Two items in the Enterprise caught my attention.
First was Ann Sears’s summary regarding the historic importance of the Elm Arch Inn, which in no way refuted my prior comment that such historicity is at present useless given the building’s present obscure location and decidedly un-historic condition. Nor did Ms. Sears refute my concern for the Richardson family who own the building and will be denied the fair use of their property if it cannot be demolished or moved off-site.
On the building’s present, un-historic site, it unfairly burdens the Richardsons with the cost of preserving whatever minimal historic value the building has at present. The building is hidden behind a commercial parking lot and dumpsters. A passerby in the parking lot might catch a brief glimpse of it, if he turns his head far enough, and that view is marred by a massive un-historic concrete slab where there should be a grassy front lawn. All that historic value recited by Ms. Sears is thus wasted on the present site.
The second item that caught my attention is the story that a developer has withdrawn plans for a parking lot on the vacant lot on Main Street at the corner of Nye Road to be off-site parking for a projected Mariott Hotel on the Faye property across Main Street. That plan is vehemently opposed by the residents of Nye Road, understandably concerned about the impact of such a large commercial development near their homes.
Therefore, I suggest that those who wish to preserve the Elm Arch Inn place a petitioner’s article on the warrant for Fall Town Meeting, to have the town purchase or take the Main Street lot by eminent domain, and to negotiate with the Richardsons to purchase and move the building to that site. That is a location where the historic value of the building would be fully appreciated by Falmouth residents and visitors alike.
Although there was a gas station on that corner lot, the building deserves a truly historic foundation of cut granite blocks, with an excavation no more than four feet deep. The surrounding area could then be landscaped with lawn and other plantings to show the building in a far more appropriate setting than at its present location.
If Ms. Sears and her colleagues in the Falmouth Historical Society1 will circulate a petition to place such an article on the warrant, I will be the first to sign it, and I will vocally support it as a Town Meeting member. I have spoken with several people in the Nye Road neighborhood, and they would enthusiastically support such an article as well.
Richard K. Latimer
1. Correction August 13, 2014, 2:17 PM: Ms. Sears is not a member of the historical society.