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Preserving of Leavitt House Barn Lauded

By Shir Haberman

Hampton Union, Friday, May 15, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
Members of the Hampton Historical Society celebrate receiving an award from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for their work in saving and preserving the Leavitt House Barn, seen in the background. Pictured are (left to right) Percy Annis, Ben Moore, Dave DeGagne, Betty Moore and Chet Riley.
[Shir Haberman photo]

Hampton Historical Society's work advocating for and preserving the Leavitt House Barn was one of 13 projects across the state recognized by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance on Monday, May 11.

"It's great," said Ben Moore, the Hampton Historical Society's president. "We put a lot of time and effort into the project and we're happy for the community that we were able to save it. We hope it will be there for the community 200 years from now."

The 38-foot by 36-foot barn, circa 1796, officially opened to the public on June 22, 2008. It had been the focus of Hampton historians for the past four years.

Displaying an award the Hampton Historical Society won for saving and restoring the Leavitt House Barn are society members (left to right) Ben Moore, Chet Riley, Dave DeGagne (seated), Betty Moore and Percy Annis. The group is pictured among the many pieces of antique farm equipment on display inside the barn.
[Shir Haberman photo]

Formerly located on the grounds of the Taylor/Leavitt homestead at the corner of Lafayette and Drakeside roads, the barn was slated to be demolished when, in 2004, the Historical Society and the new owners of the property entered into an agreement, breathing new life into the historic building.

Thus began the revitalization of a Hampton landmark, starting with the barn's dismantling in 2004, and its eventual reconstruction.

Moore, who was the society's treasurer at the time, said the original goal was to raise $60,000 to salvage and restore the barn. The project ended up being completed for $50,000.

"The community really rallied around this project," Moore said Tuesday. "It shows that good things can happen when the community grabs hold of a project."

The award-winning projects recognized by the Alliance this year include iconic places — two bridges, two barns, two railroad stations, a town hall, a schoolhouse, canal gate house, Civil War memorial, Seacoast warehouse and two gardens — that anchor stories of New Hampshire's agrarian roots, industrial prowess and attraction as a retreat for visitors.

"We welcome this opportunity to recognize outstanding projects and people, offer thanks and inspire others," said Paula Cabot of Loudon, Preservation Alliance board member and awards committee chairwoman. "The 2009 award-winning projects, while varied, share common themes: tenacious leaders, strong public support and creative problem solving."

The 2009 awards recognize individuals, organizations and corporations for work or projects in the categories of restoration and stewardship, rehabilitation and adaptive use, compatible new construction and advocacy.

The other local 2009 winners are:

Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden for outstanding restoration of the Moffatt-Ladd Coach House, Portsmouth, University of New Hampshire for outstanding renovation of the Boston & Maine Railroad Depot for the UNH-Durham Transit Station and Strawbery Banke Museum for outstanding restoration of the Aldrich Garden.

"These buildings are irreplaceable, and their revitalizations contribute to the character of our communities and our local economies," said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the Preservation Alliance.

This year marks the Alliance's 20th year celebrating preservation achievement in New Hampshire and the event features past winners and special guest Fritz Wetherbee, author, Emmy Award-winning television personality and 1993 Preservation Award winner.

The Preservation Alliance has presented 138 awards since 1989 for achievements including renovations of corporate facilities at PSNH and PC Connection, the rescue campaigns for Daniel Webster Farm and the Epsom Meetinghouse, a restoration of a neon sign in Weirs Beach, the rehabilitation of University of New Hampshire's Murkland Hall, the re-use of the former B & M railroad station in Plymouth, the proactive policies of the Troy Heritage Commission, a fifth-grade walking tour of Antrim and the leadership of advocates Martha Fuller Clark, Carl Schmidt and Richard Candee.

Award program sponsors include Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, Bruss Construction, Inc., and TMS Architects.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide membership organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy. Current priorities include providing assistance to community leaders and promoting effective weatherization, community-centered schools, barn preservation and preservation as "the original green."

More information can be obtained at www.nhpreservation.org.

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