HAMPSTEAD – The plaque ordered by the Historic District Heritage Commission for the Old Meeting House, saying the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, has arrived.
The commission adjourned the meeting to the Old Meeting House for an on-site decision on placement. There is already a sign on the front of the Old Meeting House saying 1749, and the members agreed that the new plaque should be placed beneath that sign.
Member Chip Hastings suggested it would be best if the plaque were put on a nice piece of wood to frame it before attaching it. He will give it to craftsman Dave Dupouy, who has been working with the commission renovating the museum columns after he finished repairing the Paul Revere Jr. bell mount, to fashion an appropriate frame piece.
In other business last week:
• The commission looked at the text for the New Hampshire State Highway Historical Marker application for the Old Meeting House and decided to change the words “theatrical productions” to “plays” before resubmitting it to the State Historic Preservation Office. That office rejected the initial text written by the commission.
Mary Kay Ryan of the State Historic Preservation Office notified the commission last month that the text submitted did not differentiate the Hampstead Old Meeting House from the state’s many other meeting houses.
The new text was suggested by member Lyn Rockwell and reads: “Built before 1749, making it the third oldest New Hampshire meeting house, it has the State’s only known Puritan style steeple and belfry tower. Installed in 1809, the Paul Revere Jr. Bell comes from the Paul Revere Foundry, Boston. The building was used for annual town meetings (1749-1963), church services, town offices, classrooms, plays, dances, and Grange meetings. Daniel Webster served as Defense lawyer at a trial here in 1814.”
• Vice Chairman Rob Morris said Dupouy has recommended fixing the gutter on the front of the museum, doing additional priming of the areas he has worked on, and deciding what covers to put on the footers.
Morris said the area where Dupouy has been working should be painted.
The commission discussed getting a bid for just that area and decided to ask for two bids – one for the affected area and a second one for the entire building.
• Morris said he would continue to pursue what it would take to get WiFi for the museum.
• Rockwell suggested cleaning gravestones as a worthy project. She asked if the commission had any interest in her pursuing information regarding seminars on that topic, and said groups might be interested in such a project.
Morris said he thought there was interest because many stones are unreadable. Rockwell said she would pursue the idea.
• Hastings told the commission he had attended the recent Technical Review Committee representing the commission. The focus of the meeting was the Lancaster subdivision, and he said there are stonewalls there that are boundaries. The commission will follow this case as it progresses through the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board. The ZBA initially denied the request for the subdivision but the court reversed that decision and the project is back.