A firehouse on the move

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HINSDALE, N.H. — Rolling down Main Street in Hinsdale, traveling around 5 mph, crews move the Hope Engine Co. No. 1 building, built around the 1850s, to a temporary location next to the Hinsdale Police Office.

A project that started nearly five months ago, leading up to this big movement, was to save this historic structure from a potential demolition date

The structure was one of three wood-framed fire engine buildings in Hinsdale. The other two buildings have since been demolished over the years.

Michael Foerster, the owner of Rolling on Motors, on Canal Street in Hinsdale., wanted to expand his business, but the old building was located on his property.

"I purchased the old garage on April 1 and on the corner of the property is an old wooden building that was being used for storage," Foerster told the Reformer back in July. "I heard from some of the town elders that it may have had some historical value so I did some research in the hall of records. All the way back in 1903, the last time the property was mentioned, it was a firehouse property."

Donna Suskawicz, who has plans to turn the building into a museum, has been working to raise money.

The building was put on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance's 2017 "Seven to Save" in late October, which opens it up for various funding grants to help restore the building. There is also a plan to try to get the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The day of the building move, Suskawicz said that it was a relief because she didn't know if the building was going to end up in a dumpster.

"I'm very happy, that one person could make a difference. I just stopped by, and went inside the building, that it deserved someone to just roll up their sleeves, and try to save it," said Suskawicz. "I didn't really know what I was doing, I never did preservation before, and I found great people, great organizations in the state of New Hampshire."

At 7 a.m. on Tuesday crews from Renaud Brothers, Andrew Shapiro, and his 13-year-old daughter Jessica helped prepare the building to be moved by putting it up onto cribbing and then slowly lowering it using jacks to have to lay evenly onto a flatbed truck.

Around 9:30 a.m., with the help from the Hinsdale Police Department, which closed down the road, crews help navigate the building out from the tight corner it was located in at Rolling On Motors, and traveled nearly a quarter of a mile down Main Street to a lot owned by Shapiro. The incredible site of this historic building being moved drew the eyes from the local residents who watched and filmed as the events unfolded.

By 11:30 a.m. the flatbed was removed from under the building and it was secured in its temporary location.

Shapiro, who helped with the move, said that it went like clockwork.

"At the end of the day, I did what I could do to save this building," said Shapiro.

Suskawicz said the move would not have been possible without the assistance, support and guidance of Andrew Cushing and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

"Andrew and the Preservation Alliance have been instrumental in taking the idea of one citizen in Hinsdale and creating a preservation project to save a little bit of small mill town history. We would not be here now moving this building without the hard work of Andrew Cushing and the N.H. Preservation Alliance," said Suskawicz.

Cushing, a field service representative for the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance who on site to watch the move, said that historical building moves don't happen as much as they once did.

"Throughout New Hampshire, it's these sometimes small, quirky, maybe forgotten buildings that have the most interesting stories," said Cushing. "It really will mean a lot to future generations."

Suskawicz said she intends to bring a plan to the Hinsdale Town Meeting in March of 2018 for a permanent location.

More pictures of the move can be found on B8.

To view a video a the move, visit the Reformer. To view more pictures, click here.

Kristopher Radder can be contacted at kradder@reformer.com.


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