News

Be Inspired: Awards Event May 10

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Join the Preservation Alliance for a celebration that features small towns accomplishing enormous tasks, small business success stories, examples of exceptional community engagement and innovative preservation strategies.  The awards recognize individuals, organizations, or businesses in the categories of restoration and stewardship, rehabilitation, compatible new construction, public policy, and educational and planning initiatives across the state.   “We welcome this opportunity to recognize gret work and hopefully inspire others," said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance. The event is Tuesday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium. Register at projects@nhpreservation.org or 224-2281. The event is free.

It is the Alliance’s 27th year of honoring preservation achievement. In previous years, the Preservation Alliance has presented awards for PSNH’s and PC Connection’s renovations of historic buildings for corporate headquarters, the restoration of the Acworth Meetinghouse, Gorham Town Hall and the Gregg Free Library in Wilton, the rescue of Daniel Webster Farm in Franklin and the Wentworth-by-the-Sea hotel in New Castle, residential property revitalizations by NeighborWorks Greater Manchester, the re-use of the Plymouth Railroad Station, the proactive policies of the Lighthouse Kids, Gunstock Mountain Resort and Gunstock Mountain Historic Preservation Society, and the Troy, Moultonborough and Goffstown heritage commissions.

Generous program sponsors to date include Mt. View Grand and Sheehan Phinney as well as AECm, Christopher P. Williams Architects PLLC, Hutter Construction, Lyme Properties 2, LLC, Meridian Construction Company, Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc. and The Rowley Agency, Inc.

 

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance supports and encourages the revitalization and protection of historic buildings and places which strengthens communities and local economies.

Current priorities include providing assistance to community leaders and promoting the use of easements, barn preservation and tax incentives.

 

 

Barn Preservation Incentive Use Rises

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Alstead, Boscawen and Chichester and Tuftonboro have joined a group of towns and cities using the state's tax incentive program to encourage historic barn preservation. RSA 79-D 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.  According to data collected by the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration, by the close of 2015, 90 communities and over 500 historic structures were enrolled in the program for an over 5% increase since last year.  Deerfield and Freedom lead the state with the number of structures protected at 19 each.  Plainfield has 18, and Cornish and Kensington tied for third at 17 each. Alton, Concord, Fitzwilliam, Henniker, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lee, Loudon, Lyme, New Boston, Orford, Sandwich and Weare 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 opportuneties 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 minimum of 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.

April 15 is the annnual deadline for new applications as well as renewals. 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 www.revenue.nh.gov/forms/2010/documents/pa-36a.pdf.

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 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 Trends, Old Friends at Expo

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Understanding repair and restoration techniques and being inspired by local craftsmen were top priorities for the over 3,000 people that attended the N.H. Preservation Alliance’s Old House & Barn Expo in Manchester in mid-March. Attendees also sought strategies to improve energy efficiency and manage moisture and foundation issues in old homes and barns. If you'd like a copy of the Show Guide, which features Expo exhibitors, email projects@nhpreservation.org.

Preservation Alliance board member and Expo sponsor Sue Booth of Vintage Kitchens noticed a new wave of young, old house owners at this year’s show. Young people are finding good financial and social values in older homes, she said. Steve Bedard of Bedard Restoration and Preservation, another Expo sponsor, is enthusiastic about the trend and noted that young people are understanding that old house living is healthy for residents (less breakdown of synthetic materials) and the environment (smaller carbon footprint). With the boomerang generation to accommodate, old houses provide lots of space and flexibility. Old buildings also can be divided up, offering “micro” home possibilities.

Other New Hampshire Preservation Alliance representatives were very pleased to see expanding interest in traditional arts like timber framing, wood turning, weaving and rug hooking and the large number of new attendees. “It’s reassuring and inspiring to see growing commitment in this era of rapidly growing technology and uncertain futures,” said Beverly Thomas, program director of the N.H. Preservation Alliance. “Older and younger people seem drawn to these beautiful and practical items that use local materials.” She added that people’s desire for practical solutions, interest in “going local,” and affection for special places like summer camps, meetinghouses and old farms, is rising and fueling growth in the preservation movement.

Attendees visited exhibits and attended the lectures on topics such as how to fix a stone foundation or repair drafty old windows, historic garden styles, and what to do to repair an old chimney. Attendees often brought in photos and plans, and were able to talk through their problems with over 100 experts.

