Saving One Historic House

As Westporters debate the fate of a 205-year-old, possibly historic home on Cross Highway — it might be demolished; someone might buy it and renovate it — a Boston suburb did exactly what some “06880” commenters suggested doing here as a 3rd option:

Residents banded together to buy an old property.

According to Boston.com, a 250-year-old house in Belmont was ready to be demolished, and replaced by 2 new homes. But townspeople, along with a family that once owned the home, donated more than $80,000 to hire a New Hampshire home-moving firm.

108 Cross Highway, Westport.

On Saturday, the home was towed a mile, to a temporary site.

According to the website, “The move clears the way for development and gives advocates more time to find a suitable permanent location for the Clark house.”

Earlier, a local architect and Belmont’s Historic District Commission had lobbied the developer — who had the necessary permits — to delay demolition.

Architectural Heritage Foundation, a non-profit preservation group, purchased the house for just $10. They will serve as the building’s custodian until a permanent location is found. The AHF also paid police and fire costs for the move.

Residents still had to find a temporary site, and secure funding for the move. Saturday — moving day — was the developer’s final deadline.

Moving the Thomas Clark House, in Belmont, Mass. (Photo/Wickedlocal.com)

Among the many Belmont residents turning out to watch the spectacle was Dana Long — who, in a nice twist, is a native Westporter. A 1980 graduate of Staples, his parents still live here.

“Think about those guys who built this house 250 years ago,” he said. “How proud would they be to know it’s still there and worth enough to move?”

Sean McConnell, president of AHF, told Boston.com, “This is a really exemplary project of a community coming together around a precious historic building. People seemed thrilled the house was saved.”

No word, meanwhile, on the fate of 108 Cross Highway.

7 responses to “Saving One Historic House

  1. The saddest, or most ridiculous (depending on your point of view), ending for this story is if a permanent location cannot be found. Then the Town of Belmont will tear it down in its temporary location.

    It is easy to get a developer to donate the structure, harder to raise moving costs, and near impossible to find a local lot. One of the main contributors to demolitions in a town is the lack of building lots.

    • Lot’s of things could go wrong including not finding a lot. But some people felt it worth the effort. If in the end they burn it down and teach some fire fighting skills so be it. It’s my understanding that it’s not town money that paid to move the Clark house anyway.

      Good luck in Westport.

  2. Westporter4ever

    I wish I had a plot of land..I’d take it in a heartbeat!!! In fact I wish I could move the house I’m selling in Westport! Sadly, some houses are not able to be moved 🙁

  3. The Belmont house looks like one that was featured on PBS’s “This Old House” when they were the only “shelter” show on TV in the late 70’s or early 80’s, pre HGTV . At that time Bob Villa was the king of house remodeling

  4. I may be mistaken, but I thought I noticed the house at 108 back on the market!