|Samuel Dennison House, September 2013|
Joanne said that from the blog she figured out that the house in question was the Samuel Dennison House, and that from what she could see driving by, she thought that it might be getting prepared either to be torn down or moved. When I got there, I could see exactly what she meant. The house now sits utterly exposed, surrounded by large stretches of barren earth, as seen in the accompanying pictures I took. All the smaller (and mostly if not all 20th Century) outbuildings have been removed, and it truly does look like the main house is about to go, one way or the other. After a quick bit of searching, I'm pleased to say that the future of the 1876 stone home seems to be secure.
I'd love to be able to say that I undertook some sort of deep Woodward-and-Bernstein-esque investigation that took me through all sorts of twists and turns, shady informants, and breathtaking revelations. But the truth is, I took a picture of the sign that was there, and went home and looked up their website. What's being built on the property is The Summit, a new retirement and assisted living community (welcome to the aging America). According to their website, they are planning on opening in the spring of 2015. When I went to the news and events page, I found the info I was looking for. One little paragraph contains the pertinent information, in the context of describing what progress they've made so far: "The first step is to demolish some of the existing buildings located on the site. We are saving two historic farmhouses that will be completely renovated, one of which will serve as our on-site sales office." Presumably the one destined to be the sales office is the Dennison House. They also include a link to a YouTube video that consists of a slideshow set to some cheesy music. Mostly it's just shots of the barren dirt and some construction equipment, but at about the 1:20 mark they start showing some pictures of the house, including some interior shots. If you're interested, it's worth checking out.
|Dennison House, north and east sides|
|Dennison House, south and east sides|
So it seems that as long as The Summit's plans don't change, both houses' futures are secure. I personally don't have a problem with historic homes being preserved and used for non-residential purposes. I'm sure The Summit's management company has a lot more money to spend on restoration than just about any private owner would. And in this case it seems like a perfect match -- an old house serving a residence for old people. (Even I'm not sure how much I'm joking here.)
|Datestone reading "S & E D 1876"|
On a(n almost) final note, I know the idea has come up a few times of maybe someday forming some sort of formal local history organization, like The Mill Creek Hundred Historical Society. [Unimportant personal side note: Ever since I started collecting this stuff, the history folder on my computer has been called MCHHS.] If we ever do, keeping an eye out on our remaining historic buildings, and lobbying for their preservation when appropriate, are some of the things I imagine us doing. Even if it's just showing "The Powers That Be" that there really are people who are interested in these old structures, and that we want to see them preserved.
Now, on an actual final note, you might have noticed that while The Summit's statement mentioned saving two historic farmhouses, I've so far only mentioned one -- the Samuel Dennison House. The other house being renovated sits just south of the Dennison House, and closer to the road. It's a smaller, whitewashed home partially surrounded by some small trees. This house is the David Chambers House, and is about 50 years older than its larger neighbor. More information about this home is forthcoming in a post coming soon.