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The NPT CALENDAR
has the most complete information and up-to-date event and meeting list available. You'll find all the happenings taking place at the Nahant Community Center, Nahant Life Saving Station and more. View the new NPT CALENDAR here!

What's "New"s at the Trust

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" Keeping Kid's Warm"
February 2016


Nahant Boy Scout Ryan Frauenholz is working with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless to help collect and distribute hats, mittens and socks to elementary school students in need.

Watch the clip here!


MG
Matthew Greenleaf rebuilds the front steps of the Nahant Life Saving Station, one of the many big improvements at the station.
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"Nahant pumps new life into historical building"
By Thor Jourgensen / The Daily Item
November 2015

NAHANT —
 The Nahant Life Saving Station is getting a partial facelift befitting its status as one of the town’s most visible buildings and a link to its sea-going past.
Before winter sets in, workers for Lincoln-based contractor Gerard O’Doherty will finish constructing two new wooden staircases on the building’s front and the station’s gravel parking lot will be completed.

Nahant Preservation Trust President Emily Potts said Gerard O’Doherty started the work this month, extending the firm’s long involvement in the station’s renovation and preservation. Grant money combined with $95,000 approved by Town Meeting last spring provided $155,000 to pay for the stair construction, exposed stone aggregate walkways, the parking lot work and creating a seagrass erosion barrier against storm-driven seawater.
“We’ve wanted to do that work for a long time,” Potts said.

Built in 1900, according to the trust’s website, the big white building on Nahant Road with its companion garage once housed rescue boats. In the event of a marine disaster, crews hoisted up two large doors and rushed the boats into the surf.

Eight lives lost during an 1898 ship-sinking led to the life saving station’s construction. Deeded from the federal government to the town in 2000, according to the trust website, the station fell into neglect recalled by Gerard O’Doherty worker Jason Conlon.
The firm started renovating the station almost 10 years ago using its workers’ historical preservation skills to bring the big building up to code and save its century-old architectural features.

“We’ve had our hands in almost every little project here,” Conlon said.

Potts said the station is an increasingly popular town site for meetings and events, including last Friday’s Council on Aging luncheon. Mortimer G. Robbins American Legion Post 215 members meet in the station and Potts said the station’s “boat room” is a sought-after event location.

“We’re seeing quite an upswing in the number of community groups that use it,” she said.
Conlon took advantage of last Friday’s good weather to saw and fit planks into the station’s two new staircases.

“You’re saving history and bringing it back. You’ve got to put a lot of pride into it,” he said.

USS Nahant
Frederick S. Gove, left, the post historian, and Wayne Noonan, senior vice commander of American Legion Post 215 Nahant, cover the bow of a detailed scale model of the USS Nahant.

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"USS Nahant again making waves"
By Gayla Cawley  / The Daily Item
November 2015

NAHANT —
  A former U.S. Navy ship, USS Nahant, one of three ships named after the town, will be honored by the American Legion Post 215 in a ceremony Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Nahant Life Saving Station, with a model of the ship unveiled and a former crewmember as the keynote speaker.

A 30 minute ceremony will be followed by a public reception when the permanent memorial, or model, of the ship with be unveiled.

Former USS Nahant crewmember, retired Master Chief Petty Officer Bud Harris, of Greensboro, NC will be honored and will be speaking about his experiences on the ship at the event.

The ship was commissioned in 1945 and served until 1968, serving as a submarine net laying ship. It was the third and, to date, last U.S. Naval Vessel to have Nahant as its name.

Christopher Dent, Commander of American Legion Post 215, said the ship was around for World War II. His research revealed that the ship was commissioned too late for action for World War II, but removed net moorings in the San Francisco bay area and tested experimental nets until Oct. 31, 1945. The ship made its way to Orange, Texas performing services until decommissioning in 1946.

Based on Dent’s research, the ship then recommissioned in Feb. 1952 and was assigned to the fifth naval district, where it installed and tended harbor defense nets within the district until 1954. The ship then served as a dual net tender and salvage ship until decommissioning in 1968.
Dent said the USS Nahant was a Cold War ship, and was very much a working ship, but never saw active combat. He said the ship was not on the front lines, but served many vital missions like keeping enemy submarines out of the area with net tending.

