History

1908

Bandstand Built – This same years popular tunes were “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with words by Jack Norworth and music of Albert Von Tizler and “Shine on Harvest Moon” lyrics also by Jack Norworth and music by Nora Bayes. ¬†Selectmen reported reduction of town debt by $177.05 and a pool table license cost $10.00. ¬†Opening Bandstand concerts were favorably reported in the Laconia Democrat and other newspapers of the day.

1927

Bandstand Moved – The generous gift offer from Belmont Hosiery Company owners George and Walter Duffy to erect and furnish a Library and meeting room for community benefit necessitated its move from Main Street prominence, to mill-owned land overlooking the Tioga River. The Library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985, was dedicated the following year.

1969

Belmont marks its centennial by adopting a new Town seal and extensive celebrations.

1970s

A Beautification Committee chaired by Mrs. Whitman Ide arranges Main and Mill Street tree planting and other landscaping, purchase and addition of benches and barrels for the Town Green and notes the failing Bandstand roof. Funds are secured in 1977 to hire builder Neil Whitcher, who carefully replicated the decorative pattern of the cedar shingles and other architectural features. Girl Scouts, among other residents, help paint the structure. A Bandstand Committee remains active with Mrs. Ides and works with Hew Hampshire historic officials to secure its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

1989

On May 26th at the Annual Belmont Community Picnic and Band Concert, Selectmen dedicate and name the area Bandstand Park.

1992

Fire ravages the six building Belmont Mill complex and its future is a sometimes contentious topic.

1998

The Mill is rededicated on Old Home Day, in large part due the leadership of Wallace Rhodes for the Belmont Historical Society. A New Hampshire Highway Historical marker was installed in 2013 recognizing the effort to “Save the Belmont Mill.”

2003

Architectural historian and Ashland resident David Ruell, writing in The Citizen September 14 “…The Belmont bandstand is one of the best surviving Victorian bandstands in the state, an ornate octagonal structure with a high latticework base, turned posts with sawn brackets, a frieze of turned balusters, and a tall wooden shingled roof with flared eaves.

2004

Belmont Heritage Commission is formed. The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance News reports “The new Belmont Heritage Commission will build on the success of the Belmont Mill and Bandstand revitalization projects…” Voters approve establishment of a non-lapsing Heritage Fund the following year.

2008

David Ruell shares Laconia area newspaper reports from 1908 noting Belmont Bandstand dedication concerts. The Heritage Commission plans a 100 year birthday party for early October 2009. At the event Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Linda Ray Wilson says “It’s special not just because it is a bandstand but a big billboard in Victorian gingerbread that says Belmont cares about its heritage…” Sunday Citizen of Laconia, then an edition of Foster’s Sunday Citizen.

2009

Heritage Commission adopts Bandstand as its preservation priority and recommends establishment of a “Village Revitalization Committee”, in part to find a more suitable location, announcing at a meeting of Planning Board, Shaker School District, Selectmen, Conservation Commission and other representatives. “Deck the Village” a community Christmas festival is created and sponsored by the Heritage Commission for a first year.

2010

Heritage Commission successfully applies for a federal energy conservation grant to update Mill exterior lighting and Sargent Park, and a PlanNH charrette to envision village improvements with citizen input.

2012

A Summer Bandstand Gathering taping oral history interviews, with music by Jackie Lee, and a barbecue, is prepared by Lakes Region Community College Culinary Arts program students and the Senior Center. It is the last event before Leslie Roberts LLC moves the Bandstand to a temporary location next to the Mill, while infrastructure and other projects get underway in the Village. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is written to stabilize Bandstand and make critical repairs, with $20,000. appropriated from Town funds matched with $10,000. and donated services by the Heritage Commission.

2013

In spring a new Bandstand location is sited by project engineers, following discussions between Selectmen and Heritage Commission. Shortly after village project general contractors arrange its concrete base, and the Bandstand is moved to a permanent site on September 11, 2013. JR Graton begins first phase work on October 1. In December, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) tells the Heritage Commission their request for funding phase two – preparation, painting and a new roof – will receive a challenge grant of $15,000. After Selectmen accept the grant in early 2014, the Heritage Commission enlists Building Conservation Associates for an exterior on site color analysis.

2014

After Selectmen accept the LCHIP grant, historic painting contractor John Thompson www.JLTpainting.com is added to the restoration team and planning begins for early spring work. Spurred by colored paint surfaces exposed on trim boards after the 2012 move, the Heritage Commission sought exterior paint analysis from Brian Powell of Building Conservation Associates. With equal parts art, science and technology the report provided colors of the original Bandstand era, just as the JLT crew had rigged tents, other precautions as the structure was fully prepped, with multiple layers of paint carefully removed.

2015