EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 15, 2013

Future of historic house still not resolved

'Perfect Strangers' star is still interested

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — KINGSTON — The future of the Grace Daley House is still in question.

Residents voted in March to give the town the authority to raze the nearly 200-year-old house, but it’s still standing.

“Other things have come up,” Selectman George Korn said. “There are a number of people interested in restoring it in some way, but no decision has been made to do anything with it.”

One person interested in the house is actor Bronson Pinchot. He’s interested in possibly featuring the house on his HGTV reality show, “Bronson Pinchot Saves America.” On the show, Pinchot dismantles historic homes and rebuilds them near his home in Pennsylvania.

But Pinchot said last week he’s had a tough time getting Kingston selectmen to talk about the house.

He said he spoke to Selectman Mark Heitz a few months ago, but hasn’t heard from anyone since.

“The ball is in their court,” Pinchot said. “The last conversation we had, they said they were going to decide on how to proceed. I’m waiting for them to tell me the next step.”

Pinchot said he just wrapped up filming the first season of the show, and still hasn’t been to Kingston to see the house.

“There is no shortage of buildings to save around the country,” he said. “I can’t make a case for me and a crew to go up to New Hampshire, just to have them tell us they are going to go in a different direction.”

But Korn said the town was waiting to hear from Pinchot.

“We would consider it, but we hadn’t heard anything other than the initial interest,” Korn said. “Perhaps we need to communicate to him more clearly.”

Korn said he would bring it up at selectmen’s meeting tonight.

For some, the delay is a welcome thing. Virginia Morse, chairman of the Kingston Historic District Commission, still hopes the building can survive.

“When I ask selectmen about it, they tell me there is no rush,” she said. “The longer they wait to demolish it is fine with me. We still don’t want it to go down.”

Selectmen might solicit bids from anyone interested in restoring or preserving the building, Korn said.

Pinchot said he hasn’t shut the door on being involved with the house.

“If they reached out and told me they were interested, and we discussed what each side can contribute, then we’d absolutely still be interested in saving the house,” he said.

The house has stood at 165 Main St. since 1834 and it was used as a Congregational Church parsonage and a barbershop.

The town bought the building in 1972. Kingston Community House used to run a thrift shop.