Amherst Historical Commission imposes demolition delay on 1862 home

  • The Martha S. Hubbard House at 205 South Pleasant St. Google Street View

Staff Writer
Published: 6/2/2020 12:38:21 PM

AMHERST — A historic home at the edge of downtown Amherst, a short distance from prominent Amherst College properties including College Hall and the President’s House, cannot be immediately demolished to make way for new construction on the campus.

The Historical Commission recently voted 4-0 to impose a yearlong demolition delay on what is known as the Martha S. Hubbard House, a single-family Greek Revival-style home with a front gable end that was built in 1862.

The commission determined that the 205 South Pleasant St. home, which had been privately owned until being acquired by the college, has both architectural and geographical importance.

“We’re just basically slowing the process down now,” said Jan Marquardt, the acting chairwoman of the commission.

Amherst College is in the process of designing a new building on nearby parcels, Mark Andrews, capital projects manager at the college, told the commission.

“We’re still in the concept design,” Andrews said, adding that the presence of the home would interfere with the designs for the new building.

But he noted that the 1,575-square foot, two-story home could be moved from the site, with interest being expressed by an anonymous developer.

“The college is looking at alternatives to demolition,” Andrews said.

This was confirmed by Tom Davies, director of Design and Construction/Facilities for the college. Davies said the college is hopeful that the home can be relocated.

Senior Planner Nathaniel Malloy told the commission there’s not much to the history of the home. Aside from being part of the streetscape for more than 150 years, it has had no historically prominent owners.

“In terms of ownership or anything else, I didn’t find anything that would stand out,” Malloy said.

Documents provided to the commission show about 50 similar homes continue to exist in and around downtown.

Malloy said moving the home, though, is considered demolition, so the demolition delay would need to be lifted even if it doesn’t meet the wrecking ball.

The commission previously approved demolitions of a 90-year-old barn and a 1960s-era garage on adjacent properties on South Pleasant Street that also will be in the way of the new building project.

One neighboring property, known as the Amherst College President Mother’s House, is slated to become the home for the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Center for Writing and Speaking, according to the college website.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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