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Ceremony honors Manchester's past

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 17. 2014 10:31PM
David and Kim Hughes talk about the homeowners award-winning house on Oak Street during the annual Manchester Historic Association Preservation Awards Dinner held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on Thursday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Sure, Kim and David Hughes did the usual work one would expect of an honoree at Thursday night’s 22nd annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony at the Radisson Hotel.

Remove asphalt shingled roof and replace it with a replica of the original slate and copper? Check. Restore the original hardwood floors and remove, in Kim Hughes’ words, the “ugly, ugly wallpaper” to replace it with original wallpaper? Yep.

But the highlight of their restoration of their 140-year-old 17 Oak St. home was found under the foot of a clawfoot tub.

“I found an old gold tooth!” Kim Hughes said with what her husband described as her usual exuberance. “It was so cool, but it was disgusting. I sold it and got a bunch of money.”

She said that, after having moved 36 times in her life, she was “done” and wanted an old house. But she said she was surprised by the award, presented at the ceremony by the Manchester Historic Association, because she never applied for it.

The children of a neighbor, local radio host Richard Girard, took a tour of her home several months ago, she said. Girard suggested she call the association. She did, but her husband said they never thought the visits from association staff would result in Thursday night’s award.

“We just wanted to make it look better and original,” David Hughes said.

The association gave out nine awards Thursday night that ranged from the Hughes’ homeowner’s award to honors for adaptive reuse of a building, restoring a historic site and restoring a historic building.

Matt Kfoury, president of the Manchester Historic Association board of trustees, said the association wants to support those who strive to maintain the city’s historic buildings.

“It’s to honor some of the historical value of some of the buildings in Manchester and to promote, preserve and ensure the history of Manchester,” he said.

Regis Chagnon and Kay Skilogianis said they were similarly surprised when told the association had selected their business, Kay’s Bakery, for the “traditional trade” award.

The bakery, featuring Greek and American pastries, cakes and pies made from chicken or pork, has been in business for 27 years and survived competition from large supermarkets by continuing to make all of their products by hand, Chagnon said.

“We’re old fashioned,” he said. “We like to put out a lot of fresh stuff every day,” he said.

The other honorees were: Friends of Stark Park, which received the restoration of a historic site award for the Stark Family Gravesite restoration project; Brady Sullivan Properties, given the adaptive reuse award for the lofts at Mill Number One; the city of Manchester, which received two awards for renovating Bakersville Elementary School and the Dearborn Memorial Hall/Odd Fellows Hall; the Saidel family, which received the stewardship of a historic family business award for Merrimack Street Volvo; St. Mary’s Bank, given the design award for its new headquarters building; and former board member Elizabeth L. LaRocca, who received the leadership and advocacy award.

History Manchester

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