Historic homes are demolished in Branford. Some builders say they’re not worth saving.

BRAFORD – While an antique house may have provenance and be appreciated by many, the question is, should this old house be saved?

Two local builders agree that it is not worth saving a few old houses.

The problem has come to the fore following recent teardowns of the historic Warner House in Pine Orchard and the Pawson Park Roller Rink House in Branford, which was demonstrated earlier this month.

These builders came out in favor of new construction over preservation.

Eric Rose, owner of EM Rose Builders, Inc. of Branford for about 35 years, walked through Warner House a few years ago at the behest of a potential buyer. Feminizing the house was the right decision, he said.

The Pine Orchard monument was sold for $ 1.3 million, while the Roller Rink House at 44 Wakefield Road sold for $ 1.38 million.

Rose, a resident of Pine Orchard and a member of the Pine Orchard Zoning Appeal Board, explained why he said many people, including a majority on Facebook, expressed shock that the 1894 Warner House was shaved last month.

“I just think it allowed the reaction of the people who see the demolition and they think the conspicuous consumption, the story is being destroyed – is it nothing that we value anymore?” Rose said.

“They don’t know enough to look at a building, which goes into the decision to keep it, change it or replace it,” he added.

Builder Bill Plunkett, who has done a dozen historic preservation jobs in Madison, said decisions about saving a building must be made on an individual basis.

He spoke about what needs to be taken into account when examining a building. “Historical significance,” he said. “Structurally, does this have some merit? Does it have architectural significance?

Rose has spent years renovating historic homes, including a recent restoration from an 1875 Victorian Branford, he said.

“Probably even in the good old days it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but in terms of modern floor plans it was horrible,” he said.

The house, built by Pine Orchard founder Alden M. Young, was a gift to his daughter Olive and her husband Milton Warner, who was also Young’s partner at the turn of the 19th century.

One of the most distinctive features of the 10,105 square foot home was the lavish music room which housed a Skinner organ. The hall was used for music concerts and family weddings.

“You have the very large organ room on the left which was dedicated to be an organ room,” Rose added. “It was just very embarrassing.”

Rose talked about the floor plan in detail. “It wasn’t even a good floor plan back then, when you had minions, let alone use it today in a modern context,” he said. “The floor plan itself couldn’t be corrected, unless you gutted it out and started over in that volume of the exterior walls. “

Plunkett also spoke about elements of old homes that don’t fit today’s lifestyle, such as unusable space, low ceilings, and drafty interiors. “So there is merit in demolishing some houses. “

But, on the other hand, he said, “People say, ‘Well you can build a more energy efficient house’ which is often the argument you hear about tearing it down and building it. a new house.

“My point of view is that the most energy efficient house is the one that you don’t tear down,” he added. “Do you know how much energy it takes? When I say energy – human and resources.

It’s about the money for some

“You’re definitely not going to buy a building and say, ‘Well, I’m going to fix it, but I’m not going to make it what would be a big house,’” Rose said. “It doesn’t make sense – who would do that?” If you are going to invest the money in it, you are going to make it a great house.

Rose discussed the outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems at Warner House.

“The old boiler system was completely gone,” he said. “It had to be replaced. You can’t replace it with air, because there’s no way you can put ductwork in a building with this ceiling height and layout, which means you really can’t have air conditioning, but you can put radiators and baseboards back to radiant heat. “

Although the windows are original, they weren’t energy efficient, Rose said.

Rose maintains that the house was not well built. “In my business we always say, ‘They don’t build things the way they used to.’

“Thank goodness,” he added. “It’s not often that we see really well-constructed buildings from this period, let alone, do they stay in good condition after all the things that have been changed over the decades?”

Plunkett agreed. “They say they don’t make them like they used to be, and that’s generally a good thing because most of them aren’t built very well.”

Rose and Plunkett agreed that was ultimately the owner’s decision. “It’s private property,” Rose said. “If you’re really upset about it, buy it. Otherwise, it’s like that. “


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