NORTH YARMOUTH — If your North Yarmouth home was built before 1900, the town wants to hear from you.
North Yarmouth is compiling a list of historic structures, and residents who own a house, barn or structure built before the 20th century, or those who know of know of a building of that age, are being asked to contact Town Clerk Debbie Grover at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her office at 829-3705.
“When I first started this, I figured, we’ve probably got 30, 50 houses tops,” Grover said last week. But she had already accumulated information about 127 historic homes.
The effort, which she hopes to complete by the end of September, grew largely from the Yarmouth Water District’s illegal demolition in July 2012 of a 19th-century Baston Road house.
A permit was required before demolition of the Beckwith house, and demolition of the pre-1900 structure also required at least 30 days notice to the North Yarmouth Historical Society. But neither occurred before the house was razed.
The district paid nearly $33,000 after the fact, and Selectmen Steve Palmer expressed hope at the time that the Historical Society could work with the town to ensure that historic homes would be registered, identified with visible monuments or plaques, and that there would be notations on permits to determine whether a building predated 1900.
“I said, there’s got to be a better way that we can flag our files and cross-reference with the Historical Society,” she said.
Grover has been working with the society and code enforcement office, and has in part been aided by a map published by the society in 1991 that showed North Yarmouth homes standing in 1871.
“I’ve worked for the town for 26 years, and … up until about five years ago, used to do all the assessing grunt work, so I had a grasp of who owned the house in 1991 and who may own it now,” Grover explained. “So we’re trying to come up with a current listing of all the homes in North Yarmouth, with the new map lot numbers, the locations, the current owner, and flag our assessing files and mark our tax maps.”
Once Grover completes the project, she said, she plans to share it with the historical society, “just so that a repeat of (the Beckwith house) situation doesn’t happen again.”