the editor of New Hampshire Home magazine, an antique rocking chair and a home energy assessment; a two-night package at the Omni Mount Washington Resort & Spa; and much more donated by members and friends of the N.H. Preservation Alliance.
The Walden Cabin Timber Frame Package, donated by Bensonwood Homes of Walpole, NH, features a modern replica of Henry David Thoreau’s 10’ x 15’ structure that is perfect as a writer’s retreat, guest house or garden shed. The package includes shipping, assembly and a hard cover addition of Walden: the 150th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of the American Classic along with Building the Timberframe House, signed by Tedd Benson and members of the Benson “Beam Team.” Auction proceeds support the Preservation Alliance’s work with 100 community preservation projects statewide.
Put it on your calendar! Tell your friends!
The Preservation Alliance is the non-profit membership organization committed to the preservation of historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy. Current priorities include providing assistance to community leaders and promoting effective weatherization, town hall stewardship, barn preservation and preservation as "the original green". Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV9 selected the Alliance as its Champion in Action for Neighborhood Development last year.
For Sale: The Pearl of Portsmouth
The Pearl of Portsmouth is a grand historic building at 45 Pearl Streets, Portsmouth. It was built in 1851, stands just one block from downtown and still retains many of its original features. Originally a church where Martin Luther King Jr preached, it was converted into a restaurant and now serves as a function facility for all occasions. It also contains two residential apartments.
The Pearl, which listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features magnificent stained glass windows, an elegant curved staircase and balcony, ornate 26’ ceiling, classical columns, wooden floors, and a commercial kitchen.
This is a unique opportunity to own one of Portsmouth’s most important landmarks.
Zoned: Mixed Residential/Office
Taxes 2012: $7,886.96
Contact Jody Skaff,The Kane Company, 603.559.9625/603.767.8392
Information provided by The Kane Company
Portsmouth is fortunate to be home to many prominent historical buildings. The Pearl, along with the Moffatt Ladd House, Governor John Langdon House, John Paul Jones House, Strawbery Banke and many other notable properties, is one such site of interest. On the National Register of Historic Places, The Pearl is of particular significance due to its unique history.
Originally built in 1851 by the Freewill Baptist Congregation, the church was enlarged in 1868 with the addition of an entry bay and steeple. In 1915, African American members of the Seaman’s aid society purchased the structure to be used as the People’s Baptist Church, the first and only congregation in New Hampshire dedicated to the African American community. The church had an active congregation for 125 years and was the center of black cultural life in the area. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached here while a divinity student at Boston University. The building is now on the Black Heritage Trail and is the only historic African American church structure in New Hampshire .
In 1984, the church was converted to an upscale restaurant for several years then became a popular venue for weddings. In 2003, with the help of a grant from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, over $400,000 in major renovations were completed. The current owners purchased the property in 2005 and made additional upgrades and improvements for their current business, a function facility.
The Pearl retains many of its original features which are protected by apreservation easement held by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The features include a 26’ high original tin ceiling, historic pillars, curved balustrade, balcony and two story stained glass windows with Romanesque style trim, each depicting a different biblical symbol.
The 40’ wide x 60’ long wood frame building sits on a .08 acre lot at the corner of Pearl Street and Hanover Street just a block from downtown Portsmouth NH. The lower level and main level are each 2,400 square feet and the mezzanine is 800 square feet. There are four entrances into the building plus a driveway for off street parking. The eve height is 28’ while the peak height is 45’. The belfry extends from its base 24’ through the roof. The existing spire extends another 12’ upwards.
The Pearl, originally constructed as a church in 1851, retains many of its distinctive features: the 11 two-story windows with Romanesque style trim topped with stained glass depicting a biblical symbol, two 4’ wide curved sidewinder staircases that lead to the main floor; a smaller sidewinder staircase leading to the balcony with decorative wrought iron balusters and curved railing and two large columns with pressed tin ceiling (c. 1915).
Recent renovations include new lighting and ceiling fans on dimmer switches, a second staircase leading to the mezzanine over the existing service staircase, two new restrooms on the mezzanine level and a new floating hardwood floor. The mezzanine is bordered by a tall white railing with wrought iron balusters. This area can seat 50 or more.
The building is fully air conditioned and has an updated sprinkler system. The total capacity of the building is 200, 153 seated. There are five restrooms, two of which are handicapped accessible.
The main room is flanked by paneled wood trim with pale olive trim and buckwheat colored walls. The ceiling and pillars are seashell white setting off the original dark brown wood trim. New carpeting covers 2/3 of the main floor.
The 20’ x 16’ kitchen installed in 2010 has vinyl walls and an epoxy coated floor. The appliances are commercial grade including upright freezer and refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and convection oven, hood and exhaust system. There is also a mop sink, three-bay sink and vegetable sink. All equipment is commercial grade and energy star rated. The kitchen is fully inspected and licensed.
