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Francestown Town Hall to reopen 

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Francestown’s Town Hall will re-open after renovations on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant



Thursday, November 02, 2017

Francestown is inviting people to come celebrate the reopening of their Town Hall on Friday, Nov. 3. at 4 p.m.

There will be a brief ceremony, and afterward, all of the buildings on the Historic Commons will be open for tours.

“The brief ceremony on the third will mark over 10 years of public/private partnership to restore this defining asset of the community and to create, along with the other buildings in the complex, a lively heritage and full-service social center,” select board member Abigail Arnold said.

The building was constructed in 1847 to serve the combined needs of the town government and education in the small community. The two-story structure was designed in a Greek Revival style that accommodated government and academic needs. It was built with halls and smaller chambers to support government and educational functions.

The building acted as an academy from 1847 to 1921 and schooled the likes of President Franklin Pierce and NH Gov. and U.S. Sen. Levi Woodbury.  It was used as a government building until 1965.

Arnold said the Town Hall first closed in 2007. The building’s first floor was subsequently reopened for occasional use until the end of 2011 when it was discovered that the truss system supporting the roof was seriously compromised. The building has not been used since the most recent renovation phase began.

This spring, town officials broke ground on the site and construction has been moving along ever since. Arnold said structural work from the basement to the attic was completed, the building was made handicap accessible, with the exception of the stage, and equipped the building with a heating system that allows year-round use of the facility.

Since 2011, $1.2 million has been poured into the building. About $600,000 of that came from taxpayer dollars, while the remainder was funded by private donations, including state Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, among others.

Arnold said ongoing private fundraising efforts will continue in order to provide amenities such as the grand curtain for the stage and a commercial kitchen.

On-going private fundraising efforts will continue in order to provide amenities such as the grand curtain for the stage and a commercial kitchen.

Arnold said the ceremony on Friday will consist of short speeches from select board member Brad Howell, executive director at LCHIP Dijit Taylor, and local Architect Michael Petrovick, who worked on the building.

Arnold said there will be light refreshments and people will be welcome to tour the newly renovated building and the entire town common, which was placed on the Na tional Register of His toric Places in 2016.