Residents respond to demolition of dilapidated Main Street house on Facebook

There is no longer any uncertainty about the future of the 1757 Thomas Barker House - AKA the Pitts house.  On Monday morning (Dec. 3) a bulldozer sealed the the fate of the 261-year-old colonial, which had fallen into disrepair decades ago and become an eyesore on Main Street amid the Lincoln Historic District.

Owner John Pitts had made promises many times over the past two decades to repair and restore the brown clapboard house and barn, the most recent just two months ago in front of selectmen. 

At the time, Pitts was given one last chance to shore up and renovate the house and barn on the property.  Pitts told selectmen he planned to work with Hingham builder Peter Bickford to restore the the structure, which had been in danger of demolition since August when the Historic Districts Commission voted in favor of Building Commissioner Michael Clancy's request to raze the buildings, as they were a safety concern.

During the summer, Pitts took some steps required to secure the property by putting up a fence, mowing the lawn and removing several unregistered vehicles from the property.  But after several more weeks passed without any concrete renovation plans for the deteriorating buildings, Clancy asked selectmen in late October to approve a reserve fund transfer of $44,700 to knock it down. 

 By 10 a.m. on Dec. 3, a brick chimney was all that remained on the property, as a bulldozer loaded debris into a dumpster, which was later taken away in a truck.

Hingham residents reacted with both surprise and disappointment via social media posts after a video of the demolition was posted on the Hingham Journal's Facebook page Monday morning.

"It is a shame it couldn’t have been restored and saved in a town with so much history. Once gone, gone forever," Kathleen 'Kathy' Sweeney Whisler wrote.

"What a shame!," agreed Stacey Dedian in her post. "I (and I am sure a ton more people) would have loved to see about restoring that property. He should have just sold it if he never intended to do anything. That owner just threw away a piece of history."

"It’s nice to think that it had made it this long, and so could be worth something," Dave Green commented on Facebook.  "But it was several decades too late to be saved. Even that old chimney looks unusable," he said.

Others expressed hope that something good will take the place of the dilapidated buildings.

"Just as well," Mike Prendergast said of the demolition. "Peter is great builder.  Hope he builds the new house. Property has been a disgrace."

Stay with the Hingham Journal and hingham.wickedlocal.com for updates on this story.