Efforts continue to save 58 Chestnut St.

By Jenna Lookner | Sep 12, 2012
Photo by: Jenna Lookner The Frye House at 58 Chestnut St. was built in 1882.

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 jlookner@courierpublicationsllc.com.


Comments (8)
Posted by: Cindy Gerry | Sep 19, 2012 09:36

I agree with Ronald.  If the historical/esthetic value was so high, then someone should have purchased it with preservation in mind.  People are silly.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Sep 14, 2012 09:59

I wished somebody would buy the place next to me and tear it down.

Posted by: Joe Jaret | Sep 13, 2012 15:51

Ah, Camden's elite are still at it. I swore to myself that I'd never write any comments about my former home (Camden, not the house in question) anymore, but then the architectural police started their ravings again. Seeing that no one else has come to the defense of the unfortunate new owners of the Frye House I feel compelled to lift my voice.


These poor folks apparently thought that just because they purchased the property, they could do to it whatever was legally allowed. But nooo, not without without gaining approval from He who is the "Authority" on all things architecturally appropriate for Camden and his force of Chestnut Street vigilantes.


Look, these people have the right to do what they want with their property within the bounds of zoning laws. Period! If Glass and the pompous, arrogant group of Chestnut Street elitists want to publicly admonish the new owners for their taste, they should be prepared to be on the receiving end of scrutiny themselves.


It is not an attractive advertisement for Camden.

Posted by: Sarah G Ridgway | Sep 12, 2012 22:01

You don't get do-overs when you lack the foresight to manage a situation in the first place. Anybody who thinks that a new owner of a property will naturally want to retain -- and update -- the original, historical form is naive at best. If you want to change the zoning, set about asking for that (and good luck!) but don't harass an owner who is legally seeking to improve a property just because you don't like their plans.

Posted by: sharon setz | Sep 12, 2012 21:00

this truly takes 'nosy neighbors' to a new level...it is not your property. mind your own business. before someone starts taking an interest in your concerns.

Posted by: Ronald E Dyer | Sep 12, 2012 18:29

This is Camden, so why don't the neighbors dip into their trust funds and buy the place if they want to save it?

Posted by: Richard Randall | Sep 12, 2012 18:14

Note to neighbors--it's not yours!!!!!! These people own it and can do what they want!!!!!

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Sep 12, 2012 16:18

Are there not more important issues facing even us in Cahmden?

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