Kingston: Old Town House in danger?

Kingston’s Town House, the colonial name for town hall, replaced an older building a mile away, off Main Street, in the town’s historic center. Now some fear the old Town House may become lost.

Kingston’s 1841 Town House served as the center of local government, a place of concerts and dances, and the town jail. Then the town built a new municipal office building off Evergreen Street. The old place has begun to deteriorate.

In 1997, Massachusetts identified it as one of the top 10 endangered places historic buildings in the state.

Town Meeting approved a sale of the building and in 2007 selectmen negotiated a sale to a private developer. As part of that negotiation, the developer agreed to a preservation restriction because the building is part of the historic town center.

The restriction requires the owner to rehabilitate and maintain the exterior. He’s done some work on the interior, but the exterior continues to crumble.

The Historical Commission, given the job to enforce the preservation restriction, has tried and failed to motivate the owner. The commission’s latest registered letter to the owner was returned as undeliverable.

Tuesday night, Kingston Selectmen gave the Historical Commission permission to use town counsel to urge the owner to comply with the preservation restriction.Kingston Town House 1Kingston Town House 2Kingston Town House 3

About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson worked in print journalism for more than two decades as a reporter and editor. He won several regional and national awards. He resides in Plymouth where he writes fiction and paints, when not producing award-winning news as a reporter for WATD.