To The Daily Sun,
This letter is in response to a letter written by Jessica Alward, which appeared in the Nov. 4 edition of The Daily Sun.
It is a little-known fact that the Hathaway House was deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places just a few weeks before its demolition. In order for a property to become eligible for the National Register, an extensive survey must be compiled detailing the history of the property, and it must be proven that the property has historical significance. The survey prepared on the Hathaway House was conducted by an expert in the field of history and preservation. Their findings found that the property was historically significant in two of the five categories that prove significance and was a surviving, rare example of domestic architecture in the area.
It is true that the exterior of the Hathaway House was in disrepair. However, the lack of maintenance was a human failure, not the failure of the building. Prior to its demolition several individuals were allowed to tour the interior of the house. They found it to be in pristine condition with original features dating back to the 1800s, and a hand-painted mural that filled one of the walls.
A plan had been devised to move the Hathaway House from Union Avenue to a nearby lot without using taxpayers' dollars. The relocation included the restoration of the exterior of the house and interior space being utilized as a museum and also rental space for new or existing businesses that may have wanted a unique and historical place in which to locate their establishments. The plan was two-fold and offered a positive solution for both sides: the area where it once stood would have been cleared for commercial space, and a significant piece of Laconia's history would have been preserved.
Laconia would do well to carefully study successful, prosperous communities, such as Boston, Portsmouth, and Meredith. These communities have done an impressive job of preserving and using their historical buildings for the benefit of today's businesses and for the community in general. They are also the communities that people to flock to because of their rich cultural environment — which includes the careful preservation of their history.
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