EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 2, 2011

Demolition threatens historic Windham house

WINDHAM — A development company with offices in North Andover plans to demolish an old Windham farmhouse that is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

The town Heritage Commission has scheduled a hearing for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Town Hall to hear from the developer about what it would do with the Fellows House, located in the village center near the intersection of North Lowell Road.

"This is one of two anchor houses for the village," commission chairman Carol Pynn said. "It's a beautiful, beautiful house."

The farmhouse property is believed to have taken shape in the 1700s and 1800s. The barn was built about 1863, but some beams appear to date to the 1750s. There are wide pine boards, Greek Revival characteristics, a beehive oven in the fireplace, and a pegged floor in the barn.

Mesiti Development Corp. of North Andover, doing business in Windham through its Mesiti Indian Rock Road LLC, has presented no plans for the property, 21 Indian Rock Road-Route 111, to the town, Community Development Director Laura Scott said.

Mesiti only has applied for a demolition permit, Scott said.

Town ordinances provide for a 30-day demolition delay that gives the Heritage Commission the opportunity to weigh in on the proposal, but not block demolition.

The hearing is intended to let the commission discuss with the developer options other than demolition, or ways to preserve a structure or its architectural features.

If the developer doesn't want to retain any particular feature, the commission can encourage the developer to consider donating items or offering them for sale.

The Heritage Commission has scheduled the hearing "so people can understand what's going on with it," Pynn said.

Mesiti did not respond last week to requests for comment. The company's website said Mesiti is involved with both commercial and residential projects.

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