Dedication for Harvey J. Gagnon Harmony Hall to be held Aug. 23

Gagnon passed away in March

A new sign has been installed outside the Dracut Historical Society and Harvey J. Gagnon Harmony Hall at 1660 Lakeview Ave. The part bearing Gagnon’s name is covered until it is unveiled at a dedication ceremony later this month.
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DRACUT — Motorists driving by the newly named Harvey J. Gagnon Harmony Hall may have noticed a new sign outside the building. The part bearing Gagnon’s name is covered until it is unveiled at a dedication ceremony later this month.

The program co-hosted by the town of Dracut and the Dracut Historical Society will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 outside the hall at 1660 Lakeview Ave.

“I’m excited,” said Dave Paquin, vice president of the historical society. “I’m really happy that the Board of Selectmen had the foresight to launch this project of renaming Harmony Hall in Harvey Gagnon’s memory, if you will.”

Gagnon, who died on March 1, was a father of seven and a former Dracut Historical Society president. He was considered the driving force behind some of the town’s most important historic-preservation projects — including then-called Harmony Hall’s move years ago from the intersection of Lakeview Avenue and Mammoth Road to its current site adjacent to the Historical Society.

Gagnon was 87 at the time of his passing.

The Board of Selectmen this past April voted 4-0 to rename Harmony Hall in honor of Gagnon. Selectmen Chair Jesse Forcier, who stepped down temporarily from his chairman’s position so he could make the motion to rename the hall, will be one of several confirmed speakers at the Aug. 23 ceremony.

“I just think it’s a great honor for Harvey,” Forcier said. “I’m really proud to be able to be there in front of the Gagnon family, and the Cox family, who I’ve known for a very long time.”

According to Paquin, other confirmed speakers include state Sen. Barry Finegold and state Rep. Colleen Garry.

Attempts to reach Gagnon’s relatives on Monday were unsuccessful.

According to his obituary, the Dracut Historical Society continued to be a labor of love for Gagnon even after he stepped down from most committee obligations. Last year, he expressed pride in his grandson, Patrick Cox, for taking over as president of the historical society. Cox had been taking his grandfather to society meetings and began to attend them himself.

“I think it’s very touching because Harvey was instrumental in having the building moved there in the mid 90s,” Paquin said of the upcoming ceremony. “Then he dedicated all his time to getting it rehabilitated to the condition that you see it now. People have asked me, ‘Do you miss Harvey?’ I truly do. He was my mentor. Every time I entered the hall, I sensed his presence. I feel like this is all a part of him.”