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Demolition of Kingston's historic Grace Daley House has been delayed to give a group of residents time to come up with a plan to save the building. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)


Historic Kingston building receives temporary reprieve

KINGSTON — Selectmen voted Monday to delay the demolition of the historic Grace Daley House to give a group of residents time to come up with a plan to save the building.

In a unanimous vote, selectmen agreed to hold off on any demolition work until those interested in preserving the building can present a warrant article to voters in March.

That article would be aimed at giving preservationists an opportunity to develop a plan for restoring the town-owned 19th century building, but without tax dollars.

"We'll allow them the opportunity to do that," said Selectman Mark Heitz, board chairman.

He stressed that he and other selectmen would only support the measure if it doesn't involve town funds.

"If it's to raise money I won't be in favor of that," Heitz said.

Voters last March rejected a $150,000 proposal to renovate the aging house built on Main Street in 1834 that was most recently used for a thrift shop run by a nonprofit organization.

Instead, voters approved a separate proposal to tear down the building, which sits next to the Kingston Town Hall.

No date was set for razing the building.

Virginia Morse, chairman of the Historic District Commission, said the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and the state's Division of Historical Resources will offer advice and support for developing the warrant article.

The Heritage Commission and Historic District Commission, with support of the Kingston Historical Museum, met with selectmen Monday and expressed their desire to present a warrant article to preserve the building.

Resident Glenn Coppelman submitted a letter in support of postponing the demolition that was accompanied by a check to begin the fundraising effort.

It was matched by checks from Morse and her husband and Stanley Shalett, also a Historic District Commission member.

Earlier this year, TV actor Bronson Pinchot sent a letter to selectmen expressing an interest in featuring the building in a new show called "Bronson Pinchot Saves America."

Pinchot, best known for playing Balki Bartokomous in the sitcom "Perfect Strangers" in the 1980s and 1990s, spoke with Heitz about his idea of dismantling the building with some of the materials being used in other house restoration projects.

Heitz said he hasn't heard from Pinchot again since their conversation several months ago.

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