Northampton’s Pomeroy Terrace neighborhood earns historic designation

  • Gregory Parigian talks about his home on 44 Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. He is standing by his garage, his next door neighbor lives in a home that used to be the barn for the house he lives in now. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • 44 Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Northampton’s Ward 3 neighborhood, which includes this house as 28 Pomeroy Terrace, has just been designated a historic district. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • 44 Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Gregory Parigian talks about his home on 44 Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. He is standing by his garage, his next door neighbor lives in a home that used to be the barn for the house he lives in now. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Fred Zimnoch talks about his home on Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • 28 Pomeroy Terrace Northampton, which has just been designated a historic district. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • 23 Pomeroy Terrace in Northampton, owned by Fred Zimnoch. The neighborhood has just been designated a historic district. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 5/25/2018 9:50:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON — After years of campaigning and work, residents of Pomeroy Terrace and the surrounding streets, which comprise the Ward 3 neighborhood, will finally be able to call their neighborhood a historic district.

The residential area, which stretches from the Bridge Street Cemetery to Pomeroy Terrace, and Hawley to Hancock streets, is now a National Register District, part of the National Register of Historic Places. The designation means that both the federal and state governments recognize the area’s historical significance.

The Pomeroy Terrace area is considered to be historically significant because of the architecture and the people who owned the homes. Pomeroy Terrace and the surrounding area is full of houses that pre-date 1900, and many of them were owned and occupied by prominent Northampton residents. Pomeroy Terrace resident Fred Zimnoch said many of the houses belonged to writers, lawyers and abolitionists. Zimnoch even pointed out the site of the first mayor of Northampton’s home.

Zimnoch and other residents had to complete a tremendous amount of work to prove that the area deserved a historic designation, including reviewing every home and structure in the area. A 102-page nomination letter that included a description and historical information from nearly every structure in the area was submitted to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. According to Jennifer Normanly, president of the Ward 3 neighborhood association, Zimnoch and Jerry Budgar were among the residents who spearheaded the effort to get the designation.

According to Budgar, a Pomeroy Street resident and member of the Northampton Housing Authority, the work required to get the designation would not have been completed if not for residents’ efforts. Budgar said all area residents received a letter outlining the plan to get a historical designation, and that the amount of backlash was “minimal.”

“It was an immense amount of work,” Budgar said. “But we had the sense that there was support from the public.”

Budgar said that a good “10-15 years, at least” went into compiling the information for the nomination letter.

The designation, according to Sarah LaValley, who works for the Northampton Planning and Sustainability department and helped to compile the 102-page nomination letter, differs from historic districts on Elm Street and in downtown Northampton, which are considered local historic districts.

LaValley said local historic districts are usually more effective at preserving historic buildings and spaces, because individuals and entities that own structures and buildings in local historic districts need to get approval from the local Historic District Commision before changing anything on the exterior of structure. Residents of the Pomeroy Historic District will not be required to get approval for changes made to the exterior of their homes.

For the area’s residents, the designation was about recognizing the area’s historic significance and importance to Northampton.

Gregory Parigian, who lives in a house on Pomeroy Terrace built in 1835, said he was glad the area received the designation, citing the need to protect the city’s old buildings.

“The old architecture is part of the character of the city,” Parigian said.

“These are historical buildings and houses and they should be preserved,” Zimnoch said.

Normanly said the designation shows the pride that people have in their local history.

“There is a real sense of community and people were invested in it,” Normanly said.

Budgar called the designation a “symbolic victory” and said the neighborhood now has its sights set on celebrating




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