Putting old boards to good use
Scott-Farrar buildings being repurposed to make way for the new facility
PETERBOROUGH — A newcomer to Peterborough, Craig Zanetta is a photographer and a writer, but also a staunch advocate for recycling, especially when it comes to old buildings. He’s been in town less than a month, but last week he was hard at work in the cottage on the Scott-Farrar Home property on Elm Street, carefully removing pine wainscoting that he plans to reuse when he restores an old barn at the historic home he recently acquired on Old Dublin Road.
“I’ve torn down 100 buildings in California,” Zanetta said. “I’ve been dismantling them since I was 16 years old. It’s just in my blood.”
The Elm Street cottage and a nearby barn need to be torn down to make way for Scott-Farrar’s new 73,000-square-foot building. Trustees of the adult-care home hope to break ground in September and for more than a year they have been trying to find someone who might be interested in moving or taking down the cottage, barn and house on the corner of the property, so that they wouldn’t have to be demolished. Several people had expressed interest, but all of the proposals fell through until Zanetta came along.
“I’m on a journey,” Zanetta said. “One of the things on my list has always been to live in an 18th-century house. I’d been living in Monterey, where they just tear everything down. Now I’m living in what may be one of the oldest houses in Peterborough.”
Zanetta said he and his wife, Terry, wanted to be closer to a daughter who lives in Boston when they headed east, but they had no idea where they would settle. He can’t pin down why they chose Peterborough; he says it’s almost as if Peterborough chose them.
“It has to do with books I’m writing,” Zanetta said. “There’s a spiritual world here that will supply what I need.”
Zanetta said he’s written a series of books — all unpublished — that he described as being about “a man and a dream.”
“I write about Lindbergh, Longfellow, Mark Twain,” he said. “I’m rewriting history from a different perspective.”
Right now, though, Zanetta’s focus is on removing all the old wood, windows, doors, flooring and siding from the two buildings on Elm Street. He has a deadline of Aug. 31, which doesn’t give him a lot of time.
“I must have driven by this barn about 10 times, and I wondered why it was all boarded up,” he said. “One day I just stopped and looked. I found out that [Scott-Farrar] was looking to remove them. I was just going to see about the siding, but they’re asking me to take it all down.”
The windows in the cottage are identical to the antique windows in his Old Dublin Road home, Zanetta said, “even down to the cracks in the glass.” He plans to use those windows and beams and other material from the Elm Street barn when he restores the old barn on his own property. He’s taking out wainscotting, old doors and paneling from the cottage, finding the original post-and-beam frame underneath. It will all go to good use, Zanetta said, rather than ending up as a heap of demolition rubble.
“We’re very pleased that Craig is taking down these buildings,” said Eldon Munson, the Scott-Farrar trustee who is overseeing the construction project. “Craig signed paperwork with us and went to work the same day. As long as the material is repurposed — that’s been our goal all along. We hate to see valuable materials not go to a useful purpose.”
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.