Frank Roche talks about the many talents of Jerry Harper of Meredith, NH, who has a fascinating collection of boats, cars, and antique clocks from around the world.
I toured an interesting property we listed recently located at 78 Plymouth St in Meredith. From the outside it looked like an eye appealing antique Cape with an attached carriage house and oversized barn/garage. Upon entering the property, I was amazed at the collection of antique clocks from all over the world – as well as antique boats, antique car restorations and other innovative mahogany boat/bar creations on site.
What a fascinating collection! The guy behind the antique restorations (and the owner of the property) is an interesting and multi-talented character. Jerry Harper moved up to the Lakes Region in 1978 with a background as an auto mechanic and a passion for antique boats. Jerry’s brother at that time lived on Lake Waukewan where Jerry developed an interest in boats and a fascination with the Lakes Region. It was then when he met Billy Vinnie Callahan, Jim Irwin, George Johnson, and Pat Curtain who did the movie on “Golden Pond.” These marina owners and visionaries opened up some major avenues for Jerry. Jerry moved behind the Tamarack Restaurant and started with antique restorations in a house and small shop at that location.
He did work for Ted and Bob Valpy. However, the zoning would not allow him to do sales and restoration at that location so he moved up the road across from JB Scoops on Route 3 and purchased a commercial property in 1980 including a large house. He built 2 large garages and racks for the boat displays. Jerry became a member of the antique classic boat society and operated in this location for 30 years restoring hundreds of antique boats. He worked on one that was built for Al Capone, one for President Roosevelt, and another out of the Henry Ford museum. He installed WWI V-12 aircraft engines in boats and also WWII V-12 Packard PT boat engines in antique boats. Jerry also did a lot of upholstery, canvas work, custom boat trailers, and major engine overhauls. His creative talents lengthened the back of many boats and made them into barrel and torpedo sterns as well as changing the seating arrangements in cockpit boats. During those 30 years he shipped engines and boats all over the world to places such as Peru, Australia, Chile, England, and many States throughout the US. Over the years when you went by this landmark property you would always see a merit of antique and classic boats stored on the racks outside.
In 2010 Jerry scaled down his operations and moved to 78 Plymouth Street in Meredith, where he has operated for the past 7 years. In his yard and garages you can see Peterbilt trucks which were customized into dual rear wheel pickup trucks. There was also an older fire truck which he shortened by 15 feet and turned into a customized pickup truck.One interesting sideline was he would take wooden and fiberglass boats and cut off the last 3 feet and convert them into custom bars, complete with wine racks, refrigerators and gleaming mahogany finishes. He has sold these as well has mahogany transom plaques all over the country through his website. Signs made out of mahogany transoms for homeowner’s and businesses were also constructed.
When I went inside Jerry’s home I was so impressed with his collection of antique clocks for all over the world dating from 1835-1960. I have always had an interest in these beautiful wooden clocks with brass faces and pendulums. Jerry had 120 of them on display and for sale. Some of them were from England, Germany, Russia, Spain, Bulgaria, France and the US. It truly amazed me that Jerry collected them in such a short time frame and did so many restorations to the intricate parts. Jerry’s father always had a collection of antique clocks around which tweaked his imagination growing up.
Jerry Harper’s collection of antique clocks, boats, cars and trucks can be seen online at his retail store harperboats.com. As his career is winding down he intends to move and semi-retire in North Carolina where he will scale down his operation considerably.
Jerry’s fascinating property at 78 Plymouth St., Meredith can be viewed HERE (MLS# 4673827) or on rocherealty.com. This location is a wonderful opportunity for an owner occupied in-home business in the scenic resort town of Meredith. The historic Cape has 4-bedrooms, 3 baths, wide pine floors, a farmer’s porch, 16×16′ deck, and a gazebo with a firepit. The carriage house includes a 3-bay heated garage and an attached office, plus an attached heated work shop/garage, 4 bays with 12-foot ceilings, and automatic doors. Where can you find 8 total garages with a commercial lift as part of the offering!? There is an added bonus with a very unique apartment with a beamed vaulted ceiling and tremendous character. There are low maintenance, new steel roofs on all the buildings. Most importantly, the location is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants, town docks, parks, and Lake Winnipesaukee with 72 miles of water and hundreds of islands to explore. This unique property is presently offered for sale at $425,000. For information you can contact Gail Digangi of Roche Realty Group at (603) 520-5978 or the Roche Realty office at (603) 279-7046.