Lucky seven for preservation awards
Elizabeth Foster said she has seen Front Street go through a lot of changes.
According to Foster, who grew up and still lives in her family’s home on the west side of Front Street, when she was young, her home was not unique to the area.
We had neighbors on both sides,” she said.
Now, the house at 199-201 Front St., which has been at least partially owned by the Foster family for more than 200 years, is one of the only residential homes left on the street, which has been developed into a central commercial district in the town.
The home’s being a last remainder of what used to be a residential neighborhood is one reason it was honored, along with six other properties, by the Scituate Historical Society and the Scituate Chamber of Commerce. Building owners who have worked to maintain the historical character of their properties were awarded the 2009 Scituate Heritage Preservation awards at last weekend’s Heritage Days.
The 1700 Foster/Prouty House was split into a duplex some time after the Civil War, but in the 1950s Elizabeth Foster’s father was able to buy both sides. She now lives in one house, with her sister, Marjorie Leary, living in the other.
“We work very hard to keep it up,” Foster said. “There are disadvantages to living in an area that is primarily a business district now, although we have a great view of the harbor.”
Foster nominated her own home for the award, and she said that it was important for her home to be recognized because it represented others that have since been taken down.
"I thought it was very important because at the time the west side of Front Street was lined with houses as large as this one, or larger,” she said.
Among the other award winners, Foster said she was pleased that Harold Brown and Jonathan Kuhn of the Hamilton Company won an award for their efforts to renovate the Welch Company building to keep with its original character. That building is just down Front Street from her home.
Foster said they deserved the award because before the Hamilton Company bought the property, she thought the building would be razed in favor of a condominium development.
“I think the Welch Company is certainly deserving of an award, when it was going to get the wrecking ball,” she said.
Mat Brown, a member of the Scituate Historical Society board of trustees, said that the company’s saving the historically significant building was a large reason why it won the award.
“They deserve it, because it would probably be easier to just raze the building and make a new, modern one,” he said.
In addition to the Foster House and the Welch Company building, owners of five other properties were honored with preservation awards.
- The 1859 Jotham Bailey house at 748 County Way, which, according to the historical society, was originally built for $100. Collette and Russell Wood own the house.
- The 1857 Jesse Spooner house at 118 Gannett Road, which was restored by its owners, local guidance counselors Nancy and Bill Versekes.
- The 1787 Levi Vinyl House at 5 Mann Hill Road, which has been restored, along with colonial gardens that the historical society claims are typical of the 1780s. Donald Hoyt and Susan Lee Anthony own the home.
- The 1755 Barnabus Little House at 659 Country Way, which the historical society cited as proof that through careful planning, a small home can be modernized and expanded without hurting the historic character. Maxwel and Sine Pounder own the house.
- The 1694 William James House at 272 First Parish Raod, which was the oldest home to win this year’s award. Its owners are Scott Souza and Peter Faulk.
Winners will receive a certificate, and their building’s historical plaque will be gilded at the Kukstis Woodcarving Studio at the historical society’s expense.