LACONIA — The Belknap Mill, one of 39 grant recipients in this year's round of Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) funding awards, will now be able to complete its cupola restoration project that began in 2012.
The Mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had received an LCHIP grant at that time to do exterior work that would address a water leakage problem caused by a rotting foundation under the cupola housing. With additional support from Bank of New Hampshire, the Mill began repair and restoration work on the cupola, base, clerestory, main roof, and end gables. The water problem was corrected but more work remained.
During the repair project, workers discovered that the finial that holds the weathervane also had seriously deteriorated. Because the finial was original to the building and had to be reproduced in the same wood and the same historic scale and finish, that work was very expensive. The flagpole which, while not original, was part of the Mill's image, since it had been there for so long, also needed repair.
That is the work that now will be completed, thanks to the LCHIP grant. Executive Director Denise Sharlow said the grant will cover the milling of the finial, the replacement of the flagpole, and the cost of hiring a crane to install it all. The Mill hopes to complete the project at the beginning of the summer.
LCHIP announced the grant as part of a ceremony honoring all of this year's grant recipients, including projects in Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Gilford, Meredith, and Sanbornton.