Efforts continue to save 58 Chestnut St.
Camden — Neighbors of an antique house slated for demolition at 58 Chestnut St. are continuing their efforts to save the residence. Built in 1882, the home was once a livery stable, according to the great-great grandson of the builder, Geoff Pittman.
The home is currently owned by Robert Hammer and Sue Crowe, former residents of Lincolnville. Hammer and Crowe were issued a demolition permit for the residence, barn and foundations on Aug. 27.
While demolition has not yet started on 58 Chestnut St., Hammer told The Camden Herald in a Sept. 6 phone interview that he and Crowe have donated a number of architectural components salvaged from the existing structures to Habitat for Humanity. From Chestnut Street, the view of the home's interior showed it appeared nearly gutted Wednesday, Sept. 12.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Pittman and Lisa Millimet, who live at 57 Chestnut St., began collecting signatures in support of encouraging Crowe and Hammer to change their plans.The couple plans to set up a table in their driveway with information about the history and future plans for 58 Chestnut St. and an opportunity for residents to add their signature and leave a comment.
"The signatures are being collected as a plea from concerned and unhappy people in the neighborhood, citizens of the town and residents of the area, to be delivered to the new owners in an attempt, not to vilify them, but as a request to reconsider their plan and its impact on the neighborhood and the community."" Millimet explained in a written statement.
She said more than 100 signatories had added their names to the petition as of Wednesday, Sept.12.
Millimet said even if the fate of 58 Chestnut St. is demolition, there is a greater purpose at hand.
"This is a heads-up to a larger issue that is begging to be addressed," she said, referring to the absence of a historic preservation ordinance applicable to private property in Camden.
In a previously published story, Camden Code Enforcement Officer Steve Wilson explained Camden's preservation ordinance is applicable only to town-owned properties within a designated historic district. He said in 2011, the Historic Resources Commission as well as the Planning Board attempted to propose a preservation ordinance for the Great Fire District, but the amendment to the ordinance did not make it past the select board.
Hammer said a date for the start of structural demolition is not available as of Sept. 12. In response to news of the petition he said he and Crowe have received a "considerable number" of telephone calls expressing support for their plans for their property.
"It's the American way," Hammer said. "And I support that."
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.