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N.H. Preservation Alliance Makes Grants to Sixteen Community Landmarks in Partnership with The 1772 Foundation

Awards
CONCORD, NH – The N.H. Preservation Alliance, in partnership with The 1772 Foundation, has awarded grants totaling $125,000 to sixteen private non-profit organizations in New Hampshire to assist in preserving their historic buildings. Funding will support a range of projects: new roofs, foundation and sill work, repainting, and repair of windows, and an exterior porch staircase. In some cases, the grants will advance multi-phase projects, while in others the funding will help a non-profit get started or complete important preservation work.

The grants will assist community landmarks from Coos County to the Seacoast to the Monadnock Region. Awards range from $2,500 to the grant maximum of $10,000. Each grantee is required to provide matching funds for their project.

The buildings that will benefit span nearly two hundred years, from a 1716 National Historic Landmark in Portsmouth to a 1912 carriage barn on a National Register-listed property in Hinsdale. Uses include affordable housing, community meeting space, history museums, historical societies, a library, and a retreat center. Three of the awardees had previously been named to the Preservation Alliance’s annual Seven to Save endangered properties list.

Applications were reviewed by a selection committee of experts and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance staff. “We are so pleased to be able to make these grants to worthy projects in the state,” said Beverly Thomas, deputy director of the Preservation Alliance. “The 1772 Foundation’s fifth year of investment in New Hampshire will help protect and revitalize sixteen historic buildings, and positively impact their communities by bringing much-needed capital investment to important community buildings. Evidence of good planning was essential for success in this grant round,” Thomas added.
 
Grant criteria included the uniqueness or significance of the resource, visibility within the community, availability of additional funding, imminence or severity of threat to the resource, a demonstrated understanding of the building’s needs, and the proposed plan’s adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.


Ethiel Garlington, executive director of The 1772 Foundation, recalled, “Our founder, Stewart Barney Kean, fell in love with historic preservation through the act of restoration. He appreciated the materials and workmanship of historic buildings. More importantly, he recognized the value of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to ensure historic places survive for the next stewards. These grants exemplify his spirit and love of historic preservation.”

New Hampshire Grant Recipients:

Lakes Region Community Developers (Belmont), Gale School window restoration/replacement: $5,000

Canterbury Shaker Village (Canterbury), Brethren’s Shop roof replacement: $10,000

Claremont Historical Society (Claremont), Mary Patten House roof replacement: $9,500

Pierce Brigade (Concord), Franklin Pierce Manse chimney restoration: $4,000

Dublin Historical Society (Dublin), Schoolhouse #1 Museum exterior painting and window restoration: $6,000

Dunbarton Historical Society (Dunbarton), Waite Blacksmith Shop roof replacement: $2,500

Gilsum Historical Society (Gilsum), Wright’s Blacksmith Shop roof replacement; window and siding repair/replacement: $10,000

Mascoma Valley Preservation (Grafton), Kimball Property House and Shingle Mill foundation and masonry repairs; storm windows: $10,000

Hinsdale Historical Society (Hinsdale), Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale Homestead carriage barn: $8,000

Laconia Housing Authority (Laconia), Tavern Inn Apartments exterior repairs and painting: $9,000

Meredith Historical Society (Meredith), Oak Hill Meeting House sill repair and foundation work: $9,000

Portsmouth Historical Society (Portsmouth), Morton-Benedict House exterior painting: $10,000

Warner House Association (Portsmouth), Warner House window restoration: $8,000

Star Island Corporation (Rye), Oceanic Hotel porch grand staircase restoration: $10,000

Poore Family Foundation (Stewartstown), Poore Family Farmhouse sill replacement: $5,000

Mt. Caesar Union Library Association (Swanzey), Mt. Caesar Union Library exterior painting: $9,000


The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance strengthens communities and stimulates local economies by encouraging the protection and revival of historic buildings and places.
For more information, visit www.nhpreservation.org.  

The 1772 Foundation was named in honor of its first restoration project, Liberty Hall in Union, NJ, which was built in 1772 and is the ancestral home of the Livingston and Kean families. The late Stewart B. Kean was the original benefactor of The 1772 Foundation. The 1772 Foundation works to ensure the safe passage of our historic buildings and farmland to future generations. More information about The 1772 Foundation may be found at www.1772foundation.org.
 
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Photos available upon request.

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Detailed Descriptions of the grant recipients are listed below in alphabetical order by town.


Belmont, Lakes Region Community Developers, Gale School (1894)

The Gale School is listed on the NH State Register of Historic Places and was named to the Alliance’s Seven to Save in 2017. The building had been vacant for thirty years, and the Save Our Gale School Committee worked tirelessly to prevent its demolition. In 2020, with support from LCHIP and other sources, it was moved to a new location and is now being renovated at an estimated cost of $4.1 million. This grant of $5,000 will assist with restoration of original windows and selected window replacements. When completed, the building’s first-floor tenant will provide affordable day care for low-to-moderate income families and the second floor will be used as a community center. Both tenants are well-known social service providers in the Lakes Region.