Two one-bedroom apartments occupy 2/3 of the lower level. Both are carpeted and have full bathrooms. The living rooms are 20’ x 16’ and the bedrooms 20’ x 14’ plus closet space. A washer/dryer is available for use by the tenants and the business. Each apartment has a separate forced hot air independently controlled heating element.
The building is serviced by gas. The main hall has a separate baseboard/forced hot air two zone heating system (upper and lower). The office area has a separate temperature control. The hot water tank holds 80 gallons. The main hall has two air conditioning units to control the temperature installed in 2007. The building was fully insulated in 2007. Municipal water and sewer service this property.
The property is zoned MRO, Mixed Residential Office, and is currently used as a function facility by the owners.
Mixed Results for Preservation at Early Town Meetings
March 13, 2013 Preservation projects in Dunbarton, Hillsborough and Wolfeboro secured incremental funding to preserve historic buildings in an early round of town meetings this week. Dunbarton’s Town Hall will get $25,000, Hillsborough’s Smith Mansion will receive $175,000, and Wolfeboro’s Libby Museum and town hall will both benefit from additional preservation-related investments.
Not all communities were as fortunate. Candia voters rejected a request for $163,500 to renovate the vacant Smyth Building (the former town library) and Kingston citizens opted for demolition of the Grace Daley House rather than vote for $150,000 to renovate it. Funding of $101,000 for renovations to the Searles School and Chapel in Windham also failed.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment to date was in Washington, NH, where a $1.5 million bond for the rehabilitation of the Meetinghouse/Town Hall failed by just seven votes. The funding was to be contingent upon an additional $500,000 to be raised by separate fundraising efforts. Advocates will try again, according to volunteer Carolyn Russell.
Other successes for preservation came without high price tags. Windham endorsed a full re-write of their Demolition Review Ordinance with special attention to be paid to historic buildings. Kingston voters approved the creation of a Heritage Commission. The town of Orford will be the owners (again) of the former town hall in Orfordville, provided the Historical Society raises and donates the funds for acquisition. Kensington voters roundly endorsed spending $10,000 to investigate environmental conditions in the Old Town hall and rejected the Selectmen’s preference to buy land for a new town building elsewhere. And in the small North Country town of Columbia, there will now be funds to paint the historic town hall and repair its windows.
”The NH Preservation Alliance had worked with many of these communities,” said Maggie Stier, field service representative for Alliance. “We are thrilled with the positive reception that voters gave to many of these preservation projects, and we congratulate advocates for all their hard work, whether their efforts paid off this year or not.
“Sometimes it takes several years before voters are ready to endorse a project, and sometimes the additional time provides a chance to restructure plans so that, ultimately, voters respond to the benefits of saving an important historic building that is a valuable town asset,” she said.
The Preservation Alliance works to increase understanding of historic preservation’s economic benefits, provide access to necessary resources, and promote the benefits of maintaining community connections to special places.
If you have other town meeting news to share, contact Maggie Stier at email@example.com.
Small Theaters Struggle to Survive
Close your eyes and envision a downtown or town center that you want to visit and it likely includes an old movie theater with an iconic marquee. New Hampshire has its share of theater success stories – large and small theaters adapting to changing market demands. The state also has had its share of significant losses as well as theaters with uncertain futures, such as the Colonial Theater in Laconia (Seven to Save, 2010) and the Ioka Theater in Exeter (Seven to Save, 2012).
New Hampshire’s movie theater development followed national trends, with vaudeville venues supplanted by movie palaces in the first decades of the 20th century and drive-ins sprouting up after the proliferation of the automobile. Over the last two generations, both big movie palaces and old-time downtown single-screen theaters have had their share of challenges. With only one screen, they had difficulty securing films from distributors who demanded longer runs. Suburban multiplexes fit the evolving marketplace best. Today, audiences have access to alternatives—cable television, video rentals and an enormous library of instant online offerings. And now, operators must switch to from 35 mm film reels to digital projection, an expensive venture.
Successful theaters have found ways to meet current market demands with creative marketing, physical changes, and diversified income.
“From the very beginning, New Hampshire’s movie theatres served as centers for community activity” said Van McLeod, commissioner of the state Department of Cultural Resources. “As multiplexes have taken over the market for big-budget films, today’s historic theatres and newly opened art houses are successfully returning to that versatile model, creating community events through innovative programming like showing independent films and offering discussion events afterward, providing amazing venues for local performers or hosting Red Carpet celebrations and other special events.” The Jax Jr. in Littleton (c. 1920, rebuilt after fires in 1924 and 1951) now divided into two theaters, shows first-run movies and offers rentals for parties and special events. The Majestic in Conway and Rialto in Lancaster are both active movie houses and hosts of community activities.