The Old House & Barn Expo is held every other year; the next expo will be in the spring of 2018.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy. Owners of old properties and leaders of community preservation projects give high marks for Alliance resources, workshops, awards program, Seven to Save endangered list, and behind-the-scenes tours of historic properties. The Preservation Alliance works year-round helping community groups advance local preservation projects, promoting funding for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, old house and barn preservation, and the use of easements are its current priorities. For more information, contact the Alliance at (603) 224-2281 or www.nhpreservation.org.

Generous event sponsors are Bedard Preservation & Restoration, Ian Blackman, LLC Restoration and Preservation, First Period Colonial Preservation and Restoration, the N.H. State Council on the Arts, N.H. Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, First Period Colonial, Vintage Kitchens, Ahlgren and Son Builders, Arnold M. Graton Associates, Fifield Building Restoration & Relocation, LLC, Innerglass Window Systems, Preservation Timber Framing, ReVision Energy, Rumford Stone, Swenson Granite Works, Antique Homes Magazine, Louis Karno & Company, N.H. Home, N.H. Public Television and WMUR-TV.

 

Wins and Losses at Town Meeting

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There was alot of good news for preservation projects at this season's Town Meeting, and some disappointments.

The Sullivan County town of Acworth, which has already restored a number of its historic structures, voted $5000 to match an LCHIP grant of an equal amount for the repair of the historic Horse Sheds behind the meetinghouse. What helped tip the scales is that one bay of the horse sheds will be enclosed to provide a secure home in which to display the town-owned historic hearse.

The town of Belmont defeated a proposal to raze the historic Gale School and approved an advisory non-binding motion which authorized the school district to transfer the building to the Save Our Gale School Committee, and pursue a plan to relocate it to school district property at Concord Street and Memorial Drive in Belmont.

The town of Enfield voted to convey the religious burial ground known as the Shaker Cemetery to the Enfield Shaker Museum. The Shaker cemetery is one of very few in the country with its original headstones still in place, and had been given to Town when the Shakers closed their community in 1923. The Museum is looking forward to having a survey done of the property to determine the exact bounds of the cemetery and to developing new interpretive materials about the site for visitors.

In the Lakes Region, Wolfeboro voted to create a Heritage Commission and also adopted RSA 79-E, the community revitalization tax incentive. They are the twenty-ninth town in the state to approve of the use of this preservation incentive, and are hoping that the new owners of the Pickering House (Seven to Save 2015) will be the first to make use of the tax credits.

The Stratham Heritage Commission’s hard work to protect the historic Lane Homestead (Seven to Save 2015) as it transitions to a new owner paid off in a vote to set up a $250,000 Heritage Preservation Fund, a capital reserve fund designated for "preserving historical properties and cultural resources." This would provide the matching funds for a recent LCHIP grant that would support a planned preservation easement on the Lane property.

Elsewhere in the seacoast, Hampton voters defeated a proposal to spend $ 25 million for renovation of the historic Hampton Academy (1939). In Rye, where renovation of the town hall was also on the ballot last year, additional choices were offered to voters this year. The purchase of nearby land for future use was defeated, raising $60,000 to continue studying options for Town Hall was defeated, and a petition to see if the town would vote to consider alternative town office designs was also defeated by a narrow margin. The one article that passed was a petitioned one to support options for the Town Hall that would include saving the historic building, which received Seven to Save designation last October.

Several articles regarding the renovation of the vacant Bradford Town Hall (Seven to Save 2014) went down to close defeat. A request for $1.3 million to provide a “completely operational first floor for town offices and meeting rooms, and a second floor that meets building code standards for assembly occupancy” would have been offset by $325,000 to be raised by donations and grants, but it failed by a very narrow margin. Another article requested $95,000 for a Town Hall Repair and Restoration Fund, but it too went down to defeat.

The Preservation Alliance would like to know results of historic preservation voting in your town. We know that a few places have yet to hold their town meetings, so please share your results with us as they become available. Contact Maggie Stier at ms@nhpreservation.org or 603-224-2281.

