Voters must protect Lenox historic district

To the editor:

On Tuesday, the Lenox Historic District Commission is meeting at 5:30 p.m. to determine the fate of the Mahanna House at 50 Church Street. It has a history of being a wagon shop on an 1859 map and the Mahanna house on the 1876 map. As residents of Lenox we have a decision to make. Do we let the owner of the property tear down the building or try to keep the historic building as part of the village?

This meeting is about the bylaw of the Historic District Commission and the tearing down of a historic building, not about the owner of 50 Church Street. The owner runs a business in town and has a great following of loyal customers.

This is very good, but this is not what the meeting is about. The meeting is to determine if we let this one building be torn down and the ramifications it will have on the Historic District.

At a Special Town Meeting on June 27, 1975 the residents of Lenox voted to adopt the "Historic District ByLaw and Map" dated June 12, 1975. A two thirds vote was needed, the count was 162 yes and 20 no. Overwhelmingly, the residents of Lenox made it known they wanted their village preserved.

Unfortunately, on Tuesday we as residents won't have an opportunity to vote. If the Historic District Commission votes to tear down the historic building, do we have any recourse to reverse that decision? Can we bring it to a Special Town Meeting? Do the residents still want a Historic District in the village? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.


The possibility of losing another historic building could mean other buildings in the district will be next. If the owner is allowed to tear down 50 Church Street, will he also be able to take down the historic barn at the same address? Then, what building will be next?

Your presence at the meeting Tuesday could make a difference, plan on attending.

Jan Chague, Lenox