Historic Harrisville

P.O. Box 79
Harrisville, NH 03450
603-827-3722

Erin Hammerstedt
Executive Director
ehammerstedt@historicharrisville.org

 


 

Office Hours

Monday-Friday
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

 

 
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Executive Director's Report 2015

The 40th Anniversary Campaign, initiated in 2012 and led by trustee Peter Allen, made possible significant progress in carrying out major projects, catching up on deferred maintenance, and reducing energy costs. In addition to bringing the buildings up to a higher level of maintenance and making them more attractive to prospective tenants, the funded projects have reduced the number of costly emergencies that take time away from scheduled work.

Inspecting the trash rack runners for the hydropower project

Inspecting the trash rack runners for the hydropower project

The structural, masonry, roofing, and window rehabilitation of Building No. 3 (the Trip Hammer Shop) was substantially complete at the end of the year. Here, as was the case with the two-stage Eagle Hall Carriage House project, the building was made stable and tight to the weather, with a great deal of work remaining before the building is returned to service as income-producing space. Once complete, it promises to be one of our most desirable spaces.

The installation of pellet boilers in the Cheshire Mills complex was not included in the work proposed in the 40th Campaign; however, soaring energy costs, the promise of renewable energy, and a $150,000 renewable energy grant from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission provided compelling reasons to fund the balance of the project cost. The boilers performed well in the 2014-2015 heating season, resulting in an $18,000 savings in heating costs and a strengthened commitment to renewable energy.

Lower Main Street &#1794AA4

Lower Main Street

The house at 119 Main Street was the topic of much discussion and several meetings with the selectmen as we struggled with the possible loss of a building in the National Historic Landmark District. By October it had become clear that it was unlikely that the majority of the selectmen could be convinced that the forlorn house at the side of the road was worth saving. It was decided that the only remaining course of action was to draft a warrant article to be presented at the fall meeting of incorporators for support and the required 50 signatures.

The article, which read: “To see if the town will uphold the provisions of Harrisville’s Master Plan by ensuring that the 19th century building at 119 Main Street be sold to a new owner that will rehabilitate and preserve the building as is appropriate for a contributing structure in the Harrisville National Historic Landmark District, or take any other action relative thereto,” received the immediate support of incorporators and townspeople and was submitted for inclusion on the town warrant. It was gratifying to have more than enough signatures and to have so many people recognize the importance of protecting the buildings in the district and support the town’s master plan.

Fred O’Connor worked on the interior of Mill No. 6 throughout the spring and summer. The first floor space was cleared of the obsolete remnants of its former use, cleaned, painted, steel sash work begun, new bathrooms installed, and the mill’s heating system extended. (Be assured that the steel sash repairs will continue with the return of warm weather, which will greatly improve the appearance of the building from Main Street.) This work made it possible for the tenant, Harrisville Designs, to move its assembly and shipping functions into Mill No.6, which can now be heated to human comfort. The 1986 building at the rear of the complex where they formerly worked became the warehouse space, a use for which it is much better suited.

The Nelson Town Hall Restored Front Door

The Nelson Town Hall Restored Front Door

During the summer months, Fred was assisted by Maia DiLorenzo, an intern from Boston’s North Bennet Street School. North Bennet Street has a well-known preservation carpentry program whose students often request an internship to come here and work with Fred. In addition to working on HHI’s projects, they completed the conservation of the Nelson Town Hall door. A Nelson resident, and HHI trustee, told me that the door looked like it always had, just what we want to hear.

On the hydropower front, the work at the dam included the installation of a catwalk, deck, railings, trash rack, and the fabrication of a new penstock gate. In the turbine room, a hoist was installed that allowed for the removal of the 6000 pound obsolete generator. The timber frame has been repaired both above and below floor level, windows repaired, insulation installed, and the turbine room painted and ready. Meanwhile, the turbine casing and draft tubes were found to be leaking and the necessary repairs to the turbine itself more extensive than anticipated. At the end of the year turbine repairs, installation of a generator, and the design and installation of switch gear were still to be accomplished.

With the strong support of customers, volunteers, trustees, and a great staff, the Harrisville General Store continued to offer hospitality, fine food, world-class baked goods, local produce, eggs, meats, groceries, wine, and most everything else one could wish in a 1,200-square-foot space off the beaten track.

Linda Willett