By Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2020

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) - Renovations being done to a building that dates back to the 1840s in northern New Hampshire have turned up timber trusses, a built-in safe and gears, shafts and gates from an old elevator.

The Parker J. Noyes Building on Lancaster’s Main Street was named for the former head of a company that invented machinery to sugarcoat pills. Crews have been doing demolition and renovation work on the 11,000 square-foot building to create space for apartments and businesses.

Workers on the project said they found signatures on lumber and wainscoting from past craftsmen who worked on the building, including, B.L. Stickney, who signed boards on Nov. 12, 1927. Local businessman David Stickney confirmed that the signer was likely his great uncle, Bernard Stickney, who, along with David’s grandfather Arthur, a former Lancaster selectman, was a carpenter.

“It’s been a delight to uncover excellent craftsmanship in the form of heavy timber framing, old tongue-and-groove rock maple flooring, interesting wainscot and historic trim in the building,” said Ben Southworth, president of Garland Mill, which is handling construction. “We discovered the rock maple flooring after tearing out a layer of carpet and a layer of tile.”

The newly exposed timber trusses on the third floor will be featured in several apartments.

The Northern Forest Center, which hired Garland Mill, bought the building in 2018 as part of its Community Investment work in Lancaster. The building was named to the state Register of Historic Places at the end of that year.

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