The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance released its 2019 Seven to Save list, which names seven properties the organization claims are essential to the community life and economic well-being of some small towns.
This year’s list, from largest to smallest town population, using recent census information, are:
Marion Blodgett Museum, Stratford
Originally built in 1850 as a Greek and Gothic Revival meetinghouse, this church continues to define the Stratford Hollow Village. The Cohos Historical Society took on the building when the congregation folded in 2001. Fully $50,000 must be raised for structural work, a new roof, storm windows and exterior painting.
Glencliff Willing Workers Society Hall, Warren
This small, early 20th century social hall in the village of Glencliff serves as headquarters for an organization that does good deeds for neighbors and used the hall as a space for card games, dances, and suppers. The group needs finances to balance a long list of maintenance needs with their charitable mission.
Eagle Pond Farm, Wilmot
The farm buildings and its acres of fields and forest that stretch from the foothills of Ragged Mountain to the shores of Eagle Pond inspired U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall and his wife, poet Jane Kenyon. Support for a sustainable business model that inspires future writers is needed after a successful first-step save of the house and many possessions that were at auction.
Marsh House (former Chesterfield Town Offices), Chesterfield
Built in the 1850s, this high style Gothic Cottage sits on the common of Chesterfield and for decades served as the town offices. Vacant since 2015, local stakeholders are eager for new investment and a use that will add vibrancy to the village.
Lower Gilmanton Baptist Church, Gilmanton
A local group of community advocates hopes to build on their success with a nearby one-room schoolhouse as they prepare to tackle major structural deficiencies in this landmark building, one of the Lakes Region’s best-preserved Greek Revival churches.
Ossipee Corner Depot
This 1871 landmark needs a preservation buyer. Historically, it was part of the development of recreation and business markets throughout the Lakes Region.
General Stores, Statewide
A village staple for the majority of New Hampshire towns, the venerable general store has struggled in the past decade to compete with slimmer margins and creeping costs of gas pumps, kitchen equipment, and property taxes. In the past few years, several small-town stores have closed. Some have re-opened and others may re-open, but several remain closed.
All of the properties need transformative investment to become community assets again. “We need these places to survive and thrive,” says Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, “These landmarks are the hearts and souls of our daily life.”
Goodman says NH's small-town character makes the state distinctive, “The mix of our old with new building stock, as well as the character 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.”
Past Seven to Save sites that still need more creative planning, new investment, new owners, or the hard work of local advocates include Concord’s iconic Gas Holder House, the Chandler House in Manchester, Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, and the former Brown Paper Company’s R & D building in Berlin.
The NH Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through education and advocacy.