Page 8 - November2021
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Page 8 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM November 2021 Community
 Keeping History Alive at Alexandria Town Hall
 By Donna rhoDes
ALEXANDRIA - The Alex- andria Town Hall has been in the midst of a face-lift this fall, thanks to JLT Painting and vol- unteers, all part of an ongoing project to restore the building to its original glory.
The current town structure, located on Washburn Rd. in the village, is the second town hall to serve the village after a fire in 1913 destroyed the orig- inal building. Upset by the loss, the town rallied to immediately rebuild their town offices and meeting rooms at the cost of $5,700. A year later, on New Year’s Day, residents met to dedicate the new buildings when Alexandrians celebrated by en- joying dinner and dancing in their newest town hall despite a raging snowstorm.
One hundred five years and five days later, the town gath- ered once again to rededicate the building as the Alexandria Town Hall Preservation Com- mittee also laid out plans for its future restoration.
“To those who came before us and saw what was needed... we would like to rededicate this building today,” said committee member Nancy Whitman on
John Thompson and Matt Perkins have been busy this fall, painting the outside of the Alexandria Town Hall as part of the town preservation committee’s goal to restore the historic building.
to stabilize the antique curtains on the stage.
“The grand drape was from an oil painting of Newfound Lake (depicting scenes along Wellington Beach and the Ledges) that was done by James (J.P.) Duffey of Goffstown,” Whitman said. “We knew noth- ing about him until we hooked up with Curtains Without Bor- ders.” Whitman added that since the curtain’s preservation, Duffey’s grandchildren, some living in the Newfound Region, have finally had the opportunity to see his work for the first time.
The next step was to address the aging windows. Alexandria resident John Thompson is reg- istered as an expert in historic painting and renovation and was prominent in many central New Hampshire projects. As such, in 2019, he was brought in to not only replace the old win- dows in the town hall but this year began scraping, priming, and repainting the building. He and his employee Matt Perkins are just completing work on the upper portions of the town hall down to the window sills. And volunteers like Whitman, Deb- bie Heaman, and others have now begun scraping and prim- ing the lower part of the build- ing as long as the weather holds out. They hope to have it com- pleted by next spring.
The town hall’s preservation
committee said that while the town has provided for some costs toward the restoration process, money has also been raised through fundraisers and generous donations. However, the most recent Condition As- sessment Report on the town hall shows that possibly a cou- ple hundred thousand dollars will still be required to fully re- store the building. In addition, Whitman said the roof needs to be re-shingled, the interior will need fresh paint, and there is still moisture in the basement that is affecting the hardwood floors inside the hall. She be- lieves that number may be a bit high, though, and hopes the committee will be able to work out means to complete the pres- ervation process in the coming years.
While some wonder if resto- ration projects such as this are worth it, state experts assure people that they are and they are willing to back New Hamp- shire communities wishing to keep their history and charac- ter alive.“When towns don’t in- vest or take pride in their town halls or old churches, it doesn’t usually reflect well on that com- munity,” Cushing said at the re- dedication. “The smallest and poorest of towns all have that pride, though, and it’s our job to help bring in resources for them.”
Jan. 6, 2019.
Andrew Cushing of the New
Hampshire Preservation Alli- ance was also on hand for the rededication and was instru- mental in getting the Arts and Crafts-style building listed on the N.H. Register of Historic Places. He was pleased that day to see the community’s support in maintaining such an essential piece of the town’s history.
While the building no longer serves as the town offices, which are now situated behind it, the
site was still a vital part of the community where voting, town, and private community events are frequently held. But, it was found to be in dire need of re- pair, and in 2006 the Alexandria Town Hall Preservation Com- mittee was formed, bringing in experts to identify the building’s needs. After many evaluations in 2018, the committee began its mission by replacing the old furnaces with modern propane burners to heat the building bet- ter. The committee then set out
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