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N.H. Preservation Alliance Announces Twelve Preservation Achievement Awards

Concord, NH —Two outstanding leaders of the New Hampshire preservation movement, one educational initiative, and nine preservation projects were honored in the N.H. Preservation Alliance’s annual awards on May 7. The 2024 slate includes the demanding rescue and revival of rare and iconic properties, vital re-use of key community buildings by businesses, and robust stewardship over time of community assets and gathering places.

"It is important for us to have the opportunity to honor people who are making a difference across the state," said Jeanie Forrester, chairman of the Preservation Alliance board of directors. “This year’s slate reminds us of incredibly generous and talented leaders, the range of well-known and lesser-known special places around the state, and how critical this work is to maintaining the character of our communities and their economic vitality,” she said.  Award winners are:

Leadership awards:

Stephen Fifield

For outstanding leadership in craftsmanship, education and advocacy

Steve Fifield of Canterbury has brought his knowledge of historic construction methods and repairs, creativity, and great skill to the rehabilitation of scores of 18th and 19th century meetinghouses, churches, blacksmith shops, schoolhouses, barns, saw mills, and more. His good nature, generous spirit, and technical ability have made a lasting impact on both buildings and people.  

Phillip D’Avanza

For outstanding leadership in craftsmanship

For over 40 years, Philip D’Avanza has maintained, repaired, and upgraded tower clocks in over a hundred New Hampshire town halls, meetinghouses and mill buildings. His skilled craftsmanship is self-taught and reflects a deep commitment to preservation and history.

Education and planning award:

Town of Amherst Heritage Commission, “From Bookshelves to the Public” Project

For outstanding education and planning

The Amherst Heritage Commission, working with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and then-high school senior Taylor Hardner, created three custom map-centric apps to encourage the appreciation and preservation of Amherst’s rich heritage.

Rehabilitation and preservation awards:

Friends of Centennial Hall

For the rehabilitation of Centennial Hall, North Hampton

A complex, multi-phased rehabilitation by the Friends of Centennial Hall transformed a c. 1876 landmark into a beehive of community activity with a mix of tenants and both earned and contributed income supporting an exemplary preservation effort.  

Town of Ossipee

For the rehabilitation of the Whittier Covered Bridge, Ossipee

The Town of Ossipee, its citizens advisory group and its engineering and construction team executed a complex, three-phase plan over 14 years to restore and revive this rare single-span Paddleford truss design bridge.  Although the nearby hotel where poet John Greenleaf Whittier spent five summers is long gone, his memory remains strong in this picturesque setting.  

Enfield Shaker Museum

For the preservation of adjacent Shaker North Family and La Salette landscape and buildings

With great energy and vision, the Enfield Shaker Museum raised over $2 million from 344 donors in 24 states in only seven weeks for the purchase of 28 acres of adjacent Shaker lands and five historic Shaker buildings, most recently owned by the La Salette order.  

Re-use awards:

Susan Mathison

For the Rehabilitation and Reuse of the Lower Intervale Grange, Plymouth

Local resident Mathison and her team thoughtfully rehabilitated a deteriorated 1912 community landmark into a short-term rental that celebrates the original craftsmanship of the purpose-built hall.  

Saint Anselm College

For the rehabilitation and re-use of the boiler plant building

After considering demolition of this deteriorated vernacular building, the college embraced its history and revitalized this centrally located building as a center for the humanities.

Kreg and Danielle Jones

For the re-use of the North Weare Schoolhouse

Recently, the new owners of this 1856 National Register-listed property renovated it for their home and architectural office after a period of vacancy following its use as a school and grange for generations. “While this project began with personal goals--teaching our teenage son carpentry skills during the Covid shutdown--we're thrilled that it has had community-wide interest,” said Danielle Jones.  

Stewardship awards:

South Eaton White Meetinghouse Parish Assoc.

For the stewardship of their 1844 landmark

A small volunteer group’s thoughtful, can-do stewardship included extensive moisture management and a new foundation and roof, as well as preservation of exterior and interior features and protection of its picturesque rural setting.

Tilton School

For the stewardship of the Tilton Mansion, a centerpiece of their campus

The School’s recent multi-million dollar project for the National-Register-listed home of the school’s founder includes roof and exterior woodwork, ceiling conservation and fire protection, allowing expanded public use.  

Longyear Museum

For stewardship of three Mary Baker Eddy Properties in New Hampshire

This award honors Longyear Museum’s restoration and stewardship of three New Hampshire houses (in Concord, Groton and Rumney) that represent distinct periods in Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy’s life. The buildings also demonstrate the evolution of the historic preservation movement and serve as models for heritage organizations’ stewardship.

Within a few years after Eddy’s passing in 1910, philanthropist Mary Beecher Longyear began preserving the historical record of Eddy’s life. She traveled back roads throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts, collecting houses, artifacts, documents, and reminiscences from people who knew Eddy.

“We hope these awards helps inspire even more preservation activity,” said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance. She noted community and economic benefits of the projects, and the importance of a range of support including grants from the N.H. Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, contributions from municipalities, and private investors, individual philanthropy, and significant partnerships.

The award announcement event also featured a celebration of the N.H. Division of Resources’ 50th anniversary.

Preservation Achievement Award sponsors include Currier Museum of Art, Sheehan Phinney, Meridian Construction, The Rowley Agency, VHB Engineers and also Bruss Project Management, The H.L. Turner Group, Matuszewski & Associates Architects, LLC Milestone Construction, LLC, and Piscataqua Savings Bank.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance supports and encourages the revitalization and protection of historic buildings and places which strengthens communities and local economies.  Information on varied preservation topics, planning grants and more is available at