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Cheshire County Historical Society to buy Keene's Bruder House

Union Leader Correspondent

January 24. 2018 11:32PM
The Bruder House, built in 1839, is located adjacent to the Historical Society of Cheshire County's Wyman Tavern Museum on Keene's Main Street. (COURTESY)

KEENE — The Historical Society of Cheshire County is moving forward with plans to acquire the Keene State College-owned Bruder House on Main Street.

The sale of the historical house has been planned for many years and is not part of the college’s recent measure to cut costs, KSC spokesperson Kelly Ricaurte said Wednesday.

The house that sits next to the society’s Wyman Tavern will be used to accommodate the historical society’s expanded range of educational and cultural programs. The purchase is part of an overall mission of the historical society trustees to transform the Wyman Tavern property into a cultural heritage center, according to the society’s announcement of the purchase.

“The vision is focused on providing relevance and sense of place,” Director Alan Rumrill said. “The place has certainly been shaped by its history, but should be more broadly understood by wider audiences in terms of its art, its music, its literature, its crafts, its industries, and its social fabric.”

The Bruder House is a brick dwelling built in 1839. The Wyman Tavern is a 1762 wood frame structure that the historical society operates as a period house museum.

The Bruder House had been used as a residence hall by Keene State College many years ago, but has long since been used as a storage building.

When college officials started talking about selling the building, the historical society took a closer look.

“This goes back about five years when they first started discussing it, and the historical society realized we had some space needs, so we approached Keene State College to see if there was any possibility there,” Rick Swanson, the historical society’s director of development, said on Wednesday.

Swanson said the historical society is not allowed to discuss the sale price, per a condition in the selling agreement; however, the funds for the purchase come from the $2.4 million the historical society recently raised as part of a capital campaign to repair, improve, and expand its facilities.

Ricaurte said Keene State signed an intent to purchase agreement with the historical society in 2015 to help facilitate its fundraising efforts. She added that the sale price was based on “an independent property appraisal conducted in 2017 and was consistent with all University System of NH guidelines for property disposal.”

More than 215 individuals, couples, private companies and foundations contributed to the capital campaign, as well as the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

Along with the purchase of the Bruder House, the capital campaign also include plans for the historical rehabilitation of the Wyman Tavern and repairs to the historical society’s headquarters known as the Ball Mansion, a former private home built in 1870.

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