Demolition Proposal of Historic Worcester Home to be Reviewed Next Month

 by Tom MarinoSeptember 20, 2022

WORCESTER - The proposed demolition of a building at 600 Lincoln St. will be reviewed again by Worcester’s Historical Commission on Oct. 6.

The demolition delay waiver had been scheduled to be reviewed on Sept. 22, but a request to continue the review to next month's meeting was placed on Tuesday.

The property owners have previously requested a demolition delay waiver from the Historical Commission in late June.

According to City of Worcester records, John F. Russell has owned the property since 1988 and it has an assessed value of $565,700. The two-story mixed-use property is 7,300 square feet with 4,500 sq. feet of living space. The land size is roughly an acre and a half.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission lists the building as a historic property on the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, which dates the property back to 1815.

However, there is some question of how old the building is, as City of Worcester property records show it was built in 1770.

According to MHC records, a map of Worcester’s earliest settlers created by Caleb Wall shows 600 Lincoln St. as the site of Israel Jennison’s home and tavern pre-1782. However, MHC records state the home was likely built for a farmer, Captain Lewis Barnard, a prominent town member in the early 19th century.

According to an excerpt from “Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts,” from 1907, it described Barnard as a town leader. “From early manhood, he was assigned places of public trust, and throughout his long life held the confidence of the townspeople.”

In 1818, Barnard was a town committee member who recommended purchasing the farm of widow Rebeckah Jennison to be used a home for the poor. The purchase was completed and in 1825, Barnard was on the committee to build a barn on the poor house land.

Barnard was a town selectman from 1830 to 1831, was a member of the committee that built the Thomas Street school in 1831 and was among the leaders to support enlarging the town hall in 1838.

Barnard died in 1857. At the time of his death, 150 acres surrounded the house on Lincoln Street.

The property was purchased by Oran Kelley, Sr., who gradually assembled a farm of 400 acres. His son, Oran Kelley, Jr., operated the farm as a stock and dairy farm. All production of the farm was sold to the Worcester Insane Asylums.

The stone porch on the side of the home was constructed in 1900, according to MACRIS records.

The Historical Commission meets next on Sept. 22 at 5:30 PM. See the agenda here.

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