November 8, 2007


   Home Page

 News & Features


 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note





 Pop Culture



   Video Games
   CD Reviews




   Grazing Guide



   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts





 Find A Hippo




   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover

Back in time at a Concord mansion
Carolyn Jenkins’ legacy
By Heidi Masek

What happens when you leave the earth? What happens when you leave the earth and you are the last person in a family who owned a plot of land in Concord, for more than 200 years?

Carolyn Jenkins worked in theater in New York, directing and in costume houses, said Mary Dewing of Durham. Dewing and Jenkins met when they were about four years old in Concord. Before Jenkins died of cancer in 1981, she asked her friends Dewing, Carol Bagan of Concord and attorney Robert Reno of Orr and Reno to act as trustees for the Kimball-Jenkins Charitable Trust. Jenkins left a late 1800s-era mansion and outbuildings at 266 North Main St. for charitable purposes such as encouragement of art or “prevention of cruelty to animals,” according to her will.

“For 15 years, you could walk in there and it looked as if the family stepped out for a moment,” Dewing said.

Trustees have since changed. So has the property.

Originally, tours were offered through the mansion. The trustees borrowed money from themselves to renovate the Carriage House, basically a garage, to rent out for functions. But they could never figure out a reliable way to support the main house operations, Dewing said. “There’s so much to the maintenance,” she said.

Jenkins’ will was challenged by her father’s family, Dewing said. Walter Jenkins had insisted that Wellesley College, his relatives and Saint Paul’s Church were mentioned in the trust. His version was found to trump hers, so there was little endowment left to cover the property’s expenses. “We were stunned,” Dewing said.

After Dewing left the board, the furnishings were sold at an auction in February 2005 through Hap Moore Antiques in York, Maine. Until she left the board, the mansion had not changed in almost 70 years, Dewing said. It wasn’t a museum but there were some rooms that were treated that way when she and Jenkins were children, Dewing said. They were off limits to kids.

A few years ago, Lorrie Carey promoted the idea of using Kimball-Jenkins as an art school. There had been discussion among trustees of “mothballing” the estate, Carey said. She’d volunteered there for a number of years, lived next door, and felt people should have access. Carey had helped with a summer music series on the Kimball-Jenkins grounds. The house also used to partner with the historic Pierce Mansion for historic district tours, Carey said. “Of course, there are no artifacts to show anymore,” she said.

From Jenkins’ will and background, it seemed they should find an arts-related purpose for the estate, Carey said. The one thing Concord didn’t have was a visual art school, she said. Carey has volunteered on other cultural nonprofit projects in the area, including the Concord Community Music School and Capitol Center for the Arts.

“Carolyn’s focus was more with the performing arts, but ... she would not be displeased by this, I think,” Dewing said of the Kimball-Jenkins School of Art, which has since come into being.

“I truly hope that community art school continues because it is the only one of its type in this area,” Carey said. “I commend the students and teachers for speaking out and making the community aware of what they offer and its importance,” Carey said. The current trustees have approached other organizations about partnering with Kimball-Jenkins to cope with the estate’s financial difficulties, they said. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s leaders have said they were approached and want to transfer their headquarters operations and contents to Kimball-Jenkins. Currently, the estate also hosts the New Hampshire Technical Institute’s growing visual arts program, which projects that 700 students will take courses at the estate this academic year.

Carey was one of the later trustees — or at least she thought she was. She became concerned when about $40,000 had been withdrawn from a trust account and she could not find record of expenditure, she said. After she questioned the discrepancy in 2000, she found a shopping bag left at her front door with a plaque thanking her for her years of service, she said. For the previous two and a half years, she believed she was a trustee, yet had never met with the probate judge who has power to accept resignations and install new trustees. Carey then spent about $5,000 in legal fees to “unravel that mess,” she said. “Because, of course, I didn’t want Kimball-Jenkins to be in any trouble,” she said.

Carolyn Jenkins’ will states that if and when the estate is no longer feasible to function, the trust or proceeds should be distributed for the educational and charitable purposes for the City of Concord.

“If they have managed to make a profit, it seems to me singularly unwise to abandon it,” Dewing said.

“It is true that things were more challenging when we started than they are now. That’s good news. The place is operating well at the moment. The question is, do we have the income to look after the place long-term down the road?” current Kimball-Jenkins trustee Eric Palson said. The estate may be out of debt, but current income isn’t enough to hire a marketing director, development director, grant writer or full-time maintenance staff, trustee Robert Wilson said.

The current trustees, who also include Wilson’s wife, Jill, and William Saturley, are scheduled to meet with a probate judge regarding trust finances at the end of November, Wilson said.

More Kimball roots
Carolyn Jenkins left all the Kimball family’s letters and documents to the New Hampshire Historical Society.

“I remember going over one time to see Carolyn; she said ‘You’ll never guess what I’m doing — I’m ironing letters,’” Mary Dewing said. “It’s an amazing collection.” Dewing spent hours reading them. They mention the Gold Rush and the Trail of Tears, among other major events, she said. In one letter, a woman is visiting with the Stark family in the early 1800s. One of her brothers worked in New York City, and his landlady had sent word that he was ill. Within an hour, the sister was packed and on a stage coach. She was detained in Hartford, Conn., for a couple days because of a storm and had to wade through hip-high snow. When she found his rooming house in New York, she wrote, “He was astonished to see me, and I aghast to see him,” because he was so ill, Dewing quoted. The two spoke for a few hours, and he died in her arms, Dewing said. She wrote that she could have worn a mourning ring, but a lock of hair would suffice. There is a four-inch lock of chestnut-colored hair in the latter, Dewing said.

11/1/2007 Governor honors artists with art

10/25/2007 Spatial Matters
10/18/2007 Perfecting a craft
10/11/2007 Handmade furniture
10/04/2007 Capturing nature on canvas and by camera
9/27/2007 Local color
9/20/2007 Nashua, in the abstract
9/13/2007 Local Color
9/6/2007 Looking at the world
8/30/2007 Art in the fresh air
8/23/2007 Berlin pride
8/16/2007 Finding money
8/9/2007 Park of arts
8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
7/26/2007 Taking care of wood
7/19/2007 Local Color
7/12/2007 Local Color
7/5/2007 Local Color
6/28/2007 Local Color
6/21/2007 The great outdoors
6/14/2007 Play per day
6/7/2007 Goodbye, gallery
5/31/2007 Impressions
5/24/2007 Local color
5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
4/12/2007 Local color
4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local color
09/07/2006 Bel Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier