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When older homes are torn down: Peterborough loses 3 of its beloved

On Monday morning, construction workers tear down the first of three small houses on Route 202 that were to be demolished.

On Monday morning, construction workers tear down the first of three small houses on Route 202 that were to be demolished.

PETERBOROUGH — 104 Grove Street, Our Town’s former worker’s cottage situated just south of NH Route 101 was lost to the Bulldozer on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.

Built in 1920, this fine example of a wood-framed 2-plus story nearly-square side-gable form, sat on its hand-laid cobble foundation since the early 20th century, its full width front porch was surely enjoyed by many over the years as early Ford Model T’s made way for today’s Chevy Volts to pass by along Grove Street.

Originally owned by Charles H. Weeks, farm manager at the Old Town Farm where it was believed to have been moved from, this home was declared “Eligible for the National Register at State Level in 2003 due to its integrity of Location, Workmanship, Design, Feeling, Setting, Association, and Materials.”

PETERBOROUGH – 106 Grove Street, Neighbor to its fellow Early 1900s workforce houses, it too was set to rubble on Oct. 22.

Built in 1914, this Cape in 3x2 form boasted a full-width front porch and wall dormer above the center entry. Paired first floor windows faced onto the porch. Its architecture was considered historic within the context of Peterborough’s larger center village due to the “distinct residential neighborhood of visually related dwellings at a scale subtly different from that of the single and multi-family houses along Grove Street North of Route 101.” 106 Grove Street was also declared Eligible for the National Register at State Level in 2003.

PETERBOROUGH ­— 108 Grove Street, another fallen, if not because of its mere proximity to 104 and 106 Grove Street, then because its time had quite simply run out that same day.

Built in 1924, on a parcel flanked by Grove Street and a wooded hillside on the west and a state-owned railroad to the east, this cottage carried a 1½ story Cape form and also had a full-width front porch. Strikingly similar to its immediate neighbor at 106 Grove, this home’s asymmetrical placement of the central entry and flanking windows gave it a slightly different character. 108 Grove Street, built last of the five (yes, five. The fifth still stands for now) in this stretch of road convenient to the central village and to factories and workplaces beyond, was also declared Eligible for the National Register at State Level in 2003.

Predeceased by their partner on the block 102 Grove Street in 1987 (now a parking lot), these three homes which, undoubtedly, took months to build and have been lived in, maintained, witnessed births, deaths and countless lives passing through for close to 100 years are gone in one day. Perhaps a bit worn down in recent years, each most certainly had the potential for many more. Their debris was laid to rest at a local transfer station whereupon they were sorted and sent off to the landfill.

104, 106 and 108 are survived by their sister at 110 Grove. Built in 1919, this cottage, somewhat similar to 108 Grove, lacks a front porch but has a lateral ell addition linked to a small garage with an asymmetrical gable-front pitched roof. It too is eligible for the National Register at State Level. The Peterborough Heritage Commission recommends historic status be granted so that this sole surviving representative of a type of house built small, affordable and with design details to link it to more expensive building types, may be saved.

Our three dearly demolished will be missed by families past and the long list of hopeful carpenters, contractors, a farmer, a fireman, a doctor, a publisher, artists, etc. that were considering them for renovation and revival as well as anyone interested in the history and culture of the town of Peterborough.

In lieu of flowers left at the empty lots please consider making a donation to Monadnock Habitat for Humanity, Attn: Dorothy Zug, P.O. Box 21, Keene, NH 03431 or www.habitat.org as they have expressed an interest in taking over the lots and building similar small and affordable houses greatly needed in the area.

Tyler Ward of Peterborough is a member of the town’s Heritage Commission.

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