Neighbors, Preservation Society unhappy with plan to demo old home

Neighbors and community preservationists are unhappy with a plan that has re-emerged to demolish the historic home on 8 Lawrence St. in Thompson Square and potentially replace it with an apartment building.
Realtor George Sarkis has proposed to demolish the home, and the Boston Landmarks Commission has stepped in to hold at Article 85 Demolition Delay hearing to determine if the property is historically significant.
Sarkis did not return an email from the Patriot Bridge about his plans, but Mayoral Liaison Quinn Locke said there will be an online public meeting on the project Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. That meeting will be to inform the community about the demolition – which is by right – and to discuss alternatives to demolishing it. There will also be a Boston Landmarks public hearing as well in the near future.

This home at 8 Lawrence St. is up for demolition by developer George Sarkis. A meeting will be held Sept. 17.

Charlestown Preservation Society (CPS) President Amanda Zettel said the home is very old and quite historic and they do not support a demolition of the property. For the CPS, the proposal brings back memories of about five years ago when several historic homes were slated to be demolished and rebuilt with modern buildings – the worst offender being on Oak Street.
“Demolition is a bad deal for many reasons in Charlestown,” she said. “It’s not the best environmental option and we have few of these old houses left that were built so long ago and contribute to the quality, character and appeal of the neighborhood. It is as old as the Monumental House on Union Street. This will be our only chance to say the building is important and that we want to keep as much of the original building as possible.”
She also said the late Bill Lamb had worked on this issue on Lawrence Street and was adamant that it not be demolished.
She said previous plans that were shared with the CPS Design Review Committee included a curb cut on Lawrence Street – taking away parking – and a building that would go up 35 feet and be built nearly from lot line to lot line.
“We need to keep a diversity of building types in the neighborhood,” she said. “If all these kinds of homes go away in exchange for mini-mansions, we lose that mid-tier historic home like this.”
Records from the CPS indicate that 8 Lawrence St. was built in 1813 or 1814 and is among the earliest homes built in that area after the burning of the Town in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
James Fosdick (1789-1854) built 8 Lawrence Street. James Fosdick was a chair-maker. His parents were David Fosdick (1757-1812) and Mary Frothingham (1758-1848). Mary was the daughter of James Frothingham (1735-1820), who was deacon of the First Church in Charlestown on Town Hill. Her brother, James Frothingham Jr. (1763-1848) married Sally Fosdick. In 1811 James Fosdick married Sophia Goodell. As was customary, we believe he built his home to house his family shortly after his marriage. His first daughter was born in 1812 and first son in 1813 and ultimately another 6 children. Wife Sophia died in 1833 and James Fosdick kept the house until 1845 when his eighth child, a daughter, became 23-years of age. James Fosdick is laid to rest in a vault at the historic Phipps Street Burying Ground in Charlestown, where Lawrence Street ends at Phipps Street.

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