Dec 5, 2011

Amid Historic Homes, New England Moves to Preserve a Modern Heritage

LINCOLN, Mass. (NYTimes) In a region that prizes center-chimney Colonials, shingled Capes, saltboxes and other homes that have helped shape New England’s unmistakable sense of place, Polly Flansburgh’s boxy, low-slung house does not leap out as historic. Built in 1963 in the modern style, Ms. Flansburgh’s home seems a better fit for Los Angeles or Palm Springs than for this town, not far from where Henry David Thoreau built his cabin in the woods.
But one of the nation’s oldest preservation groups recently helped Ms. Flansburgh protect the house with an easement — a legal agreement ensuring that it cannot be torn down or significantly altered, even if it gets new owners.
The group, Historic New England, is now seeking to protect certain modern houses along with the more traditional New England homes it has helped preserve for generations. It started doing so in 2008, after some notable modern homes in the region were torn down to make way for the McMansions of the real estate boom. Continued