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October 23, 2013

N.H. preservation groups puts Sanborn Seminary, Grange on list to save

Seven to Save

The shuttered Sanborn Seminary in Kingston made the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s “Seven to Save” list.

So did the state’s Granges, including the imperiled Granite State Grange No. 149 in Newton.

The list, issued annually by the alliance, highlights endangered historic landmarks.

Sanborn Seminary, the former high school owned by the school district, is vacant. Voters in 2012 rejected a $2.19 million warrant article to renovate the seminary.

“That is a very nice thing to happen,” Kingston Heritage Commissioner Robert Bean said of the seminary’s selection. “It needs as much publicity as it can get in order to be saved. This is all to the good.”

It was welcome news in town.

“That’s great,” Commissioner Ernie Landry said. “It was built in 1883 and is one of the few remaining schools in the state built in the victorian, gothic style. It’s iconic.”

Many people who grew up in town went to Sanborn Seminary, Bean said.

“It’s a noteworthy building for its architecture, style and impact in the center of town,” he said.

The alliance said dozens of Granges statewide are struggling to maintain aging buildings, preserve cultural traditions and attract new sources of support.

The alliance said it is a “daunting challenge” that cooperative action may solve.

State Grange president Jim Tetreault said the designation represents a great opportunity for the state Grange and local Granges that own their own halls.

“It will bring expert assistance in grant writing, as well as a partnership with a group that cares about historical buildings which many of our Grange halls throughout the state are,” Tetreault said.

The announcement came as a local Grange’s future is in doubt.

Jim Doggett, master of the Grange in Newton, said it will bring a proposal before state leaders, asking them for approval to sell the building and put the proceeds into scholarships.

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