Use of Barn Tax Incentive Continues to Grow

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Eighty-eight 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 2014, 480 historic structures were enrolled in the program. RSA 79D authorizes towns and cities to grant property tax relief to barn owners who can demonstrate the public benefit of preserving their barn or other older farm buildings, and agree to maintain them throughout a minimum 10-year preservation easement.  Check here for more information on how to participate in the program. Click here and here for recent profiles from the Concord Monitor.

Randolph was the newest municipality to join the program. Meredith and Rumney joined the previous year.  Peterborough continues to lead the state with the number of structure protected at 23, with Deerfield and Plainfield tied for second at 18, and Cornish and Kensington tied for third at 17 each. Hopkinton, Concord, Fitzwilliam, Orford, Alton, Loudon, Lyme, New Boston and Sandwich all have ten or more structures aided and protected.

“We are encouraged that the use of the barn tax incentive program continues to grow,” said Beverly Thomas, Program Director, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. “People across the state and their municipal leaders understand the significance of these historic structures, the opportunities to continue to use them in creative ways, 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 selectboard 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, is encouraged by the continued growth of the program but also noted 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."  He commented that municipalities with strong barn preservation advocates or an active heritage commission or other group that helps guide selectboards or city councils make a big difference in the use of this tool.

 Barn owners interested in applying for the incentive to become effective in the coming tax year need to apply by April 15, 2015. Also of note is that easements that went into effect in the third year of the program (2005) for a ten-year term will expire on March 31, 2015. 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, 2015.

Applications can be obtained from your town office or download an information packet with application from the Alliance’s web-site or call 603-224-2281. Applications are also available at

Additional features of the comprehensive barn preservation initiative directed by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources and the Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee include barn assessment grants, publications, tours and workshops, an information network, and a voluntary survey program. 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.

Interested in a Road Map to Repair or Restore Your Old Barn?

 The N.H. Preservation Alliance provides competitive assessment grants for a barn preservation expert to comprehensively assess barns’ needs and issue an in-depth report.  Over 100 barn owners across New Hampshire have used these reports to address immediate stabilization and repair needs and general care and up-keep as well as tackle re-use strategies, budgeting and long-tem revitalization plans.

 The matching grants are available on a rolling basis.  Check or contact Beverly Thomas at the Preservation Alliance at (603) 224-2281 or



Many Preservationist Make Achievement List

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It’s not surprising, but still inspiring, to see the number and variety of preservationists who made the New Hampshire Humanities Council’s list of 40 New Hampshirites who have “enriched our human understanding and whose original works and passion for excellence have put New Hampshire on the cultural map.” 

People in the business who have gone “above and beyond” such as James Garvin, Byron Champlin and Van McLeod. Wonderful writers who have built awareness of New Hampshire’s special places and traditions including Donald Hall, Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and Howard Mansfield.  Steve Taylor and John Harrigan and others who connect our history, lands and buildings together and communicate those ideas in inspirational ways.  And local leaders who have changed how we think about history and dramatically improved local places like Valerie Cunningham, Jerri Ann Boggs, and Jim and Judy Putnam.

Descriptions of these wonderful folks at We're sure you can think of others! Congratulations and thank you to all 40, and happy 40th anniversary to the N.H. Humanities Council.


Concerned about Northern Pass’s impact on historic places?

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The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, wants to protect irreplaceable historic resources and help concerned citizens engage in the important and complex process of reviewing the proposed Northern Pass’s impacts on historic places and cultural landscapes.  

On October 7, the National Trust named the historic, scenic landscapes of New Hampshire a "National Treasure." More here.  To date, residents, organizations, businesses and others have expressed concerns about specific buildings, village or town settings, and views from hiking trails and scenic roads as well as the project developer's methodologies.   

Here’s what you can do:

  • Write or call the NH Preservation Alliance and let us know what historic resources you are concerned about.  This will help us and our partners, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, better advocate for historic preservation in the review process. Address your email to Maggie Stier, or call 603-224-2281
  • Your voice matters! Attend a hearing on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) later this year and comment on the historic resources part of the document. The lead federal agency, the Department of Energy, has postponed October hearings on the EIS as the project proponents are adding their newest preferred alternative to the analysis before releasing it to the public. 
  • Donate to support our work on this issue.

The Preservation Alliance and National Trust are also very involved in the project's Section 106 process and rule-making for the SEC. Let us know if we can help you advocate for special places in New Hampshire that we can’t imagine our communities without.

Questions? Contact Maggie Stier, or call 603-224-2281



New Seven to Save to be Announced October 21!