 

Lessons from Downton Abbey

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The Preservation Alliance staff enjoyed season 6 of Downton Abbey, both as a period romance and for the on-going drama of running such a huge house and grand estate.   Yes, there are “lessons to be learned” for our own day to day historic preservation activity:

Big, old houses can feel like a lot of work and expense.   At the auction of a neighboring estate, the Crawleys are warned “Don’t wait till it’s too late for you.”  We are rooting for the Crawley family and the downstairs staff amidst changing economic conditions.  The good news is we bet your house isn’t as expensive to run as Downton Abbey.  Keep up with maintenance or big projects by developing phased projects; the Preservation Alliance has referrals and information to help.

Preservation maintains the old but accepts the new.   Historic preservation activity is all about celebrating the history of a place, and innovations that will keep a building in use for future generations are encouraged!   If the Crawleys asked for our help to explore ways to sustain Downton, we’d share lots of ideas and examples that might be a match for their goals and situation.  Shared uses, new business models, tools like easements and tax incentives are possible aids when a landmark structure needs a boost to remain or regain viability.

Preservation activity supports local jobs.  In the first episode of the third season, Crawley family members speak of the importance of their role as employer, how maintaining their estate is critical to the lives of so many people.  Hiring an energy auditor, window repairer, painter or someone to fix the sills in your barn is good for your old house and it’s good for your local economy, keeping more money in local circulation than new construction. (Our Directory is a good place to start.)

Give us a call 224-2281 or email admin@nhpreservation.org  if we can help!

 

Celebrate Preservation Awards May 10

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To honor outstanding work in its field, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance will honor outstanding preservation leaders and projects in a ceremony on May 10, 2016 at the Concord City Auditorium. The event runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

 We welcome this opportunity to recognize outstanding projects and people while inspiring others,” said the Preservation Alliance’s Executive Director Jennifer Goodman. 

In previous years, the Preservation Alliance has presented awards for PC Connection and Binnie Media’s renovations of historic buildings for corporate headquarters, the restoration of the Acworth Meetinghouse, Gorham Town Hall and the Gregg Free Library in Wilton, the rescue of Daniel Webster Farm in Franklin and the Wentworth-by-the-Sea hotel in New Castle, residential property revitalizations by NeighborWorks Greater Manchester, the re-use of the Plymouth Railroad Station, the proactive policies of the Lighthouse Kids, Gunstock Mountain Resort and Gunstock Mountain Historic Preservation Society, and the Troy, Moultonborough and Goffstown heritage commissions.

Contact Goodman at 603-224-2281 or jg@nhpreservation.org with any questions or to make a reservation.

2016 program sponsors include CMK Architects, Dakota Properties, Inc., Hutter ConstructionLyme Properties 2, LLCMeridian Construction CorporationMountain View Grand, and Christopher P. Williams Architects PLLC.

Sponsors this past year were Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green, Eames Partnership, EnviroVantageMascoma Savings BankMerrimack County Savings BankMilestone Engineering & Construction, Inc.Dakota Properties, Inc.Harvey ConstructionHutter ConstructionNorth Branch ConstructionSheerr McCrystal Palson Architecture, Inc., Samyn-D’Elia Architects, P.A. and Turnstone Corporation.

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.

 

Lancaster Project Receives LCHIP support

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An effort to preserve Lancaster’s iconic, historic and highly-visible House of Seven Gables (1858; ca.1867) through the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement got a major boost today thanks to a grant from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).  More on the grant awards here.

Located at 129 Main Street, the house got its familiar name because of its distinctive gables that are visible from the south. The house’s first owner was a prominent lawyer, civic and business leader and his home represents an era of prosperity and growth for the county seat of Lancaster.  

The building is across the street from Centennial Park which is used for farmers’ markets, Fourth of July ceremonies and band concerts, and the Weeks Library (National Register).  Adjacent to the building are the small Cross Memorial Park and a small Greek Revival House (133 Main Street). Nearby on Main Street are several nineteenth century churches and a historic cemetery. 

North of 129 Main Street, several historic houses have been altered or demolished.  The most recent demolitions were two houses that were replaced by a Family Dollar store. Such demolitions have been a call to action for the community to protect its 19th century historic character and to meet the Town's Master Plan goal of preserving Main Street buildings.

