The latest happenings at Centennial Hall


1403, 2018

North Hampton’s 275th Anniversary Celebration

Congratulations to the entire 275th committee for all your efforts in planning and coordinating a most wonderful 275th celebration on a picture perfect day!
Centennial Hall had a tremendously successful open house.
It is estimated that more than 250 visitors come to: view the art, be bedazzled with glitter, see the ballet dancers, and listen to the various musical performances that were offered. Our tenants, the Seacoast Academy of Music, and the Brush and Palette, made an outstanding effort to put together a beautiful backdrop to showcase the building. Body Barre dancers fit in beautifully to the schedule and were enthusiastically received. And as expected, Monica Leo of Trading Faces facepainting had a steady stream of little faces (and arms & hands) to adorn.
With guidance from our greatly supportive Fire Department, we opened our back stairwell, building a new set of stairs to address easement issues for the volume of tours we anticipated. And that assumption was correct. Carolyn and Sue Brooks conducted a dozen full building tours, many with residents that had never seen our upper levels. It’s an inspiring experience for us when people first realize the magnitude of the resource that’s hidden away up those stairs. The addition of the enchanting red brick school house out front, and the magnificent Hobbs painting in our main studio, greatly complemented the historical picture they were able to draw for those touring.

As you know the mission of the FOCH is to return the building to a fully functioning community resource for the arts – and on Saturday, October 14th, even with our limitations, we were most definitely so!

1403, 2018

Kitchen Modernization

Thanks for your help with some important modernization features at Historic Centennial Hall!
The Friends of Centennial Hall, (FOCH) were pleased the Hall was able to host so many activities and celebrations for North Hampton residents in 2017, and look forward to even more in the coming year.
Thanks to your year-end financial support, and with a grant from the Josephine A. Lamprey Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, we have been able to upgrade our kitchen facilities, providing a far better functioning and more serviceable area for events.
This is the tenth grant that has been generously awarded to the FOCH from the Josephine A. Lamprey Fund, each of which has been directed to supporting on-going restoration and renovation of the building.
It’s so rewarding to read your words of appreciation for our efforts on the donor response cards, and we thank all that have continued to support us over the years, including Josephine Lamprey, and we gratefully welcome the many new donors that joined us this year.
The availability of on-line donation on our website proved to be a convenient asset for many, and we will continue to improve our website features and communication in coming months.
Together we continue to Celebrate the Community Spirit in strengthening the services Centennial Hall continues to provide.
Our sincere thanks for your continued support!
The Friends of Centennial Hall, (FOCH)
712, 2017

Centennial Hall Town Tree Lighting Reception

NORTH HAMPTON — There may not be snow on the ground yet, but Christmas was in the air as residents gathered on the green to celebrate the 23rd annual lighting of the town tree.
Once again a concert of carols was sung by the fourth-grade students of North Hampton School, as they stood in the glow of the gazebo’s festive lighting, joined by the crowd in song.
After the lighting and caroling, in what has become another annual tradition, the crowd moved over to Centennial Hall where a reception was held. In commemoration of the event, Centennial Hall was decorated in holiday flare, which included an exterior illuminated display.
“I love that the holidays get people singing,” said Christine Petrucci, director of the Seacoast Academy of Music which is based in the Hall. “The amount of people singing at Christmas time is great.”
Petrucci was playing holiday tunes on the piano for the crowd which had gathered to enjoy a donated spread of delicious cider donuts and apple cider.
Helping to set up those refreshments were Riley Queenan, Eily Burgeson and Annika Jacques, members of local Girl Scout Troop 51106.
The evening’s tree lighting marked the beginning of what looks to be a busy holiday season for all three.
“I’m going to have three Christmases,” said Jacques, who described her holiday plans being a busy schedule of visiting different family at various locations. When asked what she’d most like to find under the tree? “A giant squishy,” she responded with no hesitation. In case you may not know what that is, it’s a giant squishy foam object of almost anything from a panda, to a watermelon slice.
“I’m going to New York,” responded Queenan, who also had a full slate of holiday stops. On her wish list – a giant Beanie Baby.
For Burgeson, the highlight of the season is getting and decorating a tree with her family, and for underneath it, she is hoping to find a Hatchimal.
The holidays can evoke many different feelings for people, and these third-graders were no different. For them, the yuletide season is about more than gifts, it is a reminder that February vacation is getting closer. “I’m going to Florida, so I’m looking forward to that,” said Queenan.
3011, 2017

Centennial Hall Receives Large Gift

NORTH HAMPTON — The town’s historical Centennial Hall recently received a $103,000 donation to aid in its restoration and continued rebirth.
The donation by the trust of Josephine Moulton Weston, a 1924 alumni of the former school, was given to the Friends of Centennial Hall (FOCH). The nonprofit group purchased the building in 1998, saving it from demolition. The group’s mission is the “restoration and renovation” of the historic building, which it now owns outright and mortgage free.
“We are tremendously thankful to the family of Josephine Weston, as a gift of this magnitude will advance opening access to our second-floor grand ballroom and stage, which when completed, will add a large and versatile assembly space to our present capacity,” said FOCH President Marcy McCann.
Completed for the nation’s centennial in 1876, the building served as the town’s school and social center, holding dances, private club meetings and a functioning theater.
Centennial Hall, at 105 Post Road, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
“We are a revitalization success story,” McCann said. “Buildings like ours help distinguish the character of our town, and we are tremendously proud of the resource we have become.”
The building currently has a renovated first floor and basement studio space, and is home to six tenants providing instruction in music, art, bridge and fitness.
According to McCann, there aren’t any specific restoration or renovation projects immediately planned, but goals include repair work on the original mansard slate roof, clapboard, trim and exterior paint.
“A fully restored Centennial Hall will offer four full floors of easily usable and in-demand space with classrooms, music studios, meeting and performance space as well as a catering kitchen,” McCann said.
Perhaps most significantly, restoration plans include re-opening access to the second-floor grand ballroom and 225-person capacity theater, as well as a third-floor function hall. In order to comply with safety codes, the top two floors need a sprinkler system and elevator to make the building ADA compliant.
With a grant, FOCH is working with the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance to conduct a preservation assessment, to determine the priority and scheduling of short-, mid- and long-term projects.
For those who haven’t visited Centennial Hall yet, visitors can drop by Saturday, Dec. 2, for a reception after the town’s tree lighting. Centennial Hall will offer guests cider, punch and locally made apple cider doughnuts.
2508, 2017

In August the FOCH were pleased to host two very well attended 90th Birthday Celebrations for alumni Jean Booker and North Hampton resident, Carolyn Brown.