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The back ell and the barn of the “Luther Wilkins House” at 24 Boston Road were razed a few weeks ago. According to the book, “Old Houses of Westford,” “The Wilkins house was probably built in the early 1800s.” Since 1967, it has been the home of Ralph and Jane Hinckley.
Lots of residents are wondering how such a thing could happen. Here’s how.
After Jane’s death, her son Conrad put the house on the market. According to the listing broker, everyone who looked at the property planned to tear down the house and barn and build a new house on the back of the lot. At that point Bob Waskiewicz who restored the Picking house and barn at Meadow Brook Farm on Gould Road from 1998 to 1999, was asked to consider restoring 24 Boston Road.
Waskiewicz bought the property and went to the Board of Appeals for a variance to convert the house into two condominiums and and the barn into two more. This had been done at the Isaac Day House at 16 Main Street in 2005. The variance was granted.
Waskiewicz then went to the Historic Commission as required by the town’s Demolition Delay Bylaw to ask permission for “partial demolition” of the back sheds. Further evaluation of the kitchen and carriage sheds found that termites and water damage had done more damage than originally thought and that whole back section was demolished.
The back ell and sheds will be rebuilt on their original footprint.
The original intent was to restore the barn, according to Waskiewicz, but after barn restorers evaluated the structure, they found that between termites and removal of structural parts over the years, the barn could not be saved. The barn too was demolished. It will be rebuilt on its original footprint. Parking for the four units will be underneath the barn.
Westford historian Ellen Harde contributed this story to WestfordCAT News.