Dublin Public Library to restore historic copper gutters

  • Copper gutters, original to the Dublin Public Library, were discovered in a crawl space last year, and are being reproduced to be restored to the front of the library this spring. Courtesy photo—

  • Copper gutters, original to the Dublin Public Library, were discovered in a crawl space last year, and are being reproduced to be restored to the front of the library this spring. Courtesy photo—

  • A historical photo of Dublin Public Library. Courtesy photo—

  • A historical photo of Dublin Public Library. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/19/2021 11:21:57 AM

A year ago, Library Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Cayford entered a crawl space under the Dublin Public Library with a contractor to check the drainage, and spotted some buried treasure – copper spouts and gutters that were once original to the library.

She was immediately fascinated, Cayford said, and later went back to bring them out to show to Lisa Foote at the Dublin Historical Society. Foote dug up old photos of the library, preserved in historic black-and-white postcards, which show the copper gutters were once on the front of the building.

With the originals still mostly intact, though not really fit for restoration themselves, Cayford said she began the process of getting them replicated and put back onto the building.

“I love history and I love the beautiful artifacts old buildings can have,” Cayford said. “Here, we had the original ones that we could copy. And they are a part of the library that is functional, as well as beautiful.”

To make those replicas, Cayford reached out to metal craftsmen Ed and Peter Packard, whose work has been featured on the television show “This Old House,” to recreate the elaborate catch basins and down spout. However, to complete the work would take about $10,000, so Cayford began looking into grants to help cover the cost, and applied the the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts for $9,600 for the reproductions.

The grant was awarded this fall, and the Packards will craft the replicas over the winter to be installed on the library this spring.

Cayford said water-control issues have been plaguing the library for years – indeed, it was a drainage project intended to stop leaking in the basement that led her to discover the historic gutters in the first place.

“We get just a ton of water off the roof. It’s been ponding on the lawn around the library. We’ve had a terrible water problem,” Cayford said.

Prior to the new drainage work, Cayford said, water was coming through the basement roof, and had caused a mold problem, which was thankfully restricted to the basement level and didn’t affect patrons.

While the water is now being directed away from the building’s foundation, Cayford said replacing the gutters will also help continue the library’s efforts at water control. 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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