Forest Society Celebrates Groundbreaking at The Rocks
“We are thrilled to be breaking ground today at The Rocks,” states Jack Savage, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “After the fire in 2019 that destroyed two historic buildings on the property, we are now at the point where we will write the next chapters for this landmark property. Not only will the renovated building be environmentally net-zero, but it will also be the home of the Forest Society North at the Rocks, our new offices serving the North Country.
The renovated barn will retain its historic exterior and will be completely renovated on the interior as a net-zero building, with a geothermal system for heating and cooling and a solar array for electricity. The facility will offer an open gallery and gift shop, classrooms, event space, and offices for Forest Society staff who serve the North Country. One of the classrooms will be named the Jane A. Difley classroom, in honor of Difley’s 23 years of leadership as the Forest Society’s fourth President/Forester. The barn will also host public restrooms.
The Carriage Barn renovation is the next step in an incremental transformation at The Rocks, precipitated by the loss of historic buildings to a 2019 fire. The hillside amphitheater made with the granite foundation stones of the lost buildings now occupies the site of the fire, offering spectacular White Mountain views, including the Pliny, Kilkenny, and Presidential ranges. The amphitheater will be used as an outdoor classroom, event space, and picnic area.
In addition to creating a welcoming natural and cultural history destination, the Forest Society’s investment at The Rocks will allow professional conservation staff serving the North Country to be based at The Rocks. The Forest Society owns 17 forest reservations in the North Country and is in the process of purchasing 3,750 acres in Shelburne, known as the Mahoosuc Highlands.
The Rocks was assembled by the Glessner Family of Chicago as a working farm and summer retreat in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which employed more than 100 people at its peak. With period architectural style and an Olmsted-designed formal garden, it continues to display unique elements of the old White Mountain estate. The Rocks was also the home of forensic crime investigation pioneer Frances Glessner Lee. Glessner family descendants donated The Rocks to the Forest Society in 1978, and since then it has been operated as a Christmas Tree Farm, working forest, and a conservation program and education center.
- Public hiking trails and organized programs at The Rocks will be closed in June, July, and part of August while heavy equipment is moving about the site. Behind the scenes tours are available by appointment. Please contact Anne Truslow at email@example.com.
- To more information visit Forest Society North at The Rocks or to learn how to support the campaign, contact Anne Truslow at The Forest Society (firstname.lastname@example.org).