Central Hall preservation efforts recognized by National Society Daughters of American Revolution
DOVER-FOXCROFT — The numerous efforts to save the late 19th century-era Central Hall and transform the building on East Main Street into a community space — now known as The Commons at Central Hall — for the future have been recognized by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).
The Monson-based Tisbury Manor Chapter NSDAR sent in an application to the national organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and approval was granted for The Friends of Central Hall to receive the Daughters of the American Revolution Historic Preservation Recognition Award. A framed honor was presented by representatives of Tisbury Manor Chapter NSDAR at The Commons at Central Hall on Nov. 9.
Tisbury Manor Chapter Regent Kathy Normandin told those gathered for the presentation that since 1890 the NSDAR has had a mission to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. She said the Historic Preservation Committee “seeks to honor the nation’s heritage, focus on the future, and celebrate America. Through its awards it encourages recognition of significant volunteer efforts at the community, state, and national levels.
“The Tisbury Manor Chapter of DAR was organized in November 1952 in Monson, Maine with 12 charter members. Through the years we have maintained a presence in Piscataquis County.”
Normandin said the chapter supports a mission to promote education by donating books and dictionaries to local schools and supports NSDAR schools across the country through Box Tops for Education and donations. The regent said the Tisbury Manor Chapter promotes patriotism through the collection of comfort care items for veterans homes in Bangor and Augusta, sending boxes and phone cards to members of the armed forces, clipping coupons, planting daffodils at veterans’ graves, and the chapter’s annual Sept. 11 observance and Veterans Day ceremony in Monson.
“Our chapter is supporting the DAR mission to promote historic preservation today,” Normandin said.
“Ten years before the founding of DAR in 1890, plans were drawn up for Central Hall in Dover. The grand opening was in March 1882. Through the years many events took place, dances, basketball games, graduations, plays, and so much more. Central Hall was the hub of activities for Dover.
“The passage of time was felt, even with all the upgrades and maintenance done over the years, and in 1940 the town manager, in his capacity as building inspector, stated that Central Hall was condemned for public gathering.
“It continued to be used as the town offices until the end of 2008, when the town offices moved to Morton Avenue School. Again Central Hall’s existence was in jeopardy. At that time a group of interested citizens from the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, not wanting to see Central Hall disappear as did Blethen House its neighbor across the street, formed the Friends of Central Hall who worked diligently over the last 10 years raising interest and money to save the building. There have been many individuals and groups involved with the restoration, but it all began with the Friends.”
In March the restored structure was reopened as The Commons at Central Hall. “At that point nearly $2 million had been raised for the renovations,” Normandin said. “For a small community this is considered an enormous accomplishment, and the group should be proud to have been able to rebuild and preserve this historic building for another 150 years of use to the public.
“This DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award recognizes and honors The Friends of Central Hall for its remarkable volunteer work at the community level.”
“We read about the grand opening and I said there’s got to be something DAR can do for this preservation,” Normandin said.
She explained the chapter spoke with Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society President Mary Annis and a collection of project photos was assembled to be included in the Daughters of the American Revolution Historic Preservation Recognition Award application packet. To thank Annis for her efforts, Normandin presented a pin to the historical society president.
The award submittal included letters of recommendation from Town Manager Jack Clukey and Piscataquis County Economic Development Council Executive Director Chris Winstead and their words helped the honor go to The Friends of Central Hall.