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Granby Preservation Society seeks to restore Kellogg Hall



Thursday, February 27, 2014
GRANBY — Since Kellogg Hall fell into disuse a few years back, residents have been seeking ways to ensure the 125-year-old building, which has served as a school, a police station, a community theater and a municipal center, remains a town landmark.

“It served the town really well in its life,” said Gayle Demary, owner of Brooks Real Estate. “It’s a major component to town history.”

And so Demary and about a dozen others have formed the Granby Preservation Society, prepared to establish a nonprofit to purchase and restore the building.

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It’s a “pinnacle part of historic district,” said society member Michael Beck, who is also chairman of the Granby Historical District Commission. “It’s a building that has a lot of character.”

Society members say that the building is still structurally sound, but that work needs to be done before the lack of maintenance takes its toll. “Inaction is not your friend in terms of buildings — especially buildings in New England,” said Heather Ruel, who will handle grant writing for the group which will also seek donations toward a $1 million fundraising goal.

The building, located at 250 East State St., was last used as town offices in 2011, when the heating system failed, said Beck. It also needs a paint job, a new electrical system and work on the septic system, among other renovations, said Ruel. Its appraised value is $430,000.

In March 2013, Town Meeting voted to allow the Select Board to put the building up for sale. According to Select Board Chairman Louis Barry, the building has since been advertised twice, but no one else has shown interest in purchasing it.

Barry, who served as chief of police from 1987 until his retirement in September 2010, worked in the building when the police station was there. The Police Department moved out in 1993. He said though the town does not have the money to preserve Kellogg Hall, he does not want to see it torn down. He supports the idea of a nonprofit group taking it on.

Demary said the Granby Preservation Society aims to keep the historic aspect of the building intact.

While the inside has undergone many changes, she said, the outside, which was designed in the “Queen Anne” architectural style popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has remained “virtually unchanged.”

“What hasn’t been altered is absolutely awesome,” Ruel said, noting the spiral staircase, full-size stage on the second floor, and the large bell.

Christine Beck, president of the society, said she believes the building will serve as an educational tool for children to learn about their town’s origins.

The nonprofit has no concrete plans for the building, said Beck, but the aim is for it to bring money back into the town through small businesses which could locate there.

Ruel, whose husband’s relatives are longtime residents of the town, said she believes that learning about history is a way to connect generations.

“That historic center is the core of what Granby used to be,” she said. “That’s where everybody used to get together. That was the literal center of town surrounded by family farms.”

Demary said she hopes that if the society is successful in saving Kellogg Hall, it could preserve other historic buildings in town as well.

“We’re very excited and I think we’re going to be very successful,” Demary said. “But we need the townspeople to help us out.”

The next meeting of the Granby Preservation Society is 7 p.m. Monday at Brooks Real Estate, 220 West State St.

More information is available by contacting Demary by phone at 413-219-1047 or via email at demary@gogtt.net.





GRANBY — Since Kellogg Hall fell into disuse a few years back, residents have been seeking ways to ensure the 125-year-old building, which has served as a school, a police station, a community theater and a municipal center, remains a town landmark.

“It served the town really well in its life,” said Gayle Demary, owner of Brooks Real Estate. “It’s a major component to town history.”

And so Demary and about a dozen others have formed the Granby Preservation Society, prepared to establish a nonprofit to purchase and restore the building.

Follow @mangiaratti //

It’s a “pinnacle part of historic district,” said society member Michael Beck, who is also chairman of the Granby Historical District Commission. “It’s a building that has a lot of character.”

Society members say that the building is still structurally sound, but that work needs to be done before the lack of maintenance takes its toll. “Inaction is not your friend in terms of buildings — especially buildings in New England,” said Heather Ruel, who will handle grant writing for the group which will also seek donations toward a $1 million fundraising goal.

The building, located at 250 East State St., was last used as town offices in 2011, when the heating system failed, said Beck. It also needs a paint job, a new electrical system and work on the septic system, among other renovations, said Ruel. Its appraised value is $430,000.

In March 2013, Town Meeting voted to allow the Select Board to put the building up for sale. According to Select Board Chairman Louis Barry, the building has since been advertised twice, but no one else has shown interest in purchasing it.

Barry, who served as chief of police from 1987 until his retirement in September 2010, worked in the building when the police station was there. The Police Department moved out in 1993. He said though the town does not have the money to preserve Kellogg Hall, he does not want to see it torn down. He supports the idea of a nonprofit group taking it on.

Demary said the Granby Preservation Society aims to keep the historic aspect of the building intact.

While the inside has undergone many changes, she said, the outside, which was designed in the “Queen Anne” architectural style popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has remained “virtually unchanged.”

“What hasn’t been altered is absolutely awesome,” Ruel said, noting the spiral staircase, full-size stage on the second floor, and the large bell.

Christine Beck, president of the society, said she believes the building will serve as an educational tool for children to learn about their town’s origins.

The nonprofit has no concrete plans for the building, said Beck, but the aim is for it to bring money back into the town through small businesses which could locate there.

Ruel, whose husband’s relatives are longtime residents of the town, said she believes that learning about history is a way to connect generations.

“That historic center is the core of what Granby used to be,” she said. “That’s where everybody used to get together. That was the literal center of town surrounded by family farms.”

Demary said she hopes that if the society is successful in saving Kellogg Hall, it could preserve other historic buildings in town as well.

“We’re very excited and I think we’re going to be very successful,” Demary said. “But we need the townspeople to help us out.”

The next meeting of the Granby Preservation Society is 7 p.m. Monday at Brooks Real Estate, 220 West State St.

More information is available by contacting Demary by phone at 413-219-1047 or via email at demary@gogtt.net.