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December 25. 2012 8:27PM

Moultonborough Grange added to Historic Places Register


The antique plaque from the Moultonborough Grange No. 197 is among many historic mementos housed at the Grange Hall. (Courtesy - Moultonborough Historical Society)

MOULTONBOROUGH - The Moultonborough Grange Hall in the town's village center was recently added to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places. The distinction comes weeks after the Grange Hall, built as a tavern in 1858, made the "Seven to Save" list compiled by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

The Moultonborough Grange #197 purchased the building in 1894 and made extensive renovations to it during the next decade. By 1903, the building was transformed into a Grange Hall with a large auditorium, and a raised performance stage on the second floor. In its heyday, the hall hosted meetings, dances, performances and many other special events.

According to the NH Division of Historical Resources, inclusion on the State Register of Historic Places acknowledges a property's significance in the community, designates it as historical - a prerequisite for many grant programs - and allows it special consideration and relieve from some building codes and regulations.

Moultonborough Historical Society President Kathleen Garry said she and members are "very pleased" with the honor. She said the society also received a $2,250 grant to assess the Grange buildings needs, an amount the society will match.

She said the society is focused on preserving the town's historic buildings. The society works closely with the Moultonborough Heritage Commission, she added. Recently, a committee was formed to explore uses for the Grange Hall.

"We do want to find a purpose for it in keeping with its historic manner," she said.

Currently, the interior of the Grange is in fine condition and houses exhibits of memorabilia, records, photographs and furnishings.

Structural problems were discovered this summer, and the Historical Society and Heritage Commission have partnered up to save the landmark building. One priority was stabilizing the failing roof before winter. That work was accomplished thanks to private donations and a grant from the Bald Peak Community Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation.

During the Plan NH Moultonborough Community Charrette held in July, the Grange Hall was listed as one of a number of vacant or underutilized historic buildings in the downtown area with great potential to revitalize the village center.


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