Historic Harrisville

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

Erin Hammerstedt
Executive Director
ehammerstedt@historicharrisville.org

 


 

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

 

 
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Remembering Rick Monahon

Duffy and Rick Monahon

Duffy and Rick Monahon

On Sunday, January 27, 2013, Rick Monahon and his wife, Duffy, were killed in a tragic automobile accident in Hillsborough, NH, as they were returning from a day of skiing at Mount Sunapee. Rick was one of the major figures in the history of Historic Harrisville; much of the success and reputation of the foundation is based on his efforts and talents. In 1972 he was hired as the architect for Historic Harrisville and he was functioning actively in that role when he died. He served as a Trustee from 1974 to 1998 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1984 to l986.

Historic Harrisville was founded in the spring of l971, soon followed by the purchase of what we called the “six historic core buildings” in the last days of that year. Those six buildings were the Harris Storehouse, the Harris Mill, the Harris Boarding House, the Harris Boiler House, the Harris Sorting & Picker House and the Cheshire Mills Boarding House. As we moved into l972, we developed the plan that called for “recycling” the old industrial buildings so that they could be rented out and essentially support themselves. It was immediately obvious that we would need a special architect to assist us, one who would be sensitive to the important historic qualities of our buildings, clever enough to adapt them for modern uses, and capable of working happily within our very limited budget.

Someone at Sturbridge Village knew that Rick had written his thesis at MIT School of Architecture about adaptive reuse of the mills in Claremont, NH, and he suggested that we might give Rick a call. We did that, Rick came to Harrisville for an interview, and we knew immediately that he was just what we needed. Still a student at MIT and not yet a registered architect, Rick developed a plan for the Harris Storehouse and we were off and running. He purchased a house in Harrisville and eventually set up an office in Peterborough where he carried on his general practice with a special interest in preservation.

Robbins Milbank, founding member of HHI, and Rick Monahon in the Harris Storehouse

Robbins Milbank, a founding member of HHI, and Rick Monahon in the Harris Storehouse, 1983

Rick’s contribution to Historic Harrisville cannot be overstated. He generously donated his time and energy to solving the problems of making what were beautiful but worn out buildings functional once again. He did it with style and grace, and the beauty and energy of the village today is a testament to his talents. He will be greatly missed, and not soon forgotten.  By Chick Colony