New life might be in the works for two historic town-owned buildings.
On Monday morning, August 25, members of the Sandwich Cultural Council met with selectman R. Patrick Ellis for a tour of the vacant Clark-Haddad Memorial Building at 16 Dewey Avenue.
Mr. Ellis said Wednesday, August 27, that the council is interested in making use of the building and also in renting out the building for use by community groups.
According to Mr. Ellis, the Sandwich Board of Selectmen has discussed informally the pursuit of town Community Preservation Act money to fund necessary building work at the Clark-Haddad building and the Deacon Eldred House at 4 Water Street.
Possible uses of the Deacon Eldred House include the display of historical Sandwich artifacts and of material from the town archives, Mr. Ellis said.
The Deacon Eldred House, which abuts Shawme Pond a short distance up Water Street from Sandwich Town Hall, dates to 1756. The Clark-Haddad Memorial Building, which replaced a school built on the site in 1851, dates to 1885.
About 40 years ago, Sandwich Town Meeting voted to acquire the Deacon Eldred House. In 1976, the town leased the property to the Thornton W. Burgess Society.
Last year, the society moved out of the house, citing problems that included a periodically flooded cellar. This past spring the town paid more than $28,000 toward the repair of the building’s roof, a cost that included engineering services.
As for the Clark-Haddad building, the building has sat unused since the departure of the school district’s administrative offices in 2007. Town Meeting voters proceeded to reject a proposal to sell the building.
Since 1885, the building had been used as a school, as the home for American Legion Post 188, which later moved to Main Street, and as a gathering place for community events.
Mr. Ellis said August 27 that the building, whose windows have been boarded up, remains in very good shape. A full bocce ball court still can be found in the building’s basement, he said.
Sandwich Board of Selectmen has yet to take a formal vote on the potential fate of either or both of the structures, Mr. Ellis said, but the board’s members seem willing to make a preservation funding application to the Community Preservation Committee.
Should the committee approve the application and Town Meeting voters approve the request, funds would become available to repair and revive either or both structures.