To The Daily Sun,
OK, OK, I'll admit it. I have a mild addiction to Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee (medium, one Splenda and milk, please). I'm pretty sure my habit of swinging in to the Union Avenue drive-through has supported at least replacement windows in the beautiful Hathaway House — first across the street and then next door. I've also frequented the Dunkin' Donuts shops on the South Side of Laconia and the ones dotting the Gilford, Belmont and Alton landscapes. However, because I feared for the Hathaway House, the last few months, I have taken my trip for coffee down the Avenue to #644 and into Aroma Joe's. I have found their coffee has a fuller, more robust flavor than Dunkin's (I never thought I would say that)! Yes, unfortunately, my iced habit there is more expensive and Aroma Joe's does not offer senior discounts, of which I have become a great fan! However, I feel it is important to support those businesses that support Laconia.
The folks who purchased the property for Dunkin's promised us, the City on the Lakes, that they would preserve and protect one of our gems of treasure here. That promise stated that Cafua Management would preserve the Hathaway House. Cafua's representative Greg Nolan assured the city that this lovely structure would be preserved, promising that the building would be additionally protected by a fire alarm and a fire suppression system.
Recently, Laconia lost another beautiful structure when Cantin's Chevrolet dealership decided it needed space for another six cars. Was that really necessary?
It's time for Laconia to come together and preserve what is left of our structural heritage. Last night, I attended a presentation held at The Belknap Mill featuring New Hampshire's own Rebecca Rule. I was seated next to a gentleman from the Tilton Veteran's Home who sat in his wheelchair marveling at the brick and mortar of The Mill. Thanks to a handful of devoted Laconia citizens and business owners, this building was saved from the wrecking ball more than 40 years ago and this year celebrates its 190th birthday. Countless school children have toured the mill, learning of their ancestor's work history and learning to operate the hosiery machinery as their great, great's did so many generations ago. Many celebrations, exhibits, and concerts are held at The Belknap Mill throughout the year. I am grateful for those who fought to protect this incredible mill. Back in the 70s our family restored a stagecoach inn originally built in 1785 on Parade Road called The Davenport Tavern (owned at one time by Isaac Currier). It wasn't easy but knowing that we saved this fine historical building for Laconia is greatly satisfying. We've left a little piece of history here that is unique only to Laconia.
So, dear Heritage Committee, yes, I will continue to boycott Dunkin' Donuts, I'll sign your petition, I'll march in protest of this demolition and, although I said I was finished being on boards and committees, sign me up for yours! And to Cafua Management, do the right thing. Honor your word. Thank you.
Catherine M. Tokarz