Methuen non-profit helps fund restoration of historic firehouse in Haverhill

The Festival of Trees, Inc. has awarded a $10,000 Historic Preservation Grant to Rocks Village Memorial Association to help fund the restoration of the 1840 Handtub House in the Rocks Village historic district of Haverhill.  The historic firehouse serves as a meetinghouse for social and community activities within the Rocks Village and the City of Haverhill. Due to environmental elements and age, the structure’s foundation has disintegrated over the years causing substantial instability to the building and will be at further risk if not stabilized in the near future.

“The city of Haverhill is deeply appreciative of the generous grant from the Festival of Trees in Methuen. This grant enables us to preserve part of Haverhill’s history: the Handtub House in Rocks Village,” said Mayor James Fiorentini.  “The Rocks Village neighborhood is so rich in history going back to the first settlers of Haverhill. The Handtub House is a critical part of our history. Over the years, the Handtub House has fallen into disrepair. This grant allows us to preserve our history and preserve this beautiful neighborhood.”

The association enlisted Structures North Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Salem, MA to prepare an analysis and design specifications for the repair of the failing foundation.  It was determined that the structure is currently in an emergency situation. With the help of the Festival of Trees preservation grant, they will have the funds for a portion of the much-needed repairs.  EaglePoint Builders of Belmont, MA has been hired to execute the restoration work.  Elements of the restoration project include the following:

  • Replacing and stabilizing masonry walls and foundation to prevent further damage caused by water run-off.
  • Repointing and cementing entire foundation of structure.
  • Replacing and or repairing existing brick pier lally columns throughout the basement.
  • Constructing new drywell to divert water run-off.

“We are thrilled to receive a Historic Preservation Grant from the Methuen Festival of Trees.  Our association’s efforts to preserve this building have been accelerated as a result of this grant, for that we are grateful, “ said Christine Kwitchoff, member of the Rocks Village Memorial Association.

The Festival of Trees raises money through its annual event to fund historic preservation and restoration in the city of Methuen and throughout the Merrimack Valley.  Local businesses housed in historic properties, individual homeowners of historic homes, as well as public historic entities are encouraged each year to apply for the Festival of Trees grant program to help fund area preservation efforts.

“We started this event with the purpose to restore and preserve our heritage here in Methuen and now we are helping to do the same in many of our surrounding communities,” said Ann Guastaferro, President of the Festival of Trees.

To date, the Festival has spent $1.2 million dollars to fund over 146 preservation project grants throughout the Merrimack Valley.  The Festival of Trees will kick off its 19th year on November 17, 2012 and will run through December 1, 2012.

The Rocks Village Memorial Association is hosting a “Bridge Closing” party on Saturday, June 16, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Suggested donation is $10.00 and all proceeds benefit the restoration of the historic Handtub House. The Rocks Bridge connecting Haverhill To West Newbury will close for restoration on June 18th.