Historic Association honors preservation projects
MANCHESTER — A Queen City landmark celebrating its 100th anniversary was among those honored Thursday night by the Manchester Historic Association.
The association recognized five honorees during its 25th annual Historic Preservation Awards, including an award for the Puritan Backroom Restaurant at 245 Hooksett Road, celebrating 100 years of operation in 2017.
The event was held at the historic Masonic Temple at 1505 Elm St.
The Historic Preservation Awards program recognizes and supports the efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation of buildings, neighborhoods, traditions and other historic resources in the Queen City.
In addition to the award for the Puritan Backroom, the 25th Annual Historic Preservation Award honorees were:
• Homeowner’s Award — Craig and Mary Kate Donais, for restoration performed on their home at 39 Buzzell St.
• Neighborhood Preservation Award — Mark and Maryellen Biletch, for restoration and preservation of their home at 2422 Elm St.
• Leadership and Advocacy Award — Preservation Architect Fred Matuszewski
• Adaptive Reuse Award — Bill Binnie and the Carlisle Capital Corporation, for the conversion of the former Amoskeag Bank building at 875 Elm St.
Matuszewski, who said he has had an office in Manchester since the mid-1980s, said he was honored to be recognized.
“I don’t view preservation as a sentimental issue,” said Matuszewski. “I view it as a practical issue. The Millyard is now fully populated by companies, and guys like Bill Binnie buying old buildings and converting them into apartments. It fosters pride. The city has social issues, but these continued efforts to keep the city’s past alive is extremely important.”
Craig and Mary Kate Donais said maintaining the historic character of their Victorian home on Buzzell Street has been a labor of love.
“It’s been a lot of work, like rewiring light fixtures for today’s standards,” said Craig Donais. “We started to bring the house back to what it was — or what it could have been — back then.”
“When I was a teenager I loved Victorian homes, and hoped one day maybe I would own one,” said Mary Kate Donais. “Both of us were of the same mind in tackling the job. We moved some things out and re-purposed them. We removed a lot of doors, but saved the door knobs, and now those are being used to hang curtains. We are trying to keep a lot of the original but trying to make it function better for a modern family.”
The honorary co-chairmen for the Historic Preservation Awards were the father-and-son duo of Dick and Alex Anagnost from the Anagnost Companies.
Founded in 1896, the Manchester Historic Association is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization with the mission to collect, preserve and share the history of Manchester.
The association operates the Millyard Museum and the Research Center, both of which are open to the public.
For more information, call 622-7531 or visit www.manchester historic.org.