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Peterborough readies for 275th celebration

PETERBOROUGH — A 1939 large scale model of the Peterborough Town Library was taken out of storage Friday to ready it for the town’s 275th anniversary parade planned for Oct. 11.

The model was built for the town’s 200th anniversary parade in 1939. The creator of the model is unknown, said anniversary celebration volunteer Jim Grant.

The model has been stashed away in the Elm Street home of husband and wife Posy Bass and Henry Taves for years.

The home was originally a manufacturing plant for a series of different companies. In the 1930s the Great Depression ended most manufacturing industries in Peterborough and the building became The Goyette Museum of Americana. After the 1939 parade the model become part of the museum.

David Croumie, Peterborough’s director of buildings and grounds, is overseeing the project.

“I remember seeing it when I was a kid, because I grew up in Peterborough,” Croumie said. “It was a museum back in the (1970s).”

For some reason the library model remained in the building when it was convert into a single family home.

Bass and Taves bought the house in 2009.

Bass said it was a coincidence that when he and Taves bought the house they saw the model.

“I’m a direct descendant of the woman who put up the money to build (the town library),” Bass said, “My great-great-grandmother is Nancy Smith Foster.”

Nancy Smith Foster was the daughter of one of the founding members of the town. She gave $10,000 to start the construction of the Peterborough Town Library, which has the distinction of being the first taxpayer-funded free library in the U.S. The library was opened in 1892.

Grant said Bass and Taves plan to give the model to the town library. Where it will be displayed or stored is undecided, he said.

“The future of it will be determined after the parade,” Grant said.

Lenny Gonthier, a Peterborough buildings and maintenance employee, is charged with the restoration of the model.

Gonthier said he plans to do as little as possible to the model. “You don’t want to make it look new at all,” he said.

Grant said a 1939 flatbed truck, on loan from Cournoyer Funeral Home in Jaffrey, will be used to drive the model though the parade.

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