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September 5, 2013

Kingston residents try again to save historic house

KINGSTON — The Grace Daley House may have another lease on life.

Selectmen approved a plan to remove the historic home last week, but then opted to wait until Sept. 23 to finalize that decision, after some residents pleaded with officials to save the 179-year-old buidling.

“There has never been a comprehensive review of the building,” said Debbie Powers, chairman of the Kingston Heritage Commission. “We want to see if there is more of a historical significance than previously understood.”

In March, Town Meeting voters gave the town permission to raze the building, which has sat on Main Street since 1834.

Since that vote, there have been several attempts to dismantle the home and preserve the materials, including one by actor Bronson Pinchot, who wanted to feature it on his television reality show.

But Pinchot is now out of the picture. Selectmen opted to approve a proposal by Kingston resident Robert Pothier of First Period Colonial.

“I’ve been watching it for years,” he said. “If we can do something, we can try to keep it there. If not, I’ll proceed to take it down and put it up at another location in town.”

Pothier would pay to dismantle the building at no cost to the town. He said he expects that would cost between $30,000 and $50,000

But Powers hopes concerned residents will find a way to save the building.

“Our commission was formed after the vote was taken,” she said. “Before we do something we can’t change, we want selectmen to give us an opportunity to look into it. But we’d like to have some more time, so people can gather all the facts and make that presentation.”

The Heritage Commission was authorized at Town Meeting in March.

Powers said other opportunities could be available.

“We’re looking to see if there are things it can be used for,” she said. “Perhaps we could renovate it or rent to somebody.”

The building was used as the Congregational Church parsonage and as a barbershop. After the town bought the building in 1972, it has been used by the Kingston Community House, a nonprofit organization. That group operated a thrift shop there, but that operation has been moved to Church Street Station.

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