Bandstand becomes centerpiece of a salute to historic preservation – (Winnisquam Echo 10.2.14)


BELMONT — Historic preservation was saluted last Sunday afternoon, with special emphasis on the Belmont Bandstand, which was hailed by retired State Architectural Historian James Garvin as a “magnificent example of historic preservation.” In his praise, Garvin also called Belmont Heritage Commission vice chairman and Town Historian Wallace Rhodes a “hero and a savior” for his earlier work to save the Belmont Mill building, and thanked chairman Linda Frawley for being the “spark plug” and a hero in her own right for the preservation of the 106-year-old bandstand. Garvin noted that the Town of New Boston so admires the bandstand that they have set out to build a reproduction of Belmont’s landmark for their own town. “Now, that’s a tribute. It’s proof of the validity and value of all you have done in this community,” he told the residents assembled in front of the bandstand. In addition to Garvin, other local historians and preservation advocates were on hand for the event along with Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. Van Ostern brought his wife and children and even the family dog to the celebration. “Standing here today reminds me that we have such rich pasts and our futures are promising,” said Van Ostern. On behalf of the 239-year-old Executive Council, historic in its own right, he also offered congratulations from his fellow councilors and Gov. Margaret Hassan. Other public officials who attended were Belmont Selectmen Jon Pike and Ron Cormier, State Senator Andrew Hosmer, and State Representatives Michael Sylvia and Leigh Webb. During the event, Selectman Cormier revealed a new feature that will tie the past with the present through a QR (Quick Response) code that will be placed on the bandstand. When the bar code is swiped with any electronic Smart Device people will then be able to learn the history of the structure through a new Web site, As another highlight, Amy Dixon of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program presented the Historic Commission with a bronzed plaque acknowledging LCHIP’s support and funding of the structure. The Heritage Commission was also congratulated on their tenth anniversary by Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and praised for all they have brought to the town of Belmont since their creation. “What a great way to celebrate ten years,” she said. In closing, Frawley presented Garvin with a stained glass ornament of the Belmont Mill Building and also recognized historic restoration expert JR Graton and painter John Thompson, who have taken a big part in the restoration, with the last of the stained glass ornaments featuring the bandstand. The ornaments were all a part of the community fundraising efforts by the Heritage Commission over the past few years. As a part of the ceremonies Belmont Boy and Girl Scouts presented the flags and, bringing music back to the village last weekend, were the boys and girls of Belmont Middle School and Canterbury Elementary School. The children, led by BMS music director Carlos Martinez, entertained the crowds by singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “God Bless America.”&nbsp