In collaboration with Somersworth Public Library, Somersworth Festival Association, Somersworth Youth Connection, and Friends of Somersworth there will be two community efforts taking place. Taking inspiration from the children's book, Only One You by Linda Kranz, and other city's community art projects, the community will have a chance to paint their own unique rock that will be apart of a stone path or wall. Ice cream will also be served as a thank you to the community. The second community art collaboration will be in the same area at the wall behind the Post Office. Part of the campaign, Somersworth: A Community of Caring, SYC students have already begun to place their hands on the wall. The community is invited to add their hands on Saturday August 12 at 1 pm.
Join us in showing our gratitude and saying our farewells to the Indonesian Consul General, who will be heading home to Indonesia in the new year.
On Saturday, December 19, the Angklung Orchestra and Fashion Show will celebrate the Consul General's tenure in the United States of America and the work that has been done to engage the Indonesian community in recent years.
The event will offer performances by the Angklung Interactive Orchestra, traditional dance by Nusantara Kreasindo, and a fashion show featuring community members. Free sate ayam, lontong, and soft drinks will be provided.
From 3:00-5:00 pm, the celebration will take place at the Gymnasium of the TriCity Christian Academy at 12 Rocky Hill Road in Somersworth, NH. FREE ADMISSION!
Almost three months later, here is a very belated update on our last program, "Preservation in Progress: Adaptive Reuse of Historic Structures." The program was a great success! Attendees listened to talks by Joe Cornish, Supervising Preservation Services Manager at Historic New England, Peter Michaud, National Register, Preservation Tax Incentives, and Easements Coordinator for the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Steve McHenry, owner and principal architect of McHenry Architecture on the topic of adaptive reuse.
The program encouraged the creative use of existing resources in new, out-of-the box ways that will benefit the environment, the community, and architectural heritage of a neighborhood or region. USE what you have! When you've been given or handed down a resource, its important to use its embodied energy (the materials- such as brick and wood; the time and effort spent by original contractors, artisans, and administrators to build and use the structure; and the money spent to fund the project initially and maintain it over the years). Examples of successful adaptive reuse projects are cropping up daily- particularly in city centers where space is limited and the building stock already exists. Through photos and narratives, we learned about projects ranging from art studios and maker spaces to restaurants, residential housing,and commercial offices. The possibilities truly are endless!
After the talks, the group headed to Hilltop School for a walk-through.
For some of us, it was our first opportunity to tour the building. Talk about a mixed bag of emotions! For those of us not from the area, touring Hilltop was enlightening on many levels- the architecture is a prime example of early-20th century Neoclassicism adapted to a large-scale educational building. Also, the building is not in the terrible condition I had imagined; rather, the deferred maintenance is showing, but is at a stage where it could be turned around as long as it is addressed now instead of 10 years down the line. Finally, the building shows the evolution of the education system and how certain rooms and elements were used on a daily basis- the chalkboards, the built-in-bookcases, the winding staircase, the more modern shop and garage, and the FABULOUS gymnasium! Talk about intact and great for community gatherings.
Then there were those of us who grew up in Somersworth and/or went to school at Hilltop and hadn't been inside since. Memories flooded back of who was taught where, favorite teachers, special events, and lunchtime with friends. Several members of the group expressed their dismay at how the building had changed from a place with so much life to one with remnants of vandalism, broken glass, warped floorboards, and empty, quiet rooms. As previously mentioned, an emotional day for many! There is hope that this building can come back to life, but it takes creative thinking, dedication, perseverance, and a mind open to the possibilities!
Adaptive reuse is an important tool in historic preservation today. From famous examples like the Musee du Louvre to studio apartments in New England textile mills, adaptive reuse helps maintain a sense of place and reduce urban sprawl. Join The Friends of Somersworth and Historic New England to hear how this unique brand of historic preservation happens today from professional historic preservationists, architects, and community organizers.
• Supervising Preservation Services Manager Joe Cornish describes adaptive reuse projects at Historic New England.
• Peter Michaud discusses his work as National Register, Preservation Tax Incentives, and Easements Coordinator for the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources.
• Steve McHenry, owner and principal architect of McHenry Architecture, shares his experience with adaptive reuse projects such as Portsmouth’s new 3S Artspace.
Following these illustrated talks, join The Friends of Somersworth for a tour of an ongoing preservation effort at the Hilltop School in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Coffee and refreshments served.
Saturday, April 25, 10 am – 1 pm. Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center, 5 Portland Street, South Berwick, Maine.
Registration required. $25 registration fee; $20 for Historic New England members and students with valid ID.
