Calling all preservationists, architectural experts or those who just love old buildings. Preservation Worcester has posted its annual list of the most endangered structures around the city. This is a list of historically or culturally significant buildings that must meet a specific criteria and are deemed to be in severe disrepair or danger of demolition. Worcester has a long list of contributing buildings and historically significant structures but unfortunately as the years go by, the list gets shorter. All of the buildings they list must be at least 50 years old and contribute to Worcester’s historical and architectural heritage.
The oldest building that has made the list is known as Cow Tavern, which is located at 274 Salisbury Street. This Federal Style house was built in 1780 and was operated as a tavern until 1830. Symmetry is one of the main characteristics of buildings of the Federal Style. This structure shows clear resemblance of the style in the facade with its centered front door, symmetrical window placement and the two chimneys flanking both sides of the main entry.. Currently the house sits vacant and shows extreme disrepair in its windows, clapboard siding and foundation. With its prominent location in the city’s west side, hopefully this structure can be restored by the right owner and its history preserved.
Another unique building that made the list is known as Larchmont which is an Italianate and Second Empire Villa located in the Quinsigamond Village neighborhood. It is one of the only surviving structures in the city of those architectural styles. Designed as a single family home by Worcester architect Elbridge Boyden and constructed in 1858, this property is in immaculate condition and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was last used as a funeral home and its current owner appears to be seeking a demolition permit from the city. During the extent of the city’s one year Demolition Delay Ordinance, hopefully the property owner can come to an agreement with a developer who intends to retain the historic structure on the property.
29 Bellevue Street is a great example of an original looking three decker built in 1900. This style building was very popular around the city and greatly contributed to housing Worcester’s working class population.This building retains much of its original architectural fabric such as the cornice details,shingle siding and wood trim boards. You don’t find many buildings anymore that have their original elements intact or even surviving for that matter. The building recently had a fire and appears to be in great need of repair. If its owners choose to restore the building to its original look, they have a great canvas of original parts to work with.
With quite a few more buildings on the list, Preservation Worcester did a great job of bringing to the public’s attention some of the city’s prized homes, barns and carriage houses that are in need of repair or saving. As sustainable design becomes more important and as construction prices keep going up, preservation and restoration seems out of reach for many. However, looking at how these buildings have stood the test of time, for some being almost 250 years old, it only makes sense to retain and upgrade these prized structures. For our city to retain an important sense of place and a unique character in the built environment, we need to preserve the heritage that previous generations have built so that future generations can also learn and experience a sense of the past when they see an old building.
Image 1: Photo by Vincent Pacifico
Image 2: Photo by Vincent Pacifico
Image 3: Photo by Vincent Pacifico