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Belmont's Historic Library Marks 85th Year

BELMONT — Officials from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources (DHR) recently visited Belmont Village and the treasured Main Street public library, with congratulations on its 85th year. Welcomed by Librarian Becky Albert, the special guests included Peter Michaud and Mary Kate Ryan. Ms. Albert previewed a foundry replica of a plaque noting the Library's listing on the National Register of Historic Places, funded by the Belmont Heritage Commission.
Michaud, who is the National Register, Preservation Tax Incentives and Easements Coordinator, said the library was "an impressive space with truly special architectural details in its paneling and fireplaces, open with its lofty ceiling, yet still intimate." Along with Ms. Ryan, State Survey Coordinator for the DHR, they also viewed the Bandstand and its restoration progress.
The 85th year milestone will be marked throughout the year, according to Library Trustee Chairman Mary Louise Charnley. "Besides our history we look forward to developing the best strategy for future decades," she said.
Belmont has several buildings and structures, including the 1908 Bandstand, have been determined eligible by the State Historic Preservation Officer for the National Register of Historic Places. Only the "new" Library is currently listed, and received that status in 1985 for architectural and engineering distinction. The Bandstand was first moved in 1927 to make room for its construction, and has long been a venue for seasonal Library activities and programs.
The Belmont public library tradition dates to the early 1890s and exceptional generosity of Moses and John Sargent and George and Walter Duffy, among other community leaders and mill owner-executives. According to Wallace Rhodes, author of "Reminiscences of a New Hampshire Town" the Belmont Centennial history, mill owners and executives played central roles in establishing, funding and overseeing in three different Village locations. The Library collection started with a donation of $400 worth of books from Amory Lawrence, supplemented by $100. from the State of New Hampshire and published its first annual report in 1894. Earliest locations were all in the Village including the Johnson Block and New Hose House, storing firefighting apparatus of the era.
Besides Ms. Charnley, current Library Trustees include Marilyn Fowler and Diana Johnson.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 09:16

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Cake Auction Benefits Cub Scout Pack 242

GILMANTON — The Gilmanton Cub Scout Pack 242, a nonprofit, will host a cake auction on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the old town hall in Gilmanton Iron Works to raise money for the pack's overnight trip to the Montshire Museum in March.

For more information, including how to donate a cake, contact Patty Cameron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; or Cameron Hamel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 496-5379.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:25

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Share Fair attracts wide variety of exhibitors

LACONIA — Twenty-six exhibitors have registered to participate in the Share Fair on Saturday, February 15 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Belknap Mill in Laconia. Hosted by the Mill and co-sponsored by the Mill and the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, this event is designed to retrieve, preserve, and share the core tangible elements of family and community history.
According to Judy Buswell, a member of the planning committee, "The entire third floor of the Mill will be full of interesting objects, items, artifacts, and ephemera that tell many interesting stories from the past."
Featured is a display by 93-year old Helen Holbrook from Laconia who has cookbooks that belonged to her Aunt Maude Bickford. Maude raised Helen from the age of seven, while also running Maude's Lunch, a popular destination that was located across from the Outlet Mall in Tilton. In addition to the recipes contributed by Maude for the cookbook that was prepared by the ladies of the Northfield Friendship Grange, this book also explains how to cook "Poor Man's Turkey" by replacing turkey with hotdogs.

Helen will be joined by eleven other individuals from Sanbornton, Gilford, Belmont, and Laconia who will share interesting historical items, photos, clothing, journals and more from their own family possessions. Included is Rosemary Kacprzynski, of Gilford, who will display items from her maternal grandparents who immigrated to the US in 1896 from Lipari, Italy, an island north of Sicily.
Members of four prominent families that shaped the history and growth of Laconia, the Jewett, the O'Shea, the Irwin, and the Perley families, will exhibit items from their collections. Current and past Laconia businesses including Proctor Lakehouse Cottages, Wilkinson Beane Funeral Home, The Taylor Community, LRGHealthcare, and the Laconia Shoe Company will each host exhibits. Three former
Mills: the Busiel, Belknap, and Guild Mills, will share from their early history. Local historian, Warren Huse, will have a display that traces urban renewal in downtown Laconia.
Visitors will have opportunities to learn about archival storage materials in a display hosted by Brenda Kean, the Executive Director of the Laconia Historical Society, and how to begin genealogical research in an exhibit hosted by Don and Nancy Stephenson.
"We're looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors to this event," says Warren Clement who will facilitate a discussion with exhibitors and visitors at the end of the morning. "We hope that everyone coming away from this event will want to preserve their own family stories. After that, we're all open to the next step."
This event is free and open to the public. For more information call Judy at 524-6580 or Warren at 520-7650.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:13

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PSU professor’s book about Hurricane of 1938 wins prestigious history award

PLYMOUTH — An international atmospheric research group has recognized Plymouth State University Meteorology Professor Lourdes Avilés with their 2013 Choice History Award for her book about the Great Hurricane of 1938, Taken by Storm, 1938: A Social and Meteorological History of the Great New England Hurricane. The Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) presented their award to Avilés at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting February 5 in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I am honored and incredibly excited to receive this recognition," said Avilés. "I am lucky to work at such a supportive University that not only allows me the freedom to pursue my scholarly passions but also celebrates them. Receiving an international award from the Atmospheric Science Librarians association means a great deal to me."

In writing the book, Avilés described the meteorological conditions that led to the storm, New England's worst natural catastrophe, as well as comparing the forecasting and warning methods used in 1938 to modern day technology such as weather observation networks based on satellites, sophisticated hurricane forecasting computer models and mass media communication warning about potentially severe weather.

The book focuses on what actually occurred seventy-five years ago as the powerful storm shot north toward a densely populated area that was unprepared. As a result of what became known as the Great New England Hurricane, weather forecasting, meteorology, and storm preparation, already in transition, were radically transformed.

"Students were fortunate to work with Professor Aviles as she produced this landmark study of a storm that people across New England still discuss," said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. "The book offers an insightful analysis of the science and also of the human side of what occurred, as resilient New Englanders endured disaster and met challenges with courage."

Taken by Storm, 1938: A Social and Meteorological History of the Great New England Hurricane is published by the American Meteorological Society and is available at bookstores and online. Avilés is a member of the AMS History Committee on the History of Atmospheric Science and the AMS Board on Higher Education.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:37

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