A preservation easement is similar to a conservation easement, but it protects historic features instead of open space or natural resources.  A preservation easement for 129 Main Street will prohibit demolition and certain alterations while allowing current and future property owners to use and adapt the building over time.  The project team will be seeking community support to match the LCHIP grant and hope that this project will also spur efforts to preserve other Main Street buildings that are vulnerable to demolition or alteration.   Project representatives are in conversation with the new owners of 133 Main Street about the easement tool as well. This a small Greek Revival house is most notable for its association with its longest owner, Colonel Henry Kent (1834-1909), who was a lawyer, owner of the Coos Republican, businessman, banker, politician, historian, recruiter during the Civil War, and civic leader.

The project team includes Alliance staff and several volunteers including Tim More, a part-time Lancaster resident; long-time Lancaster businessman Peter Powell; and Lise Moran, a recent graduate of Plymouth State University’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and part-time Whitefield resident.

Peter Powell notes that the streetscape around 129 Main Street has changed little in the past 150 years: “The architecture, green spaces, parks, churches and period residential structures capture and proclaim the history, spirit and character of our town.  Lose any of them, and we lose an essential element of that character and spirit.  We would become a different place.  That character, our character, is now reflected in our desire to preserve what is important here, to protect these structures and this place in a vital and significant way.  We are thankful for the recognition and participation of LCHIP, the Preservation Alliance and community partners who join to make it possible.  We know this example will inspire others both within and outside of our own community, and we are excited and uplifted by this news from LCHIP.”

“The effort to preserve historical ambiance of Lancaster's Main Street through a preservation easement is an excellent addition to current other activities celebrating Lancaster's stories of people and places.  It is exciting to see LCHIP and others invest in preserving the region's heritage, ”  Linda Upham-Bornstein, Ph.D, Former board member, N.H. Preservation Alliance and Lancaster resident. [See more on another current preservation venture in Lancaster at http://lancasterproject.blogs.plymouth.edu/]

The Preservation Alliance holds preservation easements on several historic properties throughout the state and as helped local groups and conservation colleagues develop and execute this stewardship tool.  The Town of Stratham also received an LCHIP grant for a preservation easement; their target is the Samuel Lane Homestead which is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and currently for sale.

 

 

 

Thirty-two community projects receive LCHIP funding

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Concord, NH— On December 15, 2015 the N.H. Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) announced 32 grants to meet preservation and conservation needs in communities across the state.  Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanie Forrester spoke at the December 15 event to announce the news.  Praising the recipients for their effective efforts at conserving important land and preserving significant historic buildings, the Governor reiterated the importance of land conservation and historic preservation to the state’s economy, environment, and quality of life. A list of grants by region is here.  More on the program here.

LCHIP grant funding will help Historic New England’s Jackson House (1664) in Portsmouth, the oldest frame building in New Hampshire and Acworth’s horse sheds, one of only nine such structures remaining in the state. Once common, horse sheds provided a place to safely leave horses during church services and town meetings. 

This year’s LCHIP grants will also help permanently conserve more than 5,000 acres of ecologically important land, including farm and forest land, wildlife habitat, land protecting NH’s water quality and supplies, and land providing iconic views and diverse recreational opportunities from hunting and fishing, to hiking, biking, and snowmobiling. Many of the conservation project grant recipients spoke of their projects historic and cultural values.  

“Thanks to the support of governor and council, and both legislative branches, LCHIP is able to award significant monies to a number of projects this year,” stated Doug Cole of D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, Chair of the LCHIP Board of Directors.  “Thirteen natural resource projects will conserve lands that will help insure access to local food, clean water, and a wide variety of recreational opportunities—as well as preserving the scenic and rural character of our great state.  Nineteen historic buildings will be saved or revitalized because our New Hampshire state leaders have insured LCHIP funding remains available for its intended purpose.” Of the 19 preservation projects this round, the Preservation Alliance provided field services to nine, assessment grant to four and Seven to Save designation to four. Projects in Lancaster and Stratham include the Preservation Alliance as a project partner and preservation easement holder.

The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority that provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to protect and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural, and historic resources. Its legislatively mandated mission is to ensure the perpetual contribution of these resources to the economy, environment, and the quality of life in New Hampshire. Up until the current grant round, 341 LCHIP grants have helped 143 New Hampshire communities conserve more than 278,000 acres of land and 180 historic structures and sites. The $36 million of state money invested in these projects has leveraged more than $234 million in funds from other sources. LCHIP grants are supported by fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state. For more information about LCHIP visit lchip.org or call (603) 224-4113.

 

 

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