PORTSMOUTH — With a historic cottage in danger of being demolished, the preservation advocacy arm of Portsmouth Historical Society is stepping in to try to save the building.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests in Concord is working with Portsmouth architect Brian Murphy and a structural engineer to determine the feasibility of renovating the home’s Music Room for $750,000 while removing the main part of Carey Cottage at Creek Farm.
Jack Savage, vice president of communications and outreach, acknowledged last month that some continue to hope that the entire building could be saved.
“We understand the sentiment, but at this point I think we have to acknowledge that the likelihood of finding someone willing to contribute $3-$4 million for a use consistent with the intent of the donor is very low,” Savage said in a statement.
On Wednesday, leaders at Portsmouth Advocates announced they are working to save the building and have nominated Creek Farm to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list.
They say the cottage is an outstanding example of the summer home movement in New Hampshire and a rare survivor of the artistic colony at Little Harbor. It also played a vital role in the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth as the Carey family entertained Russian and Japanese diplomats at Creek Farm during negotiations at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
“Given the building’s architectural significance, the story of the Little Harbor Colony and its association with the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, we believe that it has a great chance of making the list,” preservationist Kerry Vautrot said in a statement.
Members of Portsmouth Advocates said that Wentworth-By-the-Sea Hotel in New Castle was saved after being added to the list in 1996, making it eligible for grants.
“As long as the Forest Society is willing to consider viable alternatives to demolition, Advocates and our other preservation partners are ready to lend our assistance and expertise to help identify a solution that can balance preservation and conservation,” Vautrot said.
The “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list for 2019 will be announced May 30.