Historical group wants to restore town house

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OTISFIELD – Lifelong town residents have fond memories of going to the Bell Hill town house to vote.

That’s why the historical society wants to raise money to save the building.

In a short presentation given to selectmen Wednesday, society president Henry Hamilton told them and a handful of residents that it would cost about $5,000 to restore the 30- by 40-foot building to its former beauty. The society is looking for donations to raise those funds.

The building is white on the outside and wooden on the inside. It is on the national registry of historic sites.

Ten to 15 years ago, voting shifted to the new town hall. Hamilton said Friday that the society would like the building restored so it can be used to store society archives and also host small functions.

The town’s documents can be accessed by anyone, Hamilton said. Right now they are kept in society member Jean Hankins’ garage.

First on the list is to fix the building’s only entrance, Hamilton said. The stairs are rotting out and the wheelchair ramp is not safe.

“The town has a beautiful old, historic building which is not usable because the entrance isn’t safe,” Hamilton said.

The building also needs a toilet, Hamilton said, which means it needs plumbing and water.

“Right now there’s an old two-holer,” he added.

Ideally, Hamilton said the society would like to add an addition to it. This way, a second entrance, kitchenette and bathroom can be added.

“This is sensitive rehabilitation,” Hamilton said. “We will take out things that distract from the looks, like the fluorescent lights.”

He later added, “There is a furnace in one corner that greatly distracts from the beauty of that place.”

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