Oct. 13—The imperiled Stone House in Hooksett has been saved.
Christina Katsikas, president of Hooksett Fireworks, is the proud new owner of the one-of-a-kind fieldstone home and its surrounding six acres on Hooksett Road (Route 3).
The longtime Hooksett business owner said she expects to close on the $500,000 sale at the end of next month. "I'm very excited," she said.
"First, I'm going to restore the outside before winter sets in. It needs a new roof and it needs a bath" — a power wash, she said. "Those two things alone will make that house come alive."
"And then we're going to make plans for next spring to do some work."
The home's original owner, Alfred Hebert, built the home with stones gathered from walls and fieldstone foundations. He started construction in 1930 and finished it about seven years later.
Last year, a developer announced plans to buy the property, demolish the house and build a self-storage facility.
That prompted disbelief and outrage in Hooksett, with more than 7,100 people signing a petition to save the house. Preservation advocates explored moving the home, but the cost was prohibitive.
Earlier this year, the house got a reprieve when the developer changed his mind.
Katsikas, who said she has loved the Stone House for years, has been mulling over ideas for what the Tudor Revival-style structure could become in its new life. It would make a lovely bed and breakfast, a charming venue for intimate weddings or even a wine-tasting room, she said.
"I have a lot of people giving me suggestions," she said.
One person suggested a cannabis dispensary.
"I said, 'Listen, it's the Stone House, not the stoned house,'" Katsikas said.
"It will seek its purpose," she said. "Eventually it will come to me. I need to actually just sit there and figure out what."
"Hip, Hip, Hooray! The Stone House is Saved!" the Hooksett Heritage Commission posted on social media.
"I'm a happy camper," said Kathie Northrup, chair of the commission, which had worked to prevent the demolition. "That was good news for us, and for the house, so yes, I'm thrilled."
Northrup, who lives in the neighborhood, said local children think of the Stone House as a castle. "It was always fascinating to drive by and pretend: What if I lived there?" she said.
The unique house, which has striking stained glass windows and a large fieldstone chimney, is eligible for both the national and state registers of historic places, Northrup said. "There is no other house like it," she said.
Northrup said the response from townspeople to news of the purchase has been all favorable. She said Katsikas has become a local hero.
But Katsikas said, "The people who prevented it from being demolished, I think they are the heroes."
"They saved it for me, and they saved it for the town."