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Please join us at the N.H. Preservation Alliance’s 2015 Seven to Save Announcement on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5:15 – 6:45 p.m. announcement, brief annual meeting and reception in the atrium of the former Eagle Hotel Stable, 7 Eagle Square, Concord, N.H.  The Seven to Save program is now in its tenth year, with nearly half of the previously listed sites now considered saved. 

 Before the announcement, visit one or more of the past Seven to Save listings in the Concord area. Open Houses are from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Concord Gas Holder, Kimball-Jenkins Estate, and the old Boscawen Public Library.

 Register by calling (603) 224-2281 or email Directions and additional information will be sent with confirmation. Event is free but please make a donation to help the Preservation Alliance save endangered places.

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Our generous Seven to Save program sponsors to date include: Christopher P. Williams Architects, PLLCIan Blackman LLC Restoration and PreservationIrish Electric Corp.Norton Asset ManagementDennis Mires, P.A. The ArchitectsIron Horse Standing Seam RoofingHEB Engineers, Inc., CMK Architects P.A., and Meridian Construction.

 About Seven to Save:

 The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance created Seven to Save in 2006 to focus attention and resources on significant historic properties in New Hampshire that are threatened by neglect, deterioration, insufficient funds, inappropriate development, and/or insensitive public policy.  “We see the Seven to Save program as a positive way to encourage new investment in historic buildings,” said Maggie Stier, field service representative and coordinator of Seven to Save for the NH Preservation Alliance. “Obstacles to the continuing or new use of many of these landmarks can frequently be overcome through creative planning, new investment, and the hard work of local advocates.”  

Examples of successful Seven to Save outcomes include the town halls in Kensington, Middleton and Wolfeboro, Pandora Mill in Manchester, the Langdon Meetinghouse, and the Great Stone Dwelling at Enfield Shaker Museum. It often takes several years to make significant progress toward preservation. Properties from recent years whose future is still uncertain include the Farley Building in Hollis, the 70-meter ski jump at Gunstock Mountain Resort, and the Gas Holder in Concord. 

 “Seven to Save is a program with both short and long-term goals,” said Jennifer Goodman, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We want to build awareness of the many benefits of preservation throughout our state, and we want to work with owners and advocates to provide specific targeted assistance to help them succeed.”

Historic resources are eligible for the program if they are over 50 years old and are significant representations of the state's heritage. Besides historical or architectural significance, criteria forSeven to Save also include severity of the current threat to the property and the extent to which the listing will make a difference in preserving or protecting it. 

Check out last year's Seven to Save listees here!

Previous lists:

2013 Seven to Save list

2012 Seven to Save list

2011 Seven to Save list

2010 Seven to Save list

2009 Seven to Save list

2008 Seven to Save list

2007 Seven to Save list

2006 Seven to Save list 

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through education, resources and advocacy. For more information, visit


14 Projects Receive Preservation Achievement Awards

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On May 12, fourteen projects across the Granite State were recognized for outstanding achievement in preservation by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance at its annual announcement ceremony in Concord. The awards recognize individuals, organizations and corporations for projects in the categories of restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship. It is the Alliance’s 26th year of honoring preservation achievement. Scroll down for photos of winning projects and full list.


Clockwise from upper left: crew at Fabyan Guard Station in Carroll; Developer John Stabile with resident at the new Apartments at Cotton Mill, Nashua; project leaders for the restoration of fences at Sunnyside Cemetery, Sugar Hill; and property owner Jean Goehlin at the restored Franconia Iron Furnace.

This year’s awards showcase tenacious developers whose projects contribute greatly to the social and economic health of communities: Gregory and Rita Cloutier rescued two prominent Main Street buildings in Lancaster, and the building’s new and proposed uses are adding to the vibrancy of downtown. Gordon Bult acquired a property on the edge of the state office complex in Concord preventing its demolition, and returned it to the tax rolls and use by a family. Binnie Media’s repurposing of a former elementary school has brought new tax revenue and 40 jobs to Concord and created a broadcast center for the state capital. 

Senior Living at Notre Dame Limited Partnership/Affordable Housing, Education and Development (AHEAD) Inc. made an investment of over $8 million in a former Catholic school in Berlin for housing, and kept $5 million of goods and services circulating within a 60-mile radius of the city.  An old cotton storehouse in Nashua was adapted to workforce and market rate housing in a nearly $26 million redevelopment by The Stabile Companies. Nashua’s economic development director Thomas F. Galligani, Jr. praised this ambitious project as a tremendous catalyst for change, that dramatically transformed a vacant industrial relic into an urban neighborhood teaming with vitality.  “This trend of  ‘vacancies to vitality’ extends beyond the building and spills into downtown as residents discover the eateries, shops other businesses within Nashua’s historic core,” he said.

