PRESERVING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE.
VOLUME 51 Fall Winter 2021/2022
The Maynesboro Stud Barn
The Maynesboro Stud Barn rehabilitation/restoration project was completed on November 09, 2021. This ends an 18-year project with a total cost of $221,000 and 2,500 hours of volunteer labor worth about $65,000. In 2002 Renney Morneau, Maurice Lavertue and June Kelliher formed a committee and persuaded the Berlin Industrial Development and Park Authority (BIDPA) to give the Brown Company Barns with 2.83 acres of land to the Berlin & Coos County Historical Society (BCCHS). BCCHS took possession on May29, 2003. BIDPA also provided $10,000 in seed money to begin the process of saving the two Brown Company Barns. The Brown Company Barn committee provided the impetus for this project by winning a $50,000 grant from the New Hampshire Land & Community Investment Program (LCHIP) and raising matching funds. This initial phase saved the barn from collapse by repairing the super structure of the roof and covering it with a standing seam steel roof. The current and final $102,000 project was supported with grants of $50,000 from LCHIP, $20,000 from the Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and $8,700 from the 1776 Project of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. Installation of a drainage system remains to be done as part of this last project.
The following is a list of the work done on the Maynesboro Stud barn over the past 18 years: Replaced about 75% of the roof decking and covered it with a standing seam steel roof. Installed interior hurricane braces; replaced all 36 Windows; replaced 1,000 square feet of floor planking on the main level; electrical updates; replaced 900 square feet of elevated wood flooring in the cellar; installed interior drainage system with dry well and sump pump; replaced 20 missing wind braces; replaced entry doors; replaced the copula; scraped and painted the entire barn and 36 windows.
About $160,000 of this 18-year, $221,000 project was financed by grants and targeted donations. The remaining resources were BCCHS funds earned over the years by the hard work of the board and the many volunteers, with the barn sales providing a major source of revenue. BCCHS rents storage space for boats and trailers during the winter months providing much needed revenue for the continuing upkeep of the Brown Company Barns. We thank everyone who provided both financial and volunteer assistance toward the rehabilitation/restoration of this wonderful historic resource.
The Berlin Falls House
72 High Street, known to most local people as the former Fleury-Patry Funeral Home, has a new name: Berlin Falls House (BFH). Much conversation was carried on concerning the name of the new acquisition and this name came about because 72 High is in that part of Berlin which once was called “Berlin Falls.” For many years the North End of Berlin was called Berlin Mills because of the original location of the sawmills beginning in 1854. The lower section of Berlin was Berlin Falls as this was the area where the Androscoggin River dropped two hundred feet in a 1.5-mile section of the river with several dams built to harness the waterpower.
Board members and volunteers are in the process of preparing the Berlin Falls House to open sometime within the next year. The number one item on the list is to make the BFH more energy efficient. We began by removing the old heating and air conditioning systems from the ceiling/attic of the former 1800 square foot chapel. Much heat loss occurred here as evidenced by the winter snow melt on the roof, creating ice jams and water back-up. A mini-split heat/air conditioning system was installed in its place. Our licensed electrician, board member Bob Lafrance did some electrical upgrades and is working to install a new fire alarm system. Next summer a new boiler will be installed in the older section of the Berlin Falls House. An 1800 square foot storage room will be used to store archival writings and historic objects. However, this room must be fire rated for two hours before we transfer writings and objects there from our other location at the former Guardian Angel School.
We are looking for your assistance to make the Berlin Falls House an additional resource to further enhance the telling of Berlin & Coos County’s unique history. Please check the form on the back page of this newsletter and consider sending a donation toward this worthwhile project.
Antique Post Office Front Finds New Home at Berlin Falls House
This past fall, the antique post office front that was located at the Moffett House for the past 24 years was relocated to the Berlin Falls House. A dedicated group of volunteers dismantled, moved, and re-assembled the large oak panel structure laden with frosted windows and brass bars. It had been formerly located at the Milan, NH Post Office until 1997.
The story behind this interesting piece of history stems from its first inception of use at the now closed Cascade, NH Post Office. This post office was once located in past the old storehouse near Carmen Arpin’s barbershop. Mrs. Roberge was the postmistress. In 1957, the structure was moved to the old Milan Post Office on Main Street and remained in this location until opening of the new post office on Bridge Street in 1997. Many remember the kind postmasters who worked behind the window, including: Bud MacDougall, Muriel Lindsey, and Don Eastman.
The relocation of this intrinsic piece of local memorabilia will certainly set the tone for the layout of the Berlin Falls House. Visitors will be greeted as they ascend the stairs from the School Street entrance of the building in an area which has been named, Post Office Square. To past visitors who frequented the Fleury-Patry Funeral Home, they will recognize this area as the vestibule, or common lobby where there was a coat closet and an area to congregate.
Remembering Paul A. Cloutier
This past November 1st Berlin lost a man of many fine talents. Paul Cloutier was known to many of us as a skillful craftsman and the carpenter of the highest caliber. For over 50 years Mr. Cloutier ran a general contracting business that was second to none. He was known for his incredible attention to detail and was remarkable in his trade, as he did everything from the conception of an idea to the finished product with every aspect completed to precision in the process.
Although Paul was known for having constructed many dozens of homes in the area, he was also known for working on many local commercial enterprises, notably the Yokohama Restaurant in Gorham, Berlin Drug, and the first phase of the Hallmark building in Berlin.
Prior to Paul’s establishing his contracting business, he started out as a woodcutter for the Brown Company, eventually to work at the local mill. Back in September of 1947, a record pulpwood cut was made in a special demonstration at the Brown Company Long Pond camp in Parmachenee which was witnessed by a number of company officials. The woodcutter selected for the pulpwood cutting record attempt was a Canadian, named Paul Cloutier. Starting with a hearty breakfast at 5:30 am, the skilled cutter felled his first tree at 6:15 am and the record attempt was on. Before a tree could hit the ground Cloutier’s saw was already well into the next tree and in some instances the skilled cutter downed two trees at once!
After a couple of hours there was already an impressive pile of cut logs on the ground and Cloutier shut off the saw to pile the logs into neat, four-foot-high piles against some stakes which he had cut, notched and set up. Then it was back to cutting again.
At noon, lunch was brought to him and drinking water was kept close at hand for him. The fantastic pace was kept up by Cloutier for exactly nine hours when time was called. The results of the day’s cut were simply unbelievable. In nine hours, the Canadian cutter had cut and neatly stacked sixteen and one-half cords of wood! That is a pile of four foot logs, four feet high and 128 feet long! That is more than the width of two and one-half average city house lots. The time was broken down to approximately six hours of cutting and three hours of stacking.
Paul was one of the kindness people around. He will be dearly missed by his wife Therese, who worked alongside him in the accounting portion of the business. He also leaves behind his daughter, Diane and husband Bob Bertin and their family.