By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
NEW HAMPTON — The 191-year-old Grange Hall has been reduced to a big pile of scrap wood.
Town officials said workers knocked down the building without incident on Wednesday and Thursday, a week after the Board of Selectmen approved a demolition permit.
The New Hampton Community Church, which owned the building, plans to replace it with a parking lot.
On July 25, voters rejected a proposal to acquire the unused building and move it two miles to a position alongside the 228-year-old New Hampton Town House.
Pastor Scott Mitchell said the high cost of rehabilitating the building convinced the church, which acquired the Grange Hall in 1995, that it would be best to demolish it. He said the church “desperately needs parking.”
The church also owns the 217-year-old Dana Meeting House, where services are held once a year in conjunction with Old Home Days.
The Grange Hall comprised 3,600 square feet in two-and-a-half stories.
A town proposal to save the building was backed by people who saw it as an important part of New Hampton's history and that it could have a new life as a community multi-purpose building.
Opponents said it was unlikely the building would get much use after the move, and they objected to initial and ongoing costs.
The Grange Hall had stood in three different locations. It was first built and used as a chapel next to the Town House, then was used for classrooms for the Institute in the Village and then it was brought to its last location on Main Street, where it was used for about 85 years as a Grange Hall.
The New Hampton Grange Hall before it was torn down this week. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)
The historic New Hampton Grange Hall was demolished and . Town residents did not support an effort to save the unused building. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)
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