Thursday, March 28, 2024

Restoration Plans That Merit Mention

For more than three decades, this house at 31 Allen Street has stood empty and virtually unchanged. Measures were taken to prevent it from deteriorating, but no effort was made to restore it.

At the end of last year, the house got a new owner, and last Friday, Walter Chatham, representing the new owner, appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission to present the plans for its restoration. (For those who have come to associate Chatham with Galvan projects, it should be noted that the new owner of the house is not Galvan.)

The plans for the restoration include removing an addition at southeast corner of the building and removing and replacing the porches at the back of the building. 

The plans also include making the third floor habitable by adding a shed dormer the length of the building.

A second entrance to the house, with steps and a portico, will be added on the east side of the house, where there is room for a driveway and an offstreet parking space.

The plan is to preserve all the trim on the house and repair it as necessary. Chatham told the HPC, "The parts we want to keep are in excellent condition."

When Chatham had completed his presentation, Matt McGhee, who lives in the same stretch of Allen Street, noted that this house was prominent and important. He pointed out that this was originally a Greek Revival house, as evidenced by its doorway. He commented, "It is not clear what is happening with the doorway." He told the HPC, "The public should be able to understand what's happening."

Chatham is expected to return to the HPC on Friday, April 12, with further specifications for the project, including the material to be used for the new roof. Perhaps there will also be more specificity about what is planned for the front doorway.

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