“The Gale School project is a community centered redevelopment of a beloved building in Belmont. Not only is it important to the past, but the redevelopment – providing day care and community services – makes it important to the future of the town and the Lakes Region,” said Sal Steven-Hubbard, Senior Real Estate Developer, Lakes Region Community Developers.
 

Canterbury Shaker Village, Brethren’s Shop (1824)

Canterbury Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark, one of the largest and most intact of the surviving Shaker Villages. It has been a non-profit since 1969. In 2021, a Village-wide initiative identified the priorities for all twenty-five surviving Shaker buildings, and efforts are now underway to address those needs. This $10,000 grant will help Canterbury Shaker Village replace the failing roof on the Brethren’s Shop, next on the list of most urgent needs. Several other rehabilitation and restoration projects, including replacement of the Dwelling House roof, have been completed in the past few years.

“Canterbury Shaker Village’s 1824 Brethren’s Shop holds the stories of the Shaker brothers and their work, from doctoring and farming to manufacturing shoes and spinning wheels. As the Village prepares to celebrate this year the 250th anniversary year of the Shakers’ arrival in America, we are grateful to the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and the 1772 Foundation for providing much-needed support to ensure the Brethren’s Shop’s integrity and sustain its stories for our many visitors,” said Shirley Wajda, Ph.D., Curator of Collections, Canterbury Shaker Village


Claremont Historical Society, Mary Patten House (c. 1845; 1930)

This representative middle-class house, recently listed on the NH State Register of Historic Places, was built about 1835 to house workers at the fulling mills, cotton mills, paper mills and saw-mills up and down the Sugar River a few blocks away. Funding from this $9,500 grant will go toward a new roof, part of a larger effort to fully revive and renovate the house museum and its exhibits.  
 
“We have a new group of energetic trustees who are bringing new life to the Historical Society. This house interprets Claremont’s prominence as a 19th century manufacturing center, and we are excited that a new roof will help preserve both the building and its collections,” noted Dakin Burdick, President, Claremont NH Historical Society.




Concord, Franklin Pierce Manse (1838)

The Pierce Brigade formed in 1966 when Franklin Pierce’s Concord home was threatened with demolition. Relocated in 1971, the house is in a National Register Historic District that is also a local historic district. This $4,000 grant will help the Pierce Brigade repoint a chimney and repair leaking flashing that has caused interior damage to the dining room ceiling and wall of the first floor. The second chimney was recently rebuilt after being severely damaged by a lightning strike.  

“This historic house museum has been kept open to the public for fifty years by a dedicated group of volunteers. These repairs will allow us to attend to interior water damage as we strive to maintain and care for this Greek Revival home honor and preserve the legacy of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States,” said Joan Woodhead, President of the Pierce Brigade.
 

Dublin Historical Society, Schoolhouse #1 Museum (1841)

The Dublin Historical Society was given this former schoolhouse by the town in 1920. The building was widely recognized in its time for the innovative use of graduated desks and use of interior space. It is now considered to be the oldest schoolhouse in New Hampshire still in its original form and original location. It stands next to the town’s elementary school, is visited annually by school children, and hosts exhibitions on Dublin history during the summer months. This $6,000 award will help support repairs to clapboards, window sash and sills, reglazing of windows, and exterior painting for both the schoolhouse and its backhouse.

“Applying for this grant was an important step for our organization because it involved us in an assessment of our building’s needs and required us to make updates to our long-range maintenance plan,” said Sara Germain, Trustee, Dublin Historical Society.  


Dunbarton Historical Society, Waite Blacksmith Shop (1820)

Dunbarton’s 1820 Blacksmith Shop is made of hand-quarried stone. It was moved in 1980 to the Historical Society’s location and attracts regular visitors to its operating forge and popular demonstrations and educational programs. It is one of four buildings that the historical society owns and cares for. This $2,500 grant will cover half the cost of materials for a new roof; experienced volunteers will provide the labor.

“The Waite Blacksmith Shop is integral to the educational mission of the Dunbarton Historical Society. Its working forge and museum of tools showcases the artisan skill and craftsmanship that was vital to the lives of early settlers to New England, and preserves tradition for future generations," said Josie Hallinan, Dunbarton Historical Society.


