Historic building moving within Taft Corners (6/11/09)

June 11, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Development Review Board approved the relocation of an historic building at Taft Corners at Tuesday night’s meeting. The building’s owners told the board the foundation is unsuitable and dangerous and they must move the house to an improved foundation.

The mid-19th century historic building, known as the Blair House and Calvin Morse Tavern, is on the state’s register of historic places. As a result, owners Peter Judge and Mark Sperry, both of SW Corner LLC, have gone through an extensive Act 250 process to make sure the historic character will not change in the move.

Judge said that for a number of years, moisture has been creeping up through the foundation of the building, cracking its base. Building a new foundation and moving the historic home will go a long way toward preserving its longevity. The building will move 44 feet to the west, farther away from the Taft Corners intersection. It will remain on the same property parcel.

Currently, the Blair House is unoccupied. It has been used in the past for offices and as an antique shop, Judge said. He also said it’s received many renovations over the years.

“Most of it is new,” Judge said. “It’s not really an historic building, but the state thinks it is.”

Board members pointed out that moving the house will open up the possibility of building another structure on the property, which could be a problem due to limited parking availability.

Judge said there are no immediate plans to further develop the site.