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June 2, 2014

Kingston preserves some property, can't fund others

Kingston succeeds with some buildings, fails with others

KINGSTON — Historic preservation in one of the Granite State’s oldest towns has been a story of triumph for some sites, tribulation for others.

The 115-year-old Nichols Memorial Library is seeing new life as a research library and museum. It was the town’s public library After until Kingston Community Library opened in 2012.

Visible from Nichols’ front steps, the town bandstand is also seeing about $35,000 worth of restoration work this year.

But right around the corner from both sites, the Grace Daley House and Sanborn Seminary remain in limbo with no dollars — or direction — to save them.

Nichols Library is writing itself a new chapter after a grand reopening as a research library and museum earlier this month, library trustee Leslie Hume said.

“Lots of people come to Kingston to research their family history,” Hume said.

That’s because Kingston is the sixth oldest town in New Hampshire. Many families have ties to the community and its history, Hume said.

The library is now open on Wednesdays from 9 to noon, when it is staffed by five to eight archival volunteers, Hume said.

While Nichols Library isn’t the resource it used to be, today’s repurposing fits it nicely, Kingston Community Library director Charlotte Arredondo said.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” she said. “It’s a way to keep a historic building in town and keep the history in that historic building.”

The work on the bandstand on the Plains will be paid in part by a $17,500 matching grant from the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

“We’re looking at this as a real community project to bring our bandstand back,” Heritage Commission Chairman Debra Powers said.

That work will start later this year, with a formal grand reopening slated for next spring, she said.

But the history of two other nearby properties is at risk.

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