Middleton Community Protects Town History

2014-02-27

If it’s one thing the residents of Middleton are protective of, it is their Town’s history. This was made evident by the open house held at their Old Town Hall on Wednesday February 26, 2014. Residents, many of whom have lived in Middleton all their lives, gathered to reminisce and share their support for the restoration of the Old Town Hall and the preservation of the intricate murals painted in the building’s second floor church. The murals, which were believed to have originated in 1841, were painted by John Avery, Lakes Region painter.

In order to ensure these preservation efforts are carried out, Middleton worked to gain eligibility for the State Register of Historic Places, and in addition to being on the State Register, was also named one of New Hampshire’s Seven to Save in 2011. More recently, the Town applied for and received a Moose Plate Cultural Conservation Program grant in 2013 for the sum of $20,000. This funding will be used by the Town to stabilize and conserve the John Avery murals. Middleton also received the requested amount for a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) Grant for the Old Town Hall’s restoration. The mural stabilization will begin as soon as an appropriate preservationist has been hired, and the overall building project will begin when the Heritage Commission has raised half of the overall LCHIP match.

In order to accomplish this goal of raising the needed funds, the Middleton Heritage Commission, started by Middleton history advocates Cheryl Kimball and John Mullen, has worked diligently to brainstorm funding initiatives. This includes one fundraiser where individuals can buy a pew in the second floor church, and have their name associated with that donation. The Town has also requested $59,000 in tax appropriated funds. This article will be voted on at the March 15th Town Meeting.

The building, which was originally located down the street before it was moved by oxen in the early 1800s, was then raised as the second floor, with a banquet hall below. Due to the construction of the Old Town Hall, and its age in general, there are major renovations that need to be done to make this building safe and to preserve it for future generations. It was found that in one year, the building was used over 230 times, supporting the use of the building, and the need for its renovation.

The types of renovations that must be done were identified in an assessment completed by Preservation Timber Framing in the Fall of 2012-Spring 2013. The current phase of this effort involves fundraising  to ensure the LCHIP funding is matched and used in the next two years. For more information on the project contact Cheryl Kimball at cherylkimball@roadrunner.com.

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This blog post was written using information presented by Cheryl Kimball at the Old Town Hall Open House, as well as the following articles:

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130829/GJNEWS04/130829378/0/SEARCH 

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131212/GJNEWS04/131219830/-1/ROCTIMES 

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130905/GJNEWS04/130909758/