Civic leaders and non-profit groups have stepped in, not only to help save and revive large theaters through major campaigns—as with the Capitol Theater in Concord (now the Capital Center for the Arts), the Palace in Manchester, the Music Hall in Portsmouth, and the Colonial theaters in Keene and Bethlehem—but also iconic small movie theaters. For example, the Exeter Theater Company has launched a bold capital campaign to raise $4.6 million to purchase, renovate, and open the 1915 Ioka Theater in downtown Exeter to create an art house theater that provides a diversified mix of live music, theater, film, multi-media, dance, and community events.
The group has an option to purchase the building from its current owner, Kensington Exeter, LLC by March 31 for $600,000. The building’s needs include structural repairs, a new roof, modern safety systems (including sprinklers), a new staircase, screen, curtains, seats, sound, and digital projection systems.
Working mixed (!) list of active large and small theaters, performing arts and movies:
Capital Center for the Arts, Concord, www.ccanh.org
Colonial Theater, Bethlehem, www.bethlehemcolonial.org
Colonial Theater, Keene, www.thecolonial.org
Jax Jr., Littleton, www.jaxjrcinemas.com
Majestic Theater, Conway, www.hometowntheater.org
Music Hall, Portmouth, www.themusichall.org
Palace Theater, Manchester, www.palacetheater.org
Rialto Theater, Lancaster, www.lancasterrialto.com
Rochester Opera House, www.rochesteroperahouse.com
Wilton Town Hall Theater, www.wiltontownhalltheater.org
Working (short; there are many more!) list of lost theaters:
Majestic Theater, Keene, built 1905, demolished 1937
Latchis Theater, Keene, built 1923, closed early 1980s, demolished 2012
Colonial Theater, Portsmouth, demolished 2005
State Theater, Manchester, built 1929
Bristol Theater, Bristol, built 1920s
Send your suggestions, additions and corrections to Virginia Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Also send along your ideas for favorite films that have preservation themes or the setting feels like a major character.
We'll post a list on-line during Preservation Month in May.
Use of Barn Tax Incentive Continues to Rise
Eighty-six towns and cities in New Hampshire are now using the state's tax incentive program to encourage historic barn preservation. According to data collected by the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration, by the close of 2012, 425 historic structures were enrolled in the program.
New municipalities which joined the ten-year-old program this past year showing their support for the preservation of historic barns in their communities are Easton, Jaffrey and New London.
The most notable increase took place in Henniker with 4 additional structures put under easement, jumping from 3 to 7. Peterborough continues to lead the state with the number of structure protected at 23, with Plainfield second at 18, and Cornish and Kensington tied for third at 17 each.
“We are encouraged that the use of the barn tax incentive program continues to grow,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. “People across the state, and their municipal leaders understand the significance of these historic structures and their importance in telling the story of N.H.’s agricultural past and the value these barns bring to the scenic landscape of their communities,” she said.
Modeled after the state's open space discretionary easement program, the barn tax incentive allows municipalities to grant property tax relief to barn owners who can demonstrate the public benefit of preserving their barns or other old farm buildings while agreeing to maintain their structures through a 10-year renewable easement. In return, the local board of selectmen or city council provides tax relief of 25% to 75% of the full assessed value of the building and the land underneath it. In addition, the assessment will not increase as a result of maintenance or repair work that is performed while the easement is in effect.
Carl Schmidt, chair of the N.H. Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee, welcomed the continued growth of the tax incentive program, noting that it is now being used in over a third of all towns and cities in the state. However, he also cautioned that, "this important tool is still under-utilized and I hope that more barn owners and municipalities embrace this opportunity to help save an essential part of our state’s character."
Barn owners interested in applying for the incentive to become effective in the coming tax year need to apply by April 15, 2013. Also of note is that easements that went into effect the first year of the program (2003) for a ten-year term will expire on March 31, 2013. Property taxes on the relevant structures may then increase unless the easements are renewed. Applications for renewal, like new applications, must be submitted to your local Selectboard on N.H. DRA form PA-36-A no later than April 15, 2013.
Applications can be obtained from your town office or download an information packet with application from the Alliance’s web-site www.nhpreservation.org or call 603-224-2281. Applications are also available at http://www.revenue.nh.gov/munc_prop/forms/documents/pa-36A.pdf
Additional features of the comprehensive barn preservation initiative directed by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, the state Division of Historical Resources and other members of the Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee include technical assistance, a voluntary survey program, an information network, and educational programs and publications.
The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the state's nonprofit membership organization committed to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy.
The New Hampshire Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee was established by state legislation in 1999 to support the preservation of N.H.’s historic barns and agricultural structures. The committee is comprised of representatives from state agencies, non-profit organizations and agricultural leaders.
New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. Historical and archaeological resources are among the most important environmental assets of the state. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens.
Page 1 of 6«StartPrev123456NextEnd»