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Historic Brookline Home Threatened With Demolition – Patch.com

Posted: December 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm

BROOKLINE, MA A house that drew national attention a dozen years ago as an endangered historic site that fell into disrepair was saved from demolition in 2008, is again threatened as the developer who bought the property filed to demolish the building.

Now historians and preservationists across New England are rallying against the demolition.

The Brookline Preservation Commission will hold a Demolition Delay hearing scheduled for Dec. 29 to decide whether to impose an 18-month stay on demolition.

Henry Hobson Richardson is recognized alongside architecture greats like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. The prominent architect who is known for his Richardsonian Romanesque style, designed Trinity Church in Boston's Copley Square spent his final years in Brookline before he died and was buried in Walnut Hills Cemetery here at 48.

After he died, his wife, Julia Gorham Hayden, bought their rented home, which was passed down through the generations to Richardson's descendants until the passing of Richardson's grandson at the turn of the twenty-first century.

"Since then, neighbors, friends, and preservation organizations have pursued a 20-year effort to ensure the property is preserved," according to Historic New England, a regional heritage organization.

When, in November a developer bought the Brookline home at 25 Cottage St. house and filed an application to demolish it, advocates raised alarm bells.

"The Richardson House is a significant part of our collective cultural history and represents not just the larger-than-life legacy of Richardson as perhaps the most important architect in U.S. history, but the complex and interesting man and the family behind the legacy," Historic New England said in a statement. "It is the physical embodiment of the idea that greatness can be achieved by imperfect people, living and working together in borrowed houses."

The developer not only acquired 25 Cottage St., but also neighboring 39 Cottage and 222 Warren, the 1857 home of John Charles Olmsted.

According to Historic New England, Richardson's work combined the styles of English Picturesque with the Medieval French Romanesque and "is characterized by mass, order, and repose."

Well known examples near Brookline include Boston's Trinity Church, Sever Hall at Harvard University, Crane Memorial Library in Quincy, and the Train Depot in North Easton.

Jenna Fisher is a news reporter for Patch. Got a tip? She can be reached at Jenna.Fisher@patch.com or by calling 617-942-0474. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@ReporterJenna). Have a something you'd like posted on the Patch? Here's how.

Historic Brookline Home Threatened With Demolition - Patch.com

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