For more information or to register, call 207-384-2454 or visit: http://shop.historicnewengland.org/p-7930-preservation-in-progress-adaptive-reuse-of-historic-structures.aspx to register online.
We look forward to seeing you there!
With the success of Jakarta Fair 2014, we are excited to celebrate again in 2015! The date has yet to be decided, but please keep checking back for updates.
Somersworth, and the surrounding area, has the largest Indonesian population in Northern New England. The Friends of Somersworth, a nonprofit that promotes arts and cultural growth in the city, is excited to help host a celebration of rich living history.
Jakarta Fair is an all-day Indonesian Food Festival typically held in late summer. Taking up Memorial Drive in Somersworth, this street fair features dozens of Indonesian food vendors, music and dance performances, language exchanges, and cultural demonstrations.
Sponsored by the NYC Indonesian Consulate, Jakarta Fair is slated to attract a large crowd.
Hilltop residents are invited to participate in the Hilltop Day yard sale simply by cleaning out their basements and attics and holding a yard sale. For $20, residents can register their address as an official Hilltop Day participant and the Friends of Somersworth will advertise and promote the yard sales and include your address on a map of participants to drive traffic right to you.
For $30, anyone can register to bring their wares to the Hilltop School property and participate in Hilltop Day “flea market” style, an art bizarre, farmer’s market and craft extravaganza! Simple refreshments will also be available. Plus, The Seacoast Wind Ensemble, a 50 piece concert band, will provide the music on the Hilltop Grounds. The Seacoast Wind Ensemble has been entertaining NH, northern MA and Southern ME for the past 25 years.
To register or have registration questions, contact Maddie - email: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also register via mail by sending a check to Friends of Somersworth, Inc., PO Box 453, Somersworth, NH 03878. Include your name and the street address to be registered for the sale. Registration deadline is May 23 to get your address on the map.
Friends of Somersworth is excited to announce the Hilltop School study has been completed!
AG Architects worked extensively with the City of Somersworth and the Friends of Somersworth on evaluating the required improvements to open the Hilltop School building as an Arts and Cultural Center.
Select the following links to view the floor plans:
First Floor , Second Floor , and Third Floor
Additionally, on Monday, May 17, 2014 at City Hall, AG Architects presented the floor plans to the Mayor, City Council, City Officials and community. If you were unable to attend the meeting or watch via Channel 22, please take the opportunity to watch the webcast as it provide great detail.
City Council Workshop - Monday, March 17 2014 at 5:30 pm
Somersworth, October 16, 2012 -- In a unanimous vote, the Somersworth City Council voted to approve a $38K capital reserve fund for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the empty Hilltop School. The status of the school has been at issue for the past three years after the City decided to close the school and build a new elementary school, the Idlehurst School, which opened its doors last year.
Residents of the City began organizing in opposition to any commercial re-use or demolition of the historic building. Initially rejected by a previous City Council, in February of 2012 the community organizers received unanimous City Council approval to form a public-private partnership with the City of Somersworth to explore the re-use of the Hilltop School for the benefit of the whole community. The residents formed the Friends of Somersworth, Inc., (FOS) a non-profit, 501(c)(3) whose mission is “to promote and support awareness of and education in the arts, culture, and sciences in the Hilltop City through community building, historic preservation, and public/private collaboration.” The organization’s focus is to develop the Hilltop school into a center for arts, sciences and culture by renting space to artists and community organizations whose purpose promotes the FOS mission and by providing space for education in the arts, sciences and culture.
Emmett Soldati, Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors noted, “The funding provided by the City is a first step in helping the Friends of Somersworth in its initial fundraising efforts. There’s lots of work to be done, and we are starting on the first floor. We need to raise at least $150,000 to be able to open our doors to the first tenants. We’ve met with experts and have developed a floor plan to create a ceramic arts center on most of the first floor. We are seeking grant funding as well as corporate support.” Anyone can make a tax deductible donation to the Friends of Somersworth by mailing donations to Friends of Somersworth, 109 Main Street, Somersworth, NH 03878. For more information, interested people can subscribe to the organization through its website, www.friendsofsomersworth.com or contact Emmett Soldati at 603-692-0220.
Making our vision a reality requires significant renovations to the Hilltop School building. The Friends of Somersworth are working to raise money through event hosting, grant writing, tax-neutral City funding and through private donations from people like you. Your generosity will help move us forward for the benefit of the entire community.
Do you need space?
The intended plan for the Hilltop School building reuse includes allocated space for rented artist studios, community activities and meetings, classes, programming and the like. There is also potential for an "anchor" tenant, a group or organization fitting the mission of the Friends of Somersworth and utilizing space in the building on a permanent basis.