Awards also went to several municipalities for their outstanding commitment to special places: Amherst rehabilitated their Town Hall’s failing roof; Sugar Hill restored deteriorated cast iron fencing in a prominent cemetery; Campton rehabilitated  a 300-foot long covered bridge, increasing its load limit for emergency vehicles; the City of Manchester and the Manchester School District restored and restarted the Hallsville Elementary School’s tower clock that had been silent for three decades; the Belmont Heritage Commission restored their Victorian bandstand; and Nelson revived their town hall, an iconic contra dance venue.

New Hampshire’s diverse history and tradition of strong stewardship is evident in these award-winning projects. “We are so fortunate to live in a state with very special places, and smart, generous people who step up to steward and creatively re-use them,” said the Preservation Alliance’s Executive Director Jennifer Goodman.   Projects recognized for exemplary stewardship include the restoration of a rare 19th century stone stack from the iron industry in Franconia, an early log cabin in the White Mountain National Forest, and the N.H. Farm Museum’s connected farm and barn structure in Milton.  


Clockwise from upper left: celebration for the rehabilitation of the Notre Dame School in Berlin; Belmont Heritage Commission members with contractors for the Belmont Bandstand revitlization; the rehabilitated Walker School for Binnie Media/NH1 in Concord; Morris dancers in front of the Nelston Town Hall during rehabiliation; the newly-rehabiliated Sleeper House in Concord.

“We welcome this opportunity to recognize outstanding projects and people, and offer inspiration to others,” said Goodman.

Many of New Hampshire’s traditional craftsmen worked on these projects. Arnold Graton helped the Town of Campton rehabilitate the Blair Covered Bridge; he had worked previously on the bridge in the 1970s with his father Milton Graton. Arnold’s son JR Graton worked on another award-winning project, uncovering original details and repairing the ornate Belmont Bandstand.

Kathy Bogle Shields, chairman of the Alliance’s board of directors and a host of the event, noted the tenacity of the private developers and community advocates as well as the importance of investment by the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, N.H. Housing Finance Authority, N.H. Community Development Finance Authority, and the conservation and heritage license plate grant program in several of the projects.

The full list of projects, recognized geographically from north to south, are:

  • Gregory and Rita Cloutier for the revitalization the 73-77 Main Street, Lancaster
  • Senior Living at Notre Dame Limited Partnership/Affordable Housing, Education and Development (AHEAD) Inc. for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of Notre Dame High School/George E. Burgess School
  • Town of Sugar Hill for the restoration of Sunnyside Cemetery fences
  • Jean Goehlen for the rehabilitation and stewardship of the Franconia Iron Furnace
  • U.S. Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest for the restoration of Fabyan Guard Station, Carroll
  • Town of Campton for the rehabilitation of the Blair Covered Bridge
  • New Hampshire Farm Museum for the stewardship of The Jones Farm, Milton
  • Belmont Heritage Commission for the restoration and rehabilitation of the Belmont Village Bandstand
  • City of Manchester and the Manchester School District for the restoration of Hallsville School Clock and Tower
  • Town of Amherst for the rehabilitation of Amherst Town Hall
  • Gordon Bult for stewardship of Joseph T. Sleeper House, Concord
  • Binnie Media/NH1 the rehabilitation and adaptive use of Walker School
  • Town of Nelson for the revitalization of the Nelson Town Hall
  • The Stabile Companies/Cotton Mill Square LLC for the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the North Cotton Storehouse, Nashua


Clockwise from upper left: stewardship at the N.H. Farm Museum in Milton, the restored Hallsville Elementary School clock in Manchester; rehabiliated Amherst Town Hall; newly-rehabiliated 73-77 Main Street in Lancaster.


This year’s award program is sponsored by Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green, Eames Partnership, EnviroVantage, Mascoma Savings Bank, Merrimack County Savings Bank, Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc., Dakota Properties, Inc., Harvey Construction, Hutter Construction, North Branch Construction, Sheerr McCrystal Palson Architecture, Inc., Samyn-D’Elia Architects, P.A. and Turnstone Corporation.

 The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization that strengthens communities and stimulates local economies by encouraging the protection and revival of historic buildings and places.

