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Peterborough, Hancock buildings recognized by N.H. Preservation Alliance

  • Hancock Meetinghouse Staff Photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The G.A.R. Hall in Peterborough, now the home of Post and Beam Brewing. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/17/2019 1:31:17 PM

Work to restore two Monadnock landmarks was recently recognized by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

The N.H. Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization that assists with revitalizing historic buildings, through grants and educational programs and workshops. And annually, it recognizes outstanding preservation efforts. This year, the Hancock Meeting House and Post and Beam Brewing, located in Peterborough’s former G.A.R. Hall, were recognized, along with eight other preservation or restoration projects.

All ten recipients were honored in a ceremony on May 31 at the Littleton Opera House.

The Hancock Meetinghouse was honored for “high-quality stewardship,” while Post and Beam Brewery was awarded for “transformative community development.”

Hancock Meetinghouse and First Congregational Church

Meetinghouses in New England were commonly built to be a communal building used both for church services and town business. These days, that’s a rare combination. There are only two Meetinghouses in the state that are used for shared town and church business. One of them is the Hancock Meetinghouse and First Congregational Church.

“It really is an iconic building in town,” said Dave Drasba, a Hancock architect who assisted in the Meetinghouse’s restoration. “It dominates the skyline. It’s just near and dear to people’s heart.”

The building was built in 1820 in the Hancock village and hasn’t undergone any serious renovations since 1851 when the Meetinghouse was moved across the street, and the building was divided into two floors, with town business taking place on the first floor and church held on the second floor.

Over the past several years, there has been a number of restoration and repair projects done on the building, including structural repairs, adding an elevator and wheelchair accessibility to the first floor, upgrading the electrical systems, installing a new slate roof and repair and painting of the exterior, and restoration of some of the exterior architectural features, including the weathervane, balustrades and finials, restoring the original windows.

The work was done in phases from 2014 to 2018 and included several state grants as well as funds approved by residents at Town Meeting – generally, with strong approval, Drasba said.

“It just goes to show how important that building is to residents here,” he said.

Post and Beam Brewing

The building, now home to a microbrewery, was originally the Peterborough Academy. It was later used as a meeting hall for veterans of the Civil War, then a post for the American Legion, and then a teen center.

But for several years, it remained empty, until voters gave approval to sell the building in 2013, putting it on the open market – but not without adding on requirements to preserve the historic structure.

When Erika Rosenfeld and Jeffrey Odland purchased the G.A.R. Hall in 2017, it came with a stipulation: There was a preservation easement on the building that forbid any alteration of its exterior that would affect its architectural significance. But the building needed serious structural work.

Since then the building has had multiple repairs, including improved access for people with disabilities, interior renovations – much of which was done by Rosenfeld herself – adding a geothermal heating system.

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


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