Gilsum Historical Society, Wright’s Blacksmith Shop (c. 1890)  

This State Register-listed blacksmith shop is a rare extant building type in New Hampshire. Located in the center of the small rural town of Gilsum, the location provides an ideal space to showcase the town’s industrial, economic, and cultural history. This grant of $10,000 will help meet the urgent need for a new roof and repairs to the deteriorated trim, window sills and broken clapboards. A prior 1772 grant helped fund the installation of sixteen footings and piers, and replacement of sills to stabilize the building.

“Preservation of Wright's Blacksmith shop is important to the town of Gilsum as well as to the state of New Hampshire. Unfortunately, there are very few active blacksmith shops left in the area. Last year, the foundation was replaced, this year the decaying roof will be addressed along with other exterior repairs thanks to the NH Preservation Alliance and The 1772 Foundation Grant,” said David Dauphin, President, Gilsum Historical Society.


Grafton, Mascoma Valley Preservation, Kimball Property (House c. 1885, Shingle Mill 1893)

After decades of dormancy, this 19th century complex of buildings on 175 acres was given to Mascoma Valley Preservation in 2019 and listed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2020. This grant of $10,000 will support the first phase of rehabilitation—purchase and installation of twenty-two storm windows at the mill and fourteen at the house. In addition, the mill chimney will be repaired, and the deteriorated foundation of the house will be addressed. The goal is to create one unit of affordable housing in the dwelling, convert the former shingle mill into rentable workshop space, and provide enhanced public access to the land, with funding from tax credits, LCHIP, and other grants.

“We are excited to have this initial support as we work to ready three historic buildings at the Kimball Property in East Grafton for new and productive use. This grant will help fund needed foundation and chimney repairs, and the new storm windows will protect the buildings against the weather, help with energy conservation, and allow our volunteers to restore the historic sash in batches,” said Judith Kushner, Vice President, Mascoma Valley Preservation.


Hinsdale Historical Society, Hinsdale Homestead Carriage Barn (1912)

Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale was the Chaplain at Fort Dummer on the Connecticut River and in 1742 he was commissioned to build a garrison fort at Hinsdale. Thought that fort no longer stands, the nearby Col. Hinsdale House complex, built in 1759, includes a house (still in nearly original condition), this carriage barn, two tobacco barns, a blacksmith shop, and 400 acres along the Connecticut River.

The Hinsdale Historical Society, which now owns and manages the State Register-listed complex, carried out a Historic Building Assessment of the property in 2022, and has begun to address its recommendations in priority order. With $8,000 from this grant, the carriage barn’s deteriorated and leaking roof will be repaired; damaged roof boards will be replaced, and pine strapping will support the new metal roof that was chosen for its durability and appropriateness.
 
“Losing the building due to preventable roof failure would be a devastating loss to the historical character of the property. The Hinsdale Historical Society is grateful to the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and the 1772 Foundation for supporting this critical need,” said. Sharron Smith, Vice President, Hinsdale Historical Society.


Laconia, Laconia Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Tavern Inn Apartments (1912)

The former Tavern Hotel with its unusual Mediterranean architecture was acquired by the
Laconia Housing & Redevelopment Authority in 1996 and converted into 50 low-income elderly housing units at a prominent intersection in the heart of the downtown. With this $9,000 in funding, the Housing Authority will repair and re-paint the wood architectural elements of the stucco building on its two primary facades: trim, casing and paneling around windows and doors, roof fascia and corbels, entry porches, columns, and the two towers at the roof. This work is a visible and important first step in the restoration of the building’s exterior.

“Today, more than ever, it is vitally important to preserve our historic buildings as they are quickly disappearing from the American landscape. On June 23, 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed at the Laconia Tavern Hotel during his visit to Laconia. Our building stands as a symbol of housing transformation, innovation, and cultural heritage, embodying a significant period in our city's development. This funding will help assure that downtown Laconia maintains its New England charm,” said Catherine R T Bowler, Executive Director, Laconia Housing Authority.


Meredith Historical Society, Oak Hill Meeting House (1801)

The Oak Hill Meeting House, on a rural road remote from today’s town center, was acquired by the Meredith Historical Society in 1950 for its headquarters. The building was converted in 1998 into a historical museum displaying decades-old farming equipment used in early New Hampshire. The Historical Society, recognizing that the building needed extensive repairs, is now embarking on a comprehensive repair project. This grant of $9,000 will help fund phase one of that work--addressing foundation issues, sill restoration, partial re-siding, and painting the newly sided sections.

“As one of only two Meredith buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1801 Meeting House is an enduring symbol and physical embodiment of the hopes and dreams of the early Meredith farmers who settled the land and paved the way for those of us today,” said John Hopper, President, Meredith Historical Society.


