2022 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Town of Newport

The LCHIP program is one that I have always supported, and it has helped preserve many of our local buildings.

2022 Preservation Achievement Award Winner: Town of Newport

The N.H. Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce our 2022 Preservation Achievement Award winner, Town of Newport, for restoration and rehabilitation of the Newport Opera House and Courthouse with support from Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc., David Drasba Architect, American Steeple & Tower Co., Inc., Northeast Masonry, Inc., Danaher Floor Restoration, Newport Opera House Association, N.H. Community Development Finance Authority, and the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

The robust architectural legacy of Newport’s 19th century mill history includes this prominent Main Street landmark, built in 1886 in place of an earlier courthouse and town hall that had burned.  Like many town halls of this period, the new building included a grand second floor performance space. Today, judiciary services for Sullivan County occupy the first floor.

A view of the historic downtown in Newport, NH. Photo credit: James Perkins

The building needed restoration and new design solutions to continue to function and enhance its role in the community. Three years ago, work began using a “road map” assessment of the building. The local Opera House Association, which produces plays and engages other entertainment, moved all its costumes and props out of their storage space to clear the way for construction to begin.

The first phase included a new roof on the entire structure. A year later, the team restored the clock and clock tower, and the historic stained-glass windows. Exterior masonry was cleaned, repaired, and repointed as well.

Sound-attenuation was a critical component of replacing the worn-out opera house floor– the stage sits directly above the judge’s bench!  Lighting was upgraded to improve energy efficiency. Accessory rooms were repurposed into Opera House offices and storage. A window opening was cut into a wall to eliminate an awkward serving counter, and matching moldings added.

This project clearly demonstrates the town’s commitment to its downtown.

The renewed Opera House is now better poised to resume its role as a lively regional hub for theater, concerts, and shows, and to serve Newport people and their many social traditions such as school graduations and crowning a queen at the Newport winter carnival.

Read about the rest of our 2022 Preservation Achievement Award Winners here.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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