Saturday, September 26, 2009

Local Historic District Study Committee: Research Begins

The Amherst Local Historic District Study Committee convened again on 8 September for a walking tour of the existing Dickinson National Historic Register District, which is the putative core area of the proposed local historic district.

Here, Committee members standing between the two Hills Mansions: the Leonard Hills House (now the Amherst Woman's Club; 35 Triangle Street), to the right, and the house of his son, the Henry F. Hills House (former Amherst Boys and Girls Club; 360 Main Street) on the left. Committee Chair Jerry Guidera (foreground), current owner of the Henry Hills House, points out the view from the two mansions across Main Street. At one time, Messrs. Hills, father and son, could look down (literally and figuratively) on their factories and workers below, with a view of the Holyoke Range in the background. In the mid-ground today: the Colonial Revival Baxter Marsh house (c. 1896-97), former home of the Amherst Record. Robert Frost had also lived there for a time. Formerly located at 109 Main Street, the house was moved to its current location at 401 Main St. to make room for the new Police Station in 1989. The current owner is architect Bill Gillen, another member of the Committee.

Now that the Committee has selected the existing Dickinson National Historic Register District as the point of departure for its work, the next step will be to determine what additional properties would be appropriate for inclusion in a local historic district. The practical task is thus to compile an inventory of historic resources in adjoining areas, which will move to the top of our agenda in October.

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