Haverhill Councilors Consider Plan to Place City’s Powder House on National Register

A pre-1883 view of the powder house with front door missing and graffiti visible inside. Derived from a stereoscopic photograph, probably circa 1860s or 1870s. (Courtesy of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library, Special Collections Department.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill city councilors tonight are being asked to endorse placing the city’s 1845-era powder house on the National Register of Historic Places.

As WHAV reported in 2019, the Haverhill Historic Commission pondered the restoration potential of the Golden Hill circular structure. It was the last of four buildings designed to hold gunpowder to be erected in the community. In a letter last week to the City Council, Historic Commission Chairman Peter Carbone noted the small building was the subject of detailed research by David Lewis, a Boston University graduate student. His submittal of this voluminous history of the powder house enables its submission onto the National Register, making this distressed site eligible for Massachusetts Preservation Project funds and potentially other state and federal rehabilitation programs and benefits,” he said.

Lewis petitioned the Massachusetts Historical Commission in December to place the building on the register.

According to preservation consultant Lisa Mausolf, the cone-shaped structure was already vacant and in disrepair by the 1860s. In 1883, its front entrance was removed and sealed with brick. Once standing by itself, it is now located within a last 20th century housing subdivision.

In other business before the Haverhill City Council, Mayor James J. Fiorentini is asking that 10 acres of land on the south side of Crystal Street, on the northern shore of Crystal Lake, be dedicated as the Mayor James A. Rurak Conservation Area.

Fiorentini told councilors in a Friday letter that “former Mayor Rurak served with distinction for eight years as mayor and has since remained active in many community and civic projects and organizations, including, but not limited to, the Latino Coalition and as a member of the Board of Trustees at Haverhill Public Library.”

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight at 7, remotely and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St., As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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