Letter: Your Thanks

Posted
Editor of the Reformer:

Today is Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

I am standing at 13 Canal Street, Hinsdale, New Hampshire in front of a rare, circa 1850 timber frame, post and beam fire engine house known as the Hope Engine

Company No. 1 building, originally built and owned by the Town of Hinsdale, N.H. fire department.

My name is Donna Suskawicz. I created the Friends of Hope Engine Company to save this historic building from demolition and to relocate it to a property owned by Town of Hinsdale to create a Fire Engine Museum dedicated to Past, Present and Future Firefighters of Hinsdale. I was born and raised in Hinsdale and graduated from Hinsdale High School Class of 1970.

This building was one of three fire engine buildings in Hinsdale beginning in the 1850s. The other two buildings have been demolished and this is the only remaining building. That it has survived over 159 years in the same location is a miracle. I would like to thank recent owners for not tearing the building down; Bill Roberts, Ed Girroir and current owner Michale Foerster. None of these people knew the historical significance of this building and learned of it through my efforts to save the building. Thanks especially to Michael Foerster who delayed demolition due to my pleading and insistence that the building was historically and culturally significant. This move would not be possible without the assistance, support, guidance of Andrew Cushing and the N.H. 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. Thank you. I have told many people that this project has three angels - two of them named Andrew. My second Andrew Angel is Andrew Shapiro, or Andy. Andy called me to offer expertise and assistance in physically moving the building. Andy also offered to temporarily store the building on his lot located on Main Street, a few blocks from the original location. This was a huge assist and we appreciate Andy's hard work and willingness to help save this building.

Thanks also to Rob Stevenson, Jeff Ingram, Catlin and Petrovich Architects of Keene, N.H., the Brattleboro Vermont Reformer and special thanks to Keene N.H. Sentinel who provided constant coverage of this project after I walked into their office unannounced one afternoon and said; "I need your help." Thanks to Doug Pryor for his computer expertise, research and daily work to save this building.

Thanks to Robert Katz from Ohio who made the very first substantial financial contribution to this project without hesitation and without ever having lived in or near Hinsdale. A huge show of faith and much appreciated.

Thanks to Steve Diorio and the Town of Hinsdale Board of Selectmen, Sean Leary and the Town of Hinsdale Planning Board, Fire Chief Terry Zavorotney and Taran

Benedict of Hinsdale Fire Department. Special thanks to Bob Brink who informed me of the imminent demolition of this building — Bob, it is 5 o'clock somewhere!

Thanks to everyone who donated financially to move this building and who were willing to take a chance on me and the building.

Now, I am moving into the second of three phases to save this building - there is still much work to be done. If you are interested, there are four ways to assist the Friends of Hope Engine Company.

1. Financially. If you would like to make a tax deductible cash donation, please make checks out to N.H. Preservation Alliance and mail to me at Donna Suskawicz, Friends of Hope Engine Company, No. 1, PO Box 467, Hinsdale, N.H. 03451.

2. Write a letter of support for the building and efforts to save it.

3. Volunteer and become a committee member of the Friends of Hope Engine Company.

4. Attend Hinsdale Town Meeting in March 2018 and vote to accept this building to create a Fire Engine Museum.

My third angel is my mother, Felicia Matuszewski Suskawicz who was born in 1925 and raised and lived her entire life, 89 years, in Hinsdale. She loved and was proud of Hinsdale, warts and all, and supported and encouraged everything positive in the town. Her generation sacrificed so much, can't we sacrifice a little to save a small piece of history in the town she loved? It is in her memory of unconditional love that I work to save this building.

Thank you.

Donna Suskawicz

Hinsdale, N.H., Nov. 7

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