Historic house for the taking

Published 12:11 am Friday, October 22, 2010

Managing Editor

It’s the American dream: owning a home.
Now it could become a dream come true for free. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is giving away a historic home to anyone willing to relocate it off church property. If there are no takers in the next 12 months, the house will be demolished to clear the land for church use, possibly as an outdoor prayer garden and sanctuary.
Since the property is located in the historic district, the church approached the Washington Historic Preservation Commission seeking permission to raze the house through a certificate of appropriateness. The WHPC issued a 365-day temporary delay of demolition while preservation alternatives were explored.
“Our priority is to keep the house here,” said Kasey Stone Stamey, WHPC chairwoman. “As lovers of historic homes, we want to see it preserved.”
The WHPC found that the structure was representative of a distinct architectural style, making it a “contributing” home to the historic district. A “non-contributing” building is one constructed more recently in the historic district.
As for the church, removing the house would complete its property along Bonner Street from Main to Second.
“This solidifies the block of land,” said Swanson Graves, a member of the St. Peter’s Church vestry. “I don’t foresee us being interested in any other properties around. Although we need additional parking, we would resist the idea of turning that (location) into parking. We now have a landscape plan and we have a member of the parish who is a registered landscape architect. We offer this as a possibility. This is not anything that is set but it is one interesting option for that property.”
Anyone interested in the home should contact St. Peter’s Episcopal Church or the Washington Historic Preservation Commission.