North Wind And Sun

College’s Historic Farm Houses Find New Homes Off-Campus

It’s not often that you witness a house getting hauled across campus, much less two. Yet that’s what happened last week, when two college-owned residences were moved off campus after their sale to Hills House LLC. Potvine Farm House, formerly located at 23 Spring Street, and Tuttle Farm House, formerly located east of the campus on South East Street, were moved to a developer’s lot on Gray Street in Amherst. There, they will be restored and renovated for domestic use by Hills House LLC, a local property developer that specializes in buying, renovating and selling historic homes.

Tuttle Farm House was moved in two pieces on April 17 and the Potvine house was relocated on April 19. Both relocation processes diverted traffic, as the houses, perched on trucks, moved slowly and took over Amherst streets.

According to Director of Facilities Jim Brassord, the decision to move the houses was made by both the College Administration and the Board of Trustees. The Potvine house, prior to its removal, was located adjacent to the Lord Jeffery Inn. The College has plans to expand the inn – plans that would have been stymied by the presence of the Potvine house.

Tuttle Farm House’s situation was a bit different. According to Brassord, “[Tuttle Farm House] had taken to disrepair and was infeasible for the College to use.” Rather than demolish the house, which was located off of the bike path beyond the Bird Sanctuary, the College negotiated with Hills House LLC, agreeing to foot the bill for the moves. Brassord lauded the arrangement. “Why it works well is because we are able to preserve rather than demolish. We are pleased that this worked out in the College’s favor,” he said.

Potvine home was initially located on the Amherst Town Common, and was moved to its Spring Street location in the 1880s. By that point, it was still owned by an Amherst College alumnus, who donated it to the College in 1960.

Tuttle Farm Home has slightly less historic value. Relocated from Ware, Mass. to Amherst in the 1940s, the house was disassembled and moved in two parts in the 1940s just as it was this past week.

Hills House plans to fully modernize both houses with all of the contemporary bells and whistles. According to a listing on the Hills House LLC Web site, the company plans to charge $400,000 for the over 4,000-square-foot Tuttle Farm House.

Potvine house, which will have a new address of 20 Gray Street, is priced similarly before repairs. Hills House LLC estimates repairs to be in the price range of $250,000.

Tuttle Farm House was last used for housing faculty in 1990. Potvine Farm House was last occupied more recently, housing junior faculty as late as 2000.

Amherst students need not worry about the former Tuttle Farm House remaining a vacant lot, as the College has plans for the site. According to Brassord, the College plans to “maintain Tuttle Farm in a park-like manner, for free use by the campus community.”

According to Brassord, the Amherst Historical Commission has praised the College on is efforts to preserve historical sites.

(Originally published 23 April 2008 in The Amherst Student)

One Response

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  1. IntideWet said, on 20-May-2009 at 7:38 pm

    Interesting web site:) i will definitely visit again.


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