More on individual winners available by calling or emailing the Alliance at



New Hampshire Community Mourns Loss, Celebrates Legacy, of Jeff Taylor

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Friends and colleagues are mourning the death of Jeffrey Taylor, extending condolences to his wife Dijit Taylor and family, and celebrating his many accomplishments. Taylor died April 7. He was an accomplished planner and civic leader for four decades. He was instrumental in the development of the Preservation Alliance's strength, served on the board of directors in the mid and late-1990s and was a go-to person for preservation challenges throughout his career.

Click here for an obituary offering wonderful examples of his interests and accomplishments.

The Preservation Alliance has been honoring preservation achievement for over 25 years, and only a few people have received individual honors. Here are excerpts from the messages honoring Jeff with one of those rare awards in 2003:

"We believe that Jeff – for good reason – has been at more ribbon cuttings for buildings that almost didn’t make it than any other person in New Hampshire..."

"His persistence and creativity were essential ingredients in the resuscitation of the Eagle Block in Newport, Wentworth-by-the-Sea in New Castle, the Belmont Mill and the Mountain View Hotel in Whitefield.  He has been consistently supportive in very tangible ways of projects that use or adapt our historic structures.  As state planning director for 13 years and as an officer and board member of Plan NH and the Preservation Alliance, he also focused on the "infra-structure" of preservation, sponsoring major initiatives on smart-codes, zoning and sprawl.  He understands that preservation is a major economic development tool, one particularly suited to New Hampshire, and he has the tenacity and imagination to apply that tool in creative ways." 



Preservation Alliance Offers New “Road Map” for Creating Neighborhood Heritage Districts or Areas

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 Interested in learning more about a new zoning tool that helps protect the distinctive and valued historic character of an area? The Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce the availability of new materials about  Neighborhood Heritage Districts through the NH Department of of Environmental Services website and its Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques Handbook.

Designed to help community leaders and planners understand the purpose and use of this new mechanism to protect local heritage and historic character, the chapter draws on the Alliance’s  work with Hooksett and Greenfield, the two towns that received support in 2012-14 from the N.H. Housing Finance Authority, to explore  creation of a Neighborhood Heritage District.  

 The Alliance has also posted other regulatory and voluntary ways to recognize, preserve, and protect historic resources on this web-site.  Interested in knowing what towns have adopted some of these strategies and what their ordinance contains?   Want more information on Neighborhood Heritage Districts?  Contact the N.H. Preservation Alliance’s Field Service Rep, Maggie Stier, at 603-224-2281 or

Generous support for the development of the Neighborhood Heritage District concept was provided by a HUD Community Planning Grant, the Badger Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation, the Pardoe Foundation and other donors.

 From the DES publication:

 Neighborhood Heritage Districts offer a more flexible alternative to local Historic Districts (as distinct from National Register Historic Districts).  Neighborhood Heritage Districts (NHD) differ in two primary ways:  1) they are administered by the Planning Board with assistance from an Advisory Committee (in contrast to a separate Historic District Commission), and 2) their primary purpose is to protect an area’s overall character rather than specific architectural features and details.  They are most often initiated at the grass roots level by a neighborhood association or group that can generate widespread support for such a measure and help assure its adoption.   Through a customized set of guidelines and standards, and a team approach of advisory committee and the municipal planning board, NHDs review and regulate proposed change in a limited range of circumstances—usually new construction, demolition, major additions, and removal or installation of major landscape features.   

 This land-use tool has been in use in other states since the early 1980s.  Elsewhere it is frequently called a Conservation District or Neighborhood Conservation District because the emphasis is less on preserving specific features and details of buildings and more on conserving the overarching characteristics of a neighborhood or area.  Resources in such a district do not have to be 50 years old or older, as is typical with traditional historic districts, but the designated area must convey some aspect of the community’s historical, architectural, or cultural heritage.  

 Goals in creating a Neighborhood Heritage District may include protection of rural character, encouraging compatible new investment, controlling demolition, stabilizing property values, limiting unsympathetic commercial encroachment, or maintaining traditional scale, form or uses.  NHDs are most often adopted as an overlay to existing traditional zoning. 

 In 2008, the N.H. Division of Historical Resources published Neighborhood Heritage Districts, A Handbook for New Hampshire Municipalities by Elizabeth Durfee Hengen and Carolyn Baldwin, Esq., describing an extensive collaborative planning process and setting forth the process to introduce and encourage use of this tool.  Subsequent efforts to create NHDs have relied heavily on that effort.



On-line Auction a Success!

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Thanks to everyone who bid in our on-line auction. And we appreciate all of our donors too! Thanks to you we met our goal, and auction proceeds will help underwrite our work with Seven to Save properties and old farms and barns. A great investment in New Hampshire!

We will be following up with all winners shortly. Hooray!



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