Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sad News for 95 Layton Avenue

Not such a happy St. Patrick’s Day for this house. The Irish Fannings have decided to amend their approval to renovate their house at 95 Layton Avenue and, at the next ARB meeting on Monday, March 26th, will ask to tear it down instead. I’m guessing they plan to proceed with their original designs and replicate it (proposed drawings pictured below), but it’s tragic nonetheless. Another authentic piece of architecture lost, and another that may have been protected had the historic district boundaries been expanded awhile back – an endeavor that was supposed to occur over the last several years but which seems to have been abandoned.

In case you missed the previous blog post about this house and its twin, immediately to the west, 95 Layton Avenue is a lovely Queen Anne Style home built in 1888-9 by and for Harry Clancey. It is two-stories tall with a primary front-facing gable and a shallow side cross-gable. Its double-hung windows are symmetrically arranged and it has eaves which turn out slightly at their ends. It has an entry porch which wraps around its front and west side, a centered chimney, and a bay window on the west side. It is clad in cedar shingles which have different patterns for the first, second, and attic levels, a typical Queen Anne feature.

Layton Avenue was laid out about 1895 and was named for a beloved local Methodist minister, Rev. W. A. Layton. Before the turn of the century this “North End” community experienced a building boom and was mentioned in the local papers as “taking the lead in new buildings.”

I assume the owners have changed their minds being convinced that the house is in “too poor condition” to be renovated. I suspected it was going to be stripped-down to a frightening extent anyway. With all due respect, I know rehabilitation is expensive, but it is more environmentally friendly. Did you know that restoring a window is half as expensive as new windows? Easy for me to say when it’s not my wallet, but for every expert that says a structure can’t be saved, I could provide one that says the opposite. I really wish the expansion of the historic district boundaries would become more important to village officials; this replication trend is unsettling.

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