“When you look at the U.S. Navy, these types of hard-working ships are the backbone of the fleet,” Dent said. “(The ship is) emblematic of the hard work that goes on every day in the navy.”

Dent said he was also thrilled to have Harris as the guest of honor, as it’s a way to “connect with living history.” He said there’s a special bond that exists between Harris and the ship.

Dent is calling the unveiling of the ship’s model the culminating point of the ceremony. He said it is a museum quality model of the ship that the American Legion requested be built.

“It’s a unique model and we’re excited to unveil it,” Dent said.
Dent said a number of dignitaries have been invited. Rep. Brendan Crighton is confirmed along with the Nahant Board of Selectmen and a number of veterans. The ceremony will occur before the American Legion’s annual dinner, which is a paid event for the group’s normal Veterans’ Day Program. He is hoping for a turnout of 50 to 100 people.

Wayne Noonan, Senior Vice Commander of American Legion Post 215, said the slogan of the ship was “non transibunt,” which translates to “you shall not pass.” It alludes to the ship’s primary function of laying nets to keep enemy submarines out of harbors.

Fred Gove, Post Historian of American Legion Post 215, said the ship’s function as a net tending ship was “extremely important.”
“If you can get inside the harbor, you can get a better shot at the fuel containers,” Gove said. “You wouldn’t want these people to be able to operate inside the harbor to blow up fuel.”

Noonan said the other two ships named after the town served in the Civil War and WWI. He said from what he last heard, the USS Nahant is now a fishing vessel in Uruguay.

NLSS
Newly renovated crew quarters at the Nahant Life Saving Station are currently occupied by Larry DiBenedetto of Wakefield, who uses it for his business.

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"Saving A Station In Nahant"
By  Bridget Turcotte The Daily Item
August 2015

NAHANT —
 In an effort to preserve and improve the Life Saving Station on Nahant Road, crews will be finishing up the installation of a new fence this week.

Old fences were removed and new post-and-rope style fences are being built in areas around the building and dune areas. An older metal fence lining the beach will remain in place to further protect the dunes.

The new “rope and rail” fencing will be installed, surrounding and segregating the dunes along the beach area. They are also being installed in the front and to the sides of the building and along the pathway leading to the beach.

The posts for most of the fencing have already been installed and will soon be cut to size. Rope will then be added to serve as a barrier and provide an added appealing look, said Dennis Maroney, vice-president of the Preservation Trust.

The project will continue in late September, said Maroney. “We will do an environmental resurfacing of the parking lot,” he said. “We’ll use crushed gravel. There will also be a little brum to catch the water during flooding.” “We have to deal with the elements,” he said. The area has been known to be subjected to severe flooding during major storms, he said. “That will be part of the big project,” Maroney said. “We’ll be redoing the stairs, which weren’t currently built to any safety codes.”

The stairs will need to be rebuilt and a hand rail will need to be installed. After the stairs are built, a new sidewalk will also be constructed surrounding the building, he said. “It will be built using corrugated concrete like at the town hall,” he said.

The Life Saving Station was built after eight people died from a coal-schooner wreck on Short Beach in 1898. Henry Cabot Lodge, who was a U.S. senator and resident of Nahant at the time, worked quickly to transfer land on the beach to the federal government. He was able to get Congress to fund the construction of the Life Saving Station.

It was used to rescue ships in trouble for a number of years. There is a tower at the top of the building where rescuers could keep watch and the bottom of the building housed boats. In an emergency, large doors would be opened and the boats would be launched into the water. It served as a Life Saving station for a number of years, even after the Life Saving Service merged into the Coast Guard. Eventually it became a recreational space for the Coast Guard.

According to Maroney, it was deeded back to the town in 2000 and renovated in 2012. Now, the space is used to host functions. It also houses the American Legion and an apartment upstairs.
This helps provide funding for projects like this one. However, funding also comes from private gifts and donations, the town and community preservation grants.

