- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire group’s “seven at a time” list to save historic buildings, barns and bridges is adding up to success.

Of the 70 properties listed for attention since 2006, the New Hampshire Preservation Society said that more than half have been preserved. That has included a mix of school houses, meeting halls and other buildings dating back three centuries.

The group announced on Tuesday its 2016 list of seven properties that include a one-room schoolhouse, a marble church, an estate barn and a former railroad-era inn. Also on the list is a historic hotel known as the Sanborn House, which has been targeted by a developer trying to get approval to demolish it and replace it with a dollar store.

The preservation society works to raise awareness of structures in the state, provide consultations to people or groups who want to perverse a structure and also, officer grants and education.

“Many on the list are irreplaceable landmarks,” said Jennifer Goodman, the society’s executive director.

She said the annual list is “a way to attract attention and resources.”

“This can be used as a way to gain attention, to raise awareness or make the group more competitive for a grant that might help rehabilitate a building. It might attract new owner or investor, to help reuse or revise a building,” she added.

Bill Dunlap, president of the New Hampshire Historical Society, said the program has been very effective.

“It’s been quite successful on balance. There probably have been more wins than losses, more properties saved,” Dunlap said. “It shines a spotlight on endangered structures and these structures are character defining structures for communities in our state.”

Of the other half not yet been saved, Goodman said many are complex projects that can take time to preserve - such as the gasholder building in Concord, a structure that dates to 1888 and was used to store flammable gas.

In a few of the cases, time has run out for sites on the list - despite the attention they get.

One of those was a historic home in Manchester that was on the group’s save list in 2014. The wood frame house was built in 1850 for Amoskeag machinist Alpheus Burgess. At one point, it was the home of modernist painter Omer T. Lassonde.

The building was vacant for years and owned by a bank. In July, it was demolished to make way for a parking lot.

“Folks who work with the preservation alliance know we can’t save everything,” Goodman said. “But a loss like that is very disappointing when there is community support for preservation and possibility of reuse.”

Pam Wiggin, of the Wakefield Heritage Commission, said her group is lobbying for the Sanborn House to be preserved, instead of being turned into a Dollar General Store.

The case has ended up in court after local zoning boards rejected the proposal.

“We hope Dollar General Store will choose another site and hope the owners of the property will choose another buyer so this building won’t be lost,” she said. “We just don’t want to see it demolished.”


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