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Lebanon officials to discuss Dana House donation

Union Leader Correspondent

April 16. 2018 8:46PM

LEBANON — City Councilors are holding a public hearing Wednesday night on whether the city should accept a $25,000 donation that would go toward the restoration and preservation of the Dana House.

Located on Elm Street West in West Lebanon, the Dana House was built in 1765 and is regarded as the oldest standing building in the city.

For the past few decades the historic building has been city-owned and cared for by volunteers from various committees, including the Lebanon Heritage Commission and Lebanon Historical Society. In 2004, the house was listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.

The city’s late historian, Robert H. Leavitt, bestowed a $25,000 donation to the Lebanon Historical Society in April 2000 for “the restoration, maintenance and repair of the Dana House.” At the time the Historical Society opened a certificate of deposit to hold the funds for future use. The Historical Society would now like to disburse the funds, but needs City Council approval in order for the Heritage Commission to accept the money.

Lebanon historians are hoping the donation can be put to work for a renovation effort that could possibly open the building up to more public uses such as a museum, meeting space or educational facility, according to current City Historian Edward Ashey.

“It is a good example of an 18th century cape which has undergone minimal alterations over the past 200 years,” according to the Lebanon Historical Society.

The house hosts a few summer meetings, but goes unused most of the year because the building is unheated.

The house was the pioneer home to Jonathan Dana and his family, the home’s first residents as well as some of the city’s earliest settlers.

The Dana House and Leavitt’s donation will be discussed by the City Council at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in City Hall.

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