Another historic Marion building about to be lost forever

Oct 8, 2019

To the Editor: 

Tabor Academy is reportedly on the verge of tearing down one of Marion’s most important historic homes. 192 Front Street was designed by one of America’s foremost architects and Marion summer resident, H.H. Richardson in 1881 for the Reverend Percy Browne. It was President Grover Cleveland’s first summer home in Marion.

With this house, Richardson first reused the colonial style gambrel roof and “within three years the crumpled gambrel profile was showing up everywhere and became one of the notable features of Shingle Style architecture.” Entertainingly, the house was designed and built on a bet between Rev. Browne and Richardson that the latter couldn’t design and build a house for under $2,500. Reverend Browne lost the bet.

Rather than tearing down this historically- and architecturally-important family residence, Tabor Academy should be restoring it and making it a campus centerpiece, reflecting the best tradition of educational teaching as well as an icon of good design and respect for our town’s history. This is apparently not going to happen.

For pictures of the house back when Tabor purchased it in 2008, including the interior architectural details, see:

William Neville Tifft