Garfield/Burnett House: More background, potential competition for funds, and a celebration

by Beth Melo on July 28, 2014

Post image for Garfield/Burnett House: More background, potential competition for funds, and a celebration

Above: Former protesters gathered to celebrate news that the estate sale was cancelled to allow for discussion of preservation plans. (Image from Southborough Access Media video)

The story that has captured town interest this summer is far from finished. I expect to hear more from the town on this story over the next couple days.

For now, I want to take a moment to look back at what other news sources had to share on the topic last week. Plus, thanks to an  email, I’m looking at some older (seemingly unrelated) stories on the blog from a new perspective.

Historic Preservation Efforts ScantThe Metrowest Daily News

The article takes a look at Southborough’s lack of legal protection for the estate or any other historically significant property.

Many towns have bylaws that give the historical commission the power to delay demolition of buildings they deem historically significant.

Though such a bylaw doesn’t guarantee a building will be saved, it does give the commission time to work to save it, either by finding a different buyer, moving the structure, or buying it outright. . .

[Nearby towns that have such a bylaw include] Framingham, Natick, Westborough, Ashland, Hopkinton, Holliston and Northborough. . .

Historical Commission Chairman Joe Hubley said Tuesday it’s been difficult to get momentum for historic preservation in town when the commission itself is struggling to attract members. (read more)

YOUR TOWN AND MINE:  The house and the family – Southborough Wicked Local

In her weekly column, Donna McDaniel shares her knowledge of the home’s history and notable families that lived there. It includes fascinating tidbits like:

Burnett developed Deerfoot Farm which at one point employed about half of the town’s population and sent its products abroad, including butter for the Queen of England’s table and a cow to the North Pole with Admiral Byrd. (read more)

Potential competition for historic preservation funds old My Southborough stories from new perspective

A source pointed out to me a potential connection between the preservation efforts for the historic home and other recent town government news. 

Recently, I shared news that the town began the process to reevaluate renovating or constructing a combined public safety building for the police and fire departments.

Back in 2008, Susan posted about the Historic Commission’s interest in preserving the police station. The building was originally built as an annex to Peters High School by a noted architect.

As my source noted, only a portion of the Community Preservation Commission funds arecdedicated to historical preservation. Money spent saving Garfield/Burnett House could impact future efforts to save the annex.

Celebration in front of the historic estateSouthborough Access Media

Spirits were high on Thursday night in front of 84 Main Street. Protestors switched out their signs asking to save the house for signs celebrating that the house is saved “for now”.

SAM captured the celebration:


posted to You Tube by Southborough Access Media

1 Christa Brady July 28, 2014 at 10:35 PM

I think one of the many positive and unexpected outcomes of the kids protesting the potential demolition of the Burnett/Garfield House is that several people pulled papers to fill the three vacant positions on the Historic Commission. (I understand this news followed the publication of the first two articles – – just wanted others to know some more of the good…)

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