Portsmouth Historical Society, Morton-Benedict House (1810-1812)

The Morton-Benedict House is a classic example of a Federal-era, urban brick residence prominently located in downtown Portsmouth. Its showpiece is the semi-circular Ionic entry porch surrounding the central doorway, which has an elliptical fanlight and three-quarter sidelights. Today, it is one of three connected buildings that comprise the current Portsmouth Historical Society building (formerly the Portsmouth Public Library) and shares space with other area heritage non-profits. With this $10,000 in funding, the Historical Society will build on last year’s grant that enabled them to replace rotted wooden sill and column elements. This year’s award will go toward exterior painting.

“The Morton-Benedict House, listed to the National Register, is part of the first of a group of grand mansions built to the west of Portsmouth's center after 1812. Ongoing restoration efforts, funded in part by The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, signal a shared commitment to the stewardship of Portsmouth's historic structures,” noted Emma Stratton, Executive Director, Portsmouth Historical Society.


Portsmouth, Warner House Association, Warner House (1716-1718)

This National Historic Landmark was threatened by demolition in the early 20th century and was saved and opened as a house museum in 1931. It contains the earliest example of painted wall murals in the United States. The $8,000 grant will be used to rehabilitate the six east elevation windows, dating to various periods and house ownership, and allow the story of architectural change over time to be communicated to visitors.  

“Stewardship is of utmost importance in protecting this treasure of New Hampshire’s historic seaport.
We are grateful for this opportunity to restore six historic windows, some of which have the original glass panes, on the northeast side of the Warner House. It’s vitally important to ensure the windows are structurally sound as well as watertight and this matching grant will help us complete the important restoration project before we have a major failure in the building’s envelope,” said Bob Cook, Chair of Building and Grounds, Warner House.



Rye, Star Island Corporation, Oceanic Hotel (1876)

This $10,000 grant will fund the rehabilitation of the Oceanic Hotel’s front porch staircase used by thousands of visitors each year. This is part of a high priority project to preserve and revive the entire Oceanic Hotel, a late 19th century all wood grand hotel, used as a non-profit retreat center, located seven miles off the NH coast on Star Island at the Isles of Shoals. This building was listed to Seven to Save in 2015. A prior 1772 grant supported upgrades to the hotel’s fire suppression system, a vitally important safety component on an island with no fire services.

“We are honored to have The 1772 Foundation's continued support in partnership with the NH Preservation Alliance in our commitment to preserve the precious historic structures located on Star Island. The significance of the Grand Staircase as the physical gateway to the Oceanic Hotel cannot be overstated--its importance extends far beyond mere structural functionality. The Grand Staircase holds a deep historical and cultural significance, serving as the backdrop for decades of conference photography on Star Island. This cherished tradition is woven into the very fabric of the island's history, symbolizing continuity and community across generations,” said Laurie Contrino, Development Manager, Star Island Corporation.

Stewartstown, Poore Family Foundation, Poore Family Farm (c. 1830)

The Poore Family Farm Museum is dedicated to conserving and sharing the traditional values and way of life of settlers in the northernmost part of the state. This $5,000 grant will continue efforts to address long-standing problems with the rear sills of the Poore Family farmhouse and connected carriage shed, listed to Seven to Save in 2014. Volunteers will offset some of the labor costs and some materials will be donated. A previous 1772 grant helped support sill replacement on the farmhouse ell and porch repairs; local students provided labor to help provide matching support.  

"The Poore Farm Museum and our story has been featured in many publications and on television over the years and remains a notable historic and cultural New Hampshire destination that has added to the local economy and tourism. In 2013 Yankee Magazine chose the Poore Farm Museum for their “Best of New England – Editor’s Choice” award as the “Best Historic Homestead” in all of New England. We are grateful to the NH Preservation Alliance and The 1772 Foundation for their support in the preservation of this historic farmstead," said Richard Johnsen, Poore Family Foundation.


Swanzey, Mt. Caesar Union Library Association, Mt. Caesar Union Library (1843)

Built in 1843 to house a boys' academy, Mount Caesar Seminary adapted to become the co-ed Swanzey Academy in 1860, then transitioned to become a library in 1880 after a group of alumni and interested town residents rescued the vacant building. The community has now supported the library for over 140 years, and it is now listed on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places.

The Library Association is in Phase I of a rehabilitation effort. This $9,000 grant will support the exterior re-painting of the library. Additional work includes reinforcing the first and second floors and installing a new HVAC system. Recently completed work included new entrance stairs and an accessible entrance ramp as well as some painting. A prior 1772 grant helped fund window restoration several years ago.

“For 180 years, the Mt. Caesar Union Library has had historic, aesthetic, and ecological value in the town of Swanzey. By painting the exterior of the building, we will ensure the highly visible aspect of the building respects the 1843 character and preserves the original appearance, thus continuing to connect to the past and help tell the story of the town of Swanzey,” said Mary Ann Wood, Mt. Caesar Union Library Association.

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