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Mack property purchase not on Londonderry ballot

Union Leader Correspondent

January 17. 2018 11:42PM
Londonderry voters will not vote this March on an article to purchase the historic Mack family homestead, located on Mammoth Road. (CHRIS GAROFOLO/CORRESPONDENT)

LONDONDERRY — A $400,000 warrant article to purchase the historic homestead of one of Londonderry’s oldest families has been scrapped.

Andy Mack, the seventh generation of his family to occupy the Mammoth Road property, said they found an unexpected amount of repairs that are required at the 14-room Victorian farmhouse, which made it impractical to continue pursuing a warrant article.

“So, we’re stepping back while we have the work done and we’ll see where we wind up after,” he said on Tuesday afternoon. “The Town Council and the town was wonderful to work with — very supportive and understanding. We’re grateful for the thoughtful attention they gave our proposal.”

Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith confirmed Tuesday the article was removed because of the immediate repairs and upgrades, which would have added to the sale price. He said the family felt it was “in their best interest to reassess their options going forward.”

Until the recent development, Londonderry voters would have decided if they wanted to purchase the property during the March 13 Town Meeting. That article has since been removed from the ballot, which was finalized by the town council on Monday night.

The property is perhaps the most photographed in Londonderry, with its Victorian-era style dormers and distinctive L-shape after the carriage sheds were converted into rooms. Portions of the Mack homestead, was originally known as “The Glenwoods,” date back to 1772.

It sits on 1.84 acres of land and is assessed at $331,300, according to the town’s property assessment data, although the family has stated the total is closer to $425,000.

In November, the Mack family appeared before the council to offer the municipality the right of first refusal to purchase the building.

Mack told the council putting forth a warrant article on the issue is a “sensible step” in protecting an important piece of Londonderry’s history, even suggesting the farmstead could serve as a rental site for local civic and cultural organizations.

“We feel the family homestead is a place that should be open to the town and we feel this is the best and highest use for a property that has had a long history with the public,” Mack said back in November.

The Mack family has been managing a series of apple orchards in Londonderry since the 1730s. Their homestead still has some of the original floor joints from the colonial era and centuries-old wood reeding in the parlor and master bedroom, a style more typically seen in coastal towns like Portsmouth.

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