It used to be that developers & homeowners wouldn’t dare propose demolition to completely intact, solid structures – they would reserve such demands to a building that was absolutely sorry looking on the exterior. At least, they would reason, the abutters would be so horrified at the negative affects to the streetscape that they would approve of such destruction.
Now, they make no pretense. Word must be getting out that many Newburyport citizens could care less what happens to the city’s historic district. Instead of every man for himself, it’s every house for itself.
We have a great structure across from the High School surrounded by historic buildings with great significance – and the owner wants to tear it down.
Its only crime is that its right on the edge of the threshold for an historical home. When the 1984 posting was established, the cutoff was 1934. This house was built just at the time of being right at the minimum of 50 years.
But if you check the www.newburyporthistoricdistrict.org listing, it is definitely labeled ‘contributing’ and thus is worthy of preservation. According to the sliding scale of the National Register of Historical Places; this house is well within protection now by the Newburyport Historical Commission.
From a regular poster whom I trust implicitly, The Rindler House was built in the 30’s with material and features from the historic houses that existed between Summer and Winter Streets. Many of the homes were moved but tragically many more were demolished so this swath of road could construct the Route One underpass. As John Lagoulis would recount, Newburyport’s downtown was an important way station between Boston and Portsmouth and points north. That was until Route One bypassed it.
According to the anti-LHD crowd, the natural desire of this owner is to preserve and at least renovate the home.
But not so, the out-of-town owner just doesn’t care – time to tear it down and replace it with a ‘new’ building.
It is shameful – that is why I feel the ENTIRE district needs protecting. That’s why our predecessors went through the trouble of getting the homes for all the historic district on the Register.
Under the LHD, it would be protected from demolition and this whole misery wouldn’t even be brought up!
PS. They’ve hired a well respected local lawyer to pave the way. Alas, unlike TV’s Perry Mason, you don’t get to choose what your client wants to do – in our society, everyone deserves legal representation even those who want to do harm to our city.