After the fencing, stairs, sidewalk and paving is complete, the trust will look at landscaping. “We will get some strong plants that can handle the elements,” Maroney said. “We’re also exploring possibilities for the tower room,” he said. “We have to look at historic and safety issues but it would be neat to have a private dining room for two.” “I look forward to working with the Nahant Preservation Trust on this project,” said DPW Superintendent Gabe Federico.
“It’s very iconic,” said Jeff Chelgren, Nahant town manager. “To have lost it for the wrong reasons, or for any reasons, would have been tragic.” Project improvements are expected to conclude in October.

Lynn Item Photo
Andy Puleo, the facilities manager at the refurbished Valley Road School building, looks out the window to the harbor in the Serenity Room.

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"A New Chapter For Former Nahant School"
By Tara Vocino / The Daily Item
July 2015


NAHANT —
 The Nahant Preservation Trust and volunteers from the community have stepped up and renovated a former school building that fell under disrepair.

Collectively, the volunteers renovated the fencing and landscaping themselves and installed new heating and cooling systems to improve energy efficiency and comfort at the former Valley Road School, which is 100-plus years old.

Built in 1904, the former middle school/junior high, which closed in 1983, is a historical building.

According to Emily Potts, 71, of Nahant, president of the NPT, the woodwork in common rooms (former classrooms that are now office space) was stripped and refurbished; the roof was renovated after a fair amount water damage; and electric and heating units were installed.

“Some rooms were also repurposed,” Potts said. “The coat rooms, or cloakrooms — as they were called back then — became bathrooms. Replacing the HVAC units was more economical.”

Potts said the other 14 former classrooms are now being used as office space for an art gallery and legal and health-care compliance businesses. Each room is named for its purpose and named after someone, Potts said. A community room — also called the Serenity Room — can also be rented for public use.
Potts said the only thing left to do is to repair the cracked floorboards, which will be replaced when more donations flow in.
According to NPT Vice President Dennis Maroney, the group was founded in 1996 as part of a campaign to prevent the destruction of the former school.
Funds were needed quickly, Maroney said, to obtain a “stay of execution” and the NPT mounted a difficult, but successful, effort during a special Town Meeting to place the building in a status that would permit restoration.

“Fifty percent of the building is leased to tenants, providing annual operating revenue sufficient to operate the building, including utilities, insurance, repairs and maintenance,” he said.

Maroney said $30,000 was spent on renovations and investments to the infrastructure.
He said the neighbors have helped by providing landscaping.

“They took it upon themselves to bring the community together, rather than taking it out of the town’s operating budget,” Maroney said.
According to Andy Puleo, 76, of Nahant, facilities manager, the building could have easily been left vacant.
“The way I picture it, the building outlived its life as humans outlive their life,” Puleo said. “But rather than closing, it came time for a new generation to be born and re-live the building again.”

His wife, Roz Puleo, 73, of Nahant, was a student in 1957 and is now a NPT board member.
“It’s a good building,” Puleo said. “Originally, they wanted to take it down and put houses there. But it has significance to the town, and it’s great that the committee got together and raised money to save it.”

Puleo said there was a lot of controversy and meetings for two years before Town Meeting members voted to save it in the ’90s.
A NPT flyer mailed to Nahant residents stated the purpose of the renovated building.

“The Nahant Community Center on Valley Road hosts the Historical Society, the Council on Aging, and the Boy and Girl Scouts,” it read. “The Serenity Room is a beautiful space and is available for meetings, classes and social events. For those looking for local office space, there are also spaces for rent, which help support the operating costs of the building.”

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Looking forward...

We are currently working with the Town of Nahant to fulfill its mission to complete the restoration of the Nahant Life Saving Station and to provide our citizens with recreational, and educational facility everyone can enjoy.

We are also working with other groups such as the Nahant Open Space Committee to develop walking paths around Nahant and are directly participating in the Heritage Landscape Program.

Please visit our website often, content is being added all the time during our "construction" phase!

How you can help

Being a Nahant Preservation Trust member has many advantages and helps support our all our projects. Visit our Membership page to see how easy it is to join with fellow residents and friends of Nahant. You can also order our Commemorative Bricks in this section of the website.

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Helping Preserve Nahant's Open Spaces, Historical Properties and Conservation Lands