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Seven to Save List from Preservation Alliance Highlights Pandemic-related Challenges, Connections Between Art and Economic Vitality

CONCORD, N.H.: The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance announced its 2021 Seven to Save list today, highlighting vulnerable historic resources and related threats to community life and economic well-being exaggerated by the pandemic.  

 

These places are both highly visible landmarks and lesser-known significant places. “These properties seem very different from each other,” said Nicholas Mitchell, chair of the N.H. Preservation Alliance board of directors, “but every one of these landmarks is an icon of life in New Hampshire at different times in our history,” he said. 

 

Preservation Alliance leaders emphasized that New Hampshire’s small towns and historic buildings give our state its distinctive and appealing character.  All of the listees need transformative investment to become viable community assets again. “We need these places to survive and thrive,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance.”The mix of old and new building stock, as well as the design and scale of historic main street buildings, attract varied ages and types of people, help incubate small businesses and create attachments to communities that boost economic vitality,” she said.

 

The 2021 Seven to Save list features these endangered historic structures and resources:

  • United Baptist Church, Laconia: A classic example of Victorian polychromatic design, this impressive wood-frame church in Lakeport remains largely unchanged since it was built in 1892. The church’s structural integrity is at risk and its 120-foot steeple requires stabilization.
  • The Weirs Drive-In and Archaeological Site, Laconia: This largest of three remaining drive-in theaters in New Hampshire is currently for sale, and it stands on land that was heavily used by indigenous people for fishing-related activities. 
  • Wilder-Holton House, Lancaster: Built in 1780, this was the first two-story house in Coös County. Now home to the local historical society, the structure stands at the head of Main Street. It needs considerable rehabilitation to be fully usable and continue to meet the needs of the community. 
  • Milford Bandstand: Built on the Oval in 1896 for the Milford Cornet Band’s summer concerts, this significant Victorian bandstand now requires extensive renovation to continue to serve future generations as a focal point for community gatherings and activities.
  • Newington Railroad Depot: Built in 1873 and unused for the last 50 years, this multi-use building stands at the edge of Little Bay and once housed the station agent and toll collector, who also operated the adjacent bridge. A new use and investment are needed.
  • Two Cornish Colony properties in transition share a spot on the list: Blow-Me-Down Farm and the Percy MacKaye Home: Opera North is renovating a part of Blow-Me-Down Farm for the arts, while descendants of writer Percy MacKaye are seeking new preservation/stewardship solutions for his home and studio. New Hampshire’s Connecticut Valley rolling hills, farms and beautiful vistas attracted artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people like MacKaye, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Maxfield Parrish who, in turn, left an artistic legacy with local and national importance. 
  • The Preservation Alliance also is featuring a thematic listing of New Hampshire’s Historic Theaters on this year’s list.  Many of these beloved community landmarks across the state were already struggling to maintain historic venues when the pandemic struck, adding new challenges.  Said Andrew Pinard, Executive Artistic Director of Claremont Opera House, “"NH's historic performing arts venues maintain a connection from the past to our future. They celebrate the human need to come together, to hear and tell stories, and to share experiences. The act of finding meaning through expression is at the core of their mission and celebrates not only who we are, but also who we might be."  Often the architectural gems of their communities, New Hampshire’s theaters have been placed on uncertain footing by the pandemic. “Revenue streams that were tenuous even in the best of times dried up as theaters went dark due to COVID; they are now only returning at a trickle” said Byron Champlin, former trustee of the New England Foundation for the Arts.  “Community-wide support is critical to save these cornerstones of our vibrant downtowns.”

 

The Seven to Save announcement event was held virtually this year because of the pandemic. Past announcement locations have included significant, once-threatened sites like Daniel Webster Farm in Franklin and the Wolfeboro Town Hall.

UnitedBaptistChurchLakeport

Since 2006, the Preservation Alliance's annual Seven to Save list has helped attract attention and resources to irreplaceable landmarks around the state. More than half are now considered out of danger or saved. Many owners and advocates for the former listees used the designation to help develop new solutions and secure new investments. Many places are in the process of rehabilitation, while others continue to need significant additional help. A few have been lost.  Criteria for selection include: historical significance, imminence of threat, and potential impact of listing a site.  

 

Sponsors of the program include:  Anagnost Companies, Chinburg Properties and Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc. Also Great Bridge Properties; JLT Painting; Turnstone Corporation; American Steeple & Tower Co., Inc.; SMP Architecture; Dennis Mires, P.A., The Architects;  Ciborowski Associates; Fisher Engineering; JR Graton Historic Restoration, LLC; Misiaszek Turpin, PLLC; Peter W. Powell Real Estate; Graham & Veroff; P.C. Summit Engineering; Yeaton Associates, Inc.; Ambit Engineering, Inc.; DB Architects, LLC; Altus Engineering, Inc.; Erie Landmark Co.; Emanual Engineering, Inc.; Alba Architects, LLP; Enviro-Tote, Inc.; Arch Weathers Historic SashWorks, LLC; Udelsman Associates Hamblet Electric; Samyn-D’Elia Architects; Abatron, Inc.; and Nobis Engineering, Inc.

 

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

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