The Haverhill Historical Society has received a grant of $10,000 from LCHIP, the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, the Society has announced. This is the second grant LCHIP has awarded to support preservation work on Pearson Hall, one of the most significant academic structures to survive in New Hampshire.
The new LCHIP grant will help the Historical Society complete the exterior restoration of Pearson. Work will begin in 2013 and will include removal of the remnants of a former addition, restoration of the brickwork, reopening of windows and door spaces, and installation of new windows and doors to match the rest of the building. A replica of the original weathervane, crafted by board member Dick Ekwall, will also be installed.
The Historical Society ultimately plans to reopen a fully renovated Pearson Hall as a regional history museum.
Built for the Haverhill Academy in 1816, Pearson Hall initially housed both the academy and, until 1846, the Grafton County courts. Over time, the academy also shared Pearson with a library, Methodist worship hall, and Masonic meeting place. The building remained part of the local school system until 1992.
Pearson Hall was one of only eighteen projects to receive LCHIP funding in the 2012 round of grants. LCHIP is an independent state authority that provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to protect and preserve the state's most important natural, cultural and historic resources. The grants just awarded will support protection of twelve historic structures dating from 1709 to 1950 and the permanent conservation of 2904 acres.
Incorporated in 1794, Haverhill Academy represented a pioneering stage of private secondary education. Pearson Hall, with a largely intact exterior and with some original features surviving on the interior, is one of a small group of New Hampshire academy structures to survive from the early 1800s; others include Atkinson Academy (1803), Portsmouth Academy (1809), and Pinkerton Academy building (1814) in Derry.
"Pearson Hall is a significant feature in both the history and the landscape of Haverhill," notes Historical Society president Edith Celley; "we look forward to giving the building a new life as a history museum and conservation center."
Information is also available at the Society's web site at