Demolition of Carriage House Denied by Historical Commission


The Town of Franklin Historical Commission held a Public Hearing, Wednesday, evening regarding a demolition request from the Archdiocese of Boston, represented locally by Matt Kelly, for the century-old carriage house property at 201 Main Street, formerly part of the Hayward Estate. 

The structure is physically located on the corner of Pleasant and Queen Streets. It was constructed around 1910. 

At the hearing, several members of the public were present in addition to Commissioners and Kelly. Katherine Barrow, of 36 Pleasant Street, spoke against demolition and suggested that the structure could perhaps be retained and remodeled to provide housing. She noted that her home, across the street, shares many architectural features with the carriage house and was reputedly the home of the chauffeur at one time. She said the architectural elements "echo each other."

Kelly, for his part, stated that the building was in poor shape and that demolition was sought to clear the way for new construction, though he said he did not know what form that construction might take.

Brock Leiendecker, an associate member of the commission and a historic restoration carpenter, who had been given access to the building by Kelly, disagreed with the characterization of the building and said, in fact, it had clearly been well maintained. And while not all  elements were still original, he said it was solid and had many handsome features, including a somewhat unusual 'turntable' to facilitate turning cars around.

After some more comments from Kelly and questions and comments from commissioners, the chair , Mary Olsson, asked for and received a motion to close the hearing. She then asked for a motion to approve the demolition. The motion was duly made and seconded and each commissioner, including the chair then voted and all voted no.

That vote sets the clock ticking on a one year delay, after which, the Archdiocese will be free to bulldoze the site if it hasn't found another alternative to demolition in the meantime.

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