Skilled trades workforce cited among ‘Seven to Save’ resources under threat

NH Preservation Alliance expands annual list of landmarks to include labor shortage

Building Trades Kevin Fife Stone Wall WorkshopConstruction industry employers throughout New Hampshire have long been pointing out the shortage of skilled tradespeople. And this year, The NH Preservation Alliance, which annually points out historic resources under threat on its “Seven to Save” list, has taken an unusual step: It lists that shortage as one of the seven needing attention.

In its announcement, the organization – which usually lists historic structures and related landmarks among the “Seven to Save” – says, used its platform to point out he dire need of

skilled tradespeople.

“If we don’t address the skills gap and increasing median ages, we’ll limit preservation activity, lose historic resources, and lose valuable knowledge about traditional building methods – an important part of our economy,” the NHPA noted in its announcement of this year’s list.

Flying Yankee

The Flying Yankee

Associated Builders and Contractors has estimated that the construction industry will need an additional 650,000 workers – the vast majority skilled tradespeople – on top of its normal hiring process.

Also on the list this year are an icon of the Granite State transportation history, a historic tavern and three landmarks in small towns with populations of about 1,000 people. All the endangered structures need new or revived uses and transformative investment to become viable community assets again, the organization said. They are:

  • Bean Tavern, Raymond, a long-vacant circa 1750 landmark purchased by the town to save it when it was advertised as “land only” and then voted to extend the historic district to include it. The listing is seen as giving a boost to the effort to meet pressing needs like a new roof. The tavern is featured on the town seal.
  • Carroll County Courthouse, Ossipee, which needs a new use, The county commissioners say they support the listing to help provide some needed energy and visibility to their efforts after the Ossipee Historical Society recently relinquished the 1916 building back to the county, when the vision of a county-wide historical museum and research center fell through.
  • The Flying Yankee, currently stored in Lincoln, needs a new home, a transfer of ownership, and rehabilitation investments before it can once again ride the rails. The Flying Yankee Association, the friends group associated with the DOT-owned resource, says the Seven to Save listing to help revive its efforts.
    Newington School

    Stone School, Newington

  • Hill Center Church, built in 1800 with post-Toleration Act changes made in 1847. The nonprofit charged with preserving the National Register-listed landmark hopes to revive their efforts fifty years after the building’s last restoration campaign. In addition to cosmetic work, the church also needs new programming and activity to keep it in the minds of Hill residents.
  • St. John’s Methodist Church, Jefferson, a highly visible 1860s landmark on Route 2, will soon be vacated by the local historical society and revert back to the Methodist conference. The church will need creative matchmaking for its new use and a fair amount of investment. Its location close to the road, the site’s topography, and the structural concerns are all challenges.
  • Stone School, Newington, a 1920 National Register-listed school was recently condemned. It sits in the civic center of the town, adjacent to the Pease International Airport. Some in town want the property for a new fire station complex.
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