The roof is rotting, the foundation cracking, and paint is flaking, but we love it just the same. It’s given us music, laughter, teary eyes, and even butterflies. We’ve eaten on it, danced on it, sang on it, or just relaxed on it. We’ve brought picnic blankets, lawn chairs, or just our shorts to sit by it. Some drive by it everyday, others only see it occasionally. It’s been the center of Londonderry’s annual celebration, at the center of the town, for nearly 34 years. And after all those years of New England weather, Londonderry’s bandstand is in desperate need of repairs.
A project that’s estimated to cost about $12,000, the bandstand will be repaired with money from a town fund which is set aside for projects such as these. The bandstand will need new handrails, along with the roof and concrete repairs. The bandstand, which was built by a team of volunteers, has been maintained by a team of similar kind. But the repairs that need to be made are too expensive and risky for volunteers to complete.
Stephen Cotton, administrative support coordinator for the town manager, is overseeing the project’s bidding process. He has begun accepting bids for the work, which is expected to be completed by this fall.
While the plaque on the bandstand shows a date of 1980, the bandstand was officially dedicated as part of the Bicentennial Old Home Day Program. During the building process, townspeople were able to “buy” a brick and lay it into the foundation. Like to find out what year it was actually dedicated or other interesting facts about the history of Londonderry’s bandstand? Be sure to click Read More!
Londonderry’s bandstand was first conceived in 1972. In September of this year, Londonderry’s 250th anniversary committee met to determine how to spend $1,400. After long discussions, the idea of a bandstand was presented and approved by majority. One thousand dollars was set aside for the start of the project. When the committee held their last meeting of the year in November, they still had not made precise plans regarding the building of the bandstand.
In Spring of 1973, members of committee enlisted the help of an MIT graduate student, who not only designed the bandstand, but also built a scale model. Throughout the summer, the site of the bandstand was excavated, and the footings were poured. That same year, during the Old Home Day Celebration, townspeople bought bricks for a dollar each, and set them into the foundation wall. The committee raised $211 this way. By fall, 1973, the foundation and the back wall were completed.
Over the next three years, several local businesses and individuals donated their time, energy and weekends to the building of the bandstand. Slowly, the roof was raised, the slab floor was poured, the trim was installed, the electrical work completed, and paint and stain were applied. Finally, in August of 1976, Londonderry considered their new bandstand completed.
On August 22, 1976, during the Bicentennial Old Home Day, the bandstand was officially dedicated. In a special ceremony, Chairman Charles Fowler turned the keys to the bandstand over to Selectman Robert Early. Chairman Fowler remarked during this part of the ceremony, “This has been built for the citizens of Londonderry, use it to the fullest, enjoy it. It was built to be used, but not abused, because too much when into it.”
And so the bandstand remains today, used by the residents, an icon of hard work and sweat, and what us “farm folk” can accomplish when we put our minds to it.
“Then” image and Bandstand history from “The History of Londonderry; Volume 3″.