Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Unveiling on Allen Street

At its meeting on June 22, the Historic Preservation Commission agreed to a new policy. When there is no historic photograph of a building before its 20th-century siding had been installed, the commission would no longer approve plans for facade restoration until the siding was removed and any surviving historic detail was revealed. The HPC came to this new policy after historic details at 742 Warren Street, revealed when the vinyl siding came off, were once again obliterated in the restoration, and eyebrow windows discovered at 526 Union Street were covered up in the facade restoration. In both instances, the HPC had approved the plans for the facade without knowing of the existence of these elements.

Now the siding has been removed at 217 Allen Street--not only the siding but the original clapboard as well.

There are ghosts of some kind of decorative hoods over the windows on the upper floor, but what is also revealed is that the first floor windows were originally much taller than the replacement windows currently there. The minutes for the HPC meeting on June 22 indicate that the certificate of appropriateness was to specify that "any details found under the siding are to be retained," but new windows are to be installed, and it is not clear what size windows were specified in the application and approved by the HPC. There was no way of knowing the size of the original